Millennials—now the U.S.’s largest living demographic, according to the Pew Research Center—are all grown up and the most influential demographic in the convenience store marketplace. They have the wallet power to prove it: This population is projected to spend $200 billion in 2017 alone.
As the first generation armed with digital devices, often before they could drive, they’re always connected. As a result, they’re accustomed to a self-serve, on-demand retail experience, but at the same time, they expect an authentic, personalized experience as customers.
Here are just five ways convenience stores can win over millennials.
Manage Your Brand
Micromanage your online branding and reputation. Acknowledge that a customer’s feedback was received and valuable, and if the feedback is negative, offer them an incentive to give you another try. At the same time, capitalize on positive feedback by incorporating your strengths into your online and brick-and-mortar messaging and strategies.
Millennials want to feel connected to your brand and be rewarded for it in interesting ways. According to a Bond Brand Loyalty report, 68% of millennials are willing to change where they shop for more reward points, and nearly 70% of them belong to a retail loyalty program. Try different incentives in your loyalty program to see what drives millennial customers to shop with you more frequently.
Market-savvy c-stores and fuel retailers are increasingly offering made-to-order food with fresh, higher-quality ingredients. This enables them to stand out from the competition and appeal particularly to millennials. There are even websites and blogs devoted to unearthing the phenomenon known as “gas-station gourmet.”
According to thefinancialbrand.com, 87% of millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, day or night. This group makes their buying decisions through crowdsourcing—even for their c-store purchases. A third of GasBuddy app downloaders are millennials. If you don’t have one already, develop a plan for your online presence. Do your stores have accurate information on GasBuddy? Dedicate someone to monitoring ratings and reviews, and aim to be No. 1 in at least one category.
Self-Service and Communication
Millennials expect a user-friendly experience and want control over that experience. Several large chains have done a great job of tapping into this preference with touchscreen meal ordering systems, allowing shoppers to customize nearly every facet of their orders so they get exactly what they want. Also, learn how gamification—using game elements in non-game contexts to change consumer behavior—can sweeten the deal for your customers. Make interactions with your stores fun and engaging.
This post is sponsored by GasBuddy