You can’t go very far these days without hearing about Millennials and the younger generation being described as too lazy. I don’t believe that, in fact I think they’re the opposite.
Millennials are the most productive and efficient generation we have ever seen, and if we don’t catch up to them, as business owners and as individuals, we’re going to risk becoming irrelevant.
You have probably read articles about how Generation Y or Z are always on their phones, never getting any work done and generally unmotivated. Wrong. We don’t see enough talk about how the consumer habits of Generation Y have made life easier for the rest of us, much easier.
Young people aren’t lazy, they’re smart. They appreciate their time.
Millennials are specific in their needs and demands and so businesses now need to step up to meet certain criteria they never had to before. Their expectations are greater. They have access to greater and better choices. They live in a global economy in which their local businesses aren’t down the street, but on their phone screen.
According to ABS data released in 2015, 20 per cent of medium-sized Australian businesses don’t have a website. And only 47 per cent of businesses overall have a web presence.
Think about how that Millennial will find you. The first thing they’re going to do is go to Google or Facebook, before they step foot in a store. They’re savvy; they do their research first.
Websites like Yelp, ProductReview, MyShopping and GetPrice are all used in conjunction to make sure they know what they’re getting – and that they’re getting it at the best price.
This is the social aspect of this generation. They are more likely to trust what others in their generation say, and if your brand gives bad experiences? Social media is just a click away, and rightly so.
There is a reason why shops like ASOS have continued to do so well here – they deliver items quickly to Australians, even sometimes faster than local retail stores! Millennials want excellent service, fast delivery and great prices. And they’re prepared to look overseas to hubs like Amazon and Alibaba in order to get what they want.
So what does this mean for businesses now?
SMEs should invest heavily in the technology necessary to keep their operations agile and customer centric. There’s basic stuff every business should have, like mobile apps and responsive websites. But you should go further.
For instance, investing in back-end tech infrastructure to give your customers a customised experience goes a long way. Personalisation technology, which allows your website to dynamically shift messages, products and layout based on customers browsing behaviour, will help tailor your experience to millennial customers.
And here’s the thing – they expect it, and so they should. They want to know that you’re paying attention to how they shop, and reward them for it.
Secondly, businesses need to invest in talent. By hiring millennials, you’ll have the in-house knowledge to be able to adapt and create products their generation wants. Remember, no one knows better than them how to create products and services that line up with their expectations.
The best thing is, you’ll be hiring millennials who inherently understand skills like coding, website design and technology systems that are simply part of their everyday lives.
This type of nimble, intelligent business management is critical for SMEs to engage with consumers in the next century, and turn established industries on their heads.
We’re already seeing this with banks. Years ago, if young people needed a credit card or some extra cash they’d have to walk into a bank, fill out some complex forms, and wait a while in order to receive their card.
Now, there are plenty of online businesses willing to do this at a much faster pace and without any of the hassle. At MoneyMe we know that providing quick personal loans to young people means giving them what they want with flexibility, speed and adaptability. If we can’t do that, millennials will simply move on to the next best thing. And why shouldn’t they?
Millennials are leading the way. They’re smart, tech savvy, and they want the world to be the same.
It’s the millennials’ world – we’re living in it.
Roberto Boschiroli is the Head of Marketing of digital consumer finance firm MoneyMe.