Sales people all across the U.S. are trying to figure out how to win the business of the millennial consumer, the generation expected to account for $1.4 trillion in spending in 2020. The Millennial buyer can be intimidating to kitchen design pros who are accustomed to selling in a certain way, but the challenge to gain their trust and their business is not impossible.
Just for clarification, Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center, which means that the oldest millennials are 39 years old and the youngest are 24. Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
As the first generation to grow up surrounded by the “instant gratification” technology of digital media, Millennials have no memory of a world without cell phones, text messaging, email and web browsing.
How to Reach Them
We’ve scoured the internet, read multiple articles and studied research from the experts. We’ve taken the best “nuggets” from what they’ve written and present them here for your consideration when putting together a marketing plan to reach Millennials.
#1. Know Your Customer
In order to effectively market to this generation, you need to understand what motivates them to make a purchase. Read up on their buying trends and preferences and what’s important to them so you can develop a targeted sales approach.
Millennials care about purchasing products and supporting brands that align with their values. They’re very conscious when it comes to making purchases that will benefit them and the greater good. Authenticity is #1 most important with Millennials; the majority of them are willing to spend more on brands that support causes they care about.
Being authentic has to do with the persona you and your company portray both online and offline – do they match up? They must if you’re trying to reach the Millennial consumer.
#2. Don't Try to Hard Sell Them
This generation has been assaulted with “Buy Now!” advertising, and they’re “over it” (as they say) and pay no attention. You need to convince them they need your product, and how it will benefit them.
#3. Make it Personal
Millennials crave personalization and collaboration. They want to work with someone who will take the time to get to know them. They expect a designer to create a kitchen based on their style preferences, interests and lifestyles.
They want their opinions heard, so include them during every step of the sales process and beyond. Listen to and respect their opinions.
#4. Communicate Like They Do
Millennials preferred communication tools are text messages, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook messages and Instagram. In general, they prefer videos and photos to words.
When searching for product information, they want speed, ease and efficiency. They expect instant gratification. When they text, they get annoyed at any delay in response because they know the cell phone rarely leaves the recipients hands.
Your goal is to convince them why they need your product in the least amount of time.
#5. Be Brief, Be Informative
This generation is used to checking online before buying anything. Their first impression of a company or product comes from website design and functionality. You simply must have a modern, convenient, smooth-working mobile-friendly website.
#6. Have an Active Instagram Presence
Millennials are visual, and Instagram is the ultimate visual platform. Get your best pics on Ista and post regularly, like every day.
#7. Don't Try to Con Them
Millennials search the Internet to learn about what you are trying to sell them. They can spot a fake and won’t hesitate to move on if they sense something isn’t genuine.
Be consistent and transparent with whatever you tell them about your services.
#8. Be the Expert
To impress millennials, you have to be the expert: the person who both knows your business and can tell them how it relates to their lives.
They want to know that you hear them, you acknowledge their problems, and can provide solutions for them.
#9. Don't Stereotype Them
Many stereotypes exist about millennials, such as they have no brand loyalty, they’re always glued to their phones, they feel entitled, they have a short attention span, etc.
The fact is that they are a diverse group. It’s dangerous to look at Millennials as a homogeneous mass. While they belong to one generation, Millennials fall on a wide spectrum of tastes and behaviors.
#10. Don't try to be Hip | “OK Boomer”
Nothing seems to get mocked faster by Millennials than businesses that try to “be hip” when they use trends, slang and the fads of younger consumers. And then come across looking more “out of it” than anything. And it’s apparent they are trying too hard.
#11. Quality Products + Good Design + Good Food = Ideal Kitchen Design
Millennials value quality. They appreciate good design and good food. And when it comes to their ideal kitchen, they are open to international influences. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, they have been connected to global information and entertainment their entire lives.
#12. HGTV Influence
Millennials site TV as the source where they get ideas for what they want in a kitchen. They grew up with moms who watched HGTV shows that featured designers as the experts. This influence may help to explain why Millennials’ accept designers and design services more so than older generations.
What Millennials Want in a Kitchen
Millennials consider their homes to be a reflection of themselves. And further, they want to express themselves in their kitchens. “I want my kitchen to say a lot about me,” is what designers hear when working with Millennials on kitchen design.
- Open floor plan kitchens that make the most of their space
- Energy Star-rated, high-end appliances
- Multi-purpose Islands
- Sleek, simple design – no clutter
- Entertainment areas. Many are “foodies” who are into entertaining and want space for guests to mix and mingle
- Lots of cabinet storage to keep things out of sight.
- Multiple work stations for collaborative cooking and socializing
- Charging stations for their phones, laptops and tablets
- Organic materials, like reclaimed wood, brick and earth tones
- Eco-friendly materials, like paint, floor coverings and cabinet finishes without volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Their Kitchens Must Have Smart Technology
Technology is an integral part of everyday life for this generation. They research everything, including cooking techniques and recipes, and learn by watching YouTube videos. We’ve written articles about tech in the kitchen, plus many in-depth articles are out there. We like this one. Just know that you will be asked to wire in tech for your Millennial customers.
Millennials are the future. It’s worth taking the time to understand their motivations and preferences and build a business plan around their needs. Think of it this way: many Millennials also have aging parents parents and will begin making more decisions for them in the coming years.