Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 2


By now, you should be getting some ideas as to how to market to the millennial crowd. But there are still other characteristics you may want to consider before finalizing your marketing strategies.
Millennials are civic-minded (good citizenship) with a strong sense of community – locally and globally. Remember, they’ve been instilled that they are here for a purpose. They prefer to work for companies that sponsor events outside of work, especially so, when these are charity events or when the company supports volunteer opportunities.  They also care about supporting local businesses and promoting local employment. In fact, more than 50% of millennials make an extra effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about (research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency). They’re also twice as likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to care how their food is produced and whether or not is organic (Boston Consulting Group).

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Salon: You’re small and you’re local – you’re already half way there! Connect and submit a proposal to a few local companies that provide wellness programs for their employees. Present monthly lunch-and-learns at the company site, then provide discount coupons to the person in charge of benefits in the HR department so that they can be handed out to the employees. You can also connect with a local charity and co-host a fundraising event. Don’t know which charity to give to? Survey your clients before they’re out your door. Provide them with 3 or 4 options and extra space to add their own. Majority wins. 

Millennials are not individualistic but rather group-oriented, as long as these groups are formed by members of their own generation. They are willing to sacrifice their own identity – to not stand out among their peers – in order to be seen as part of the group.  This stems from the fact that parents of millennials have taught their children that every voice matters and equality is worth fighting for. Millennials have a strong sense of justice. They can be compared to the “Flower Child” of the Baby Boomer era.

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Salon: Provide opportunities to experience your services and products in groups!  Offer BOGO’s and…don’t cringe… extend the Loyalty Program to their best friend (only one friend) so that they can share it. 
Millennials like collaboration because they are community-oriented. They want everyone to get along. So, the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, is high in their list of interests. Alex Castellarnau from Dropbox, the popular file transfer cloud service, said: With millennials, “a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”
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Salon: While the observation above mainly refers to the technology sector, there are many ways in which a salon can collaborate with their millennial clients. Surveys are a great way to learn what people think, feel, need and want. Use MailChimp or Constant Contact to reach out to your clients. Choose your more loyal millennial clients and ask them how they would solve a specific problem you’re having and make it fun, like a contest. Provide a raffle opportunity for every participant and 1-month free membership, for example, to the winner of the contest. Talk about engagement!

Millennials are high-achievers. They’ve probably been put in career tracks since grade school. While Baby Boomers made their mark in the humanities and arts, millennials are leaving theirs in science and math. However, they care about balance between work and life. They are healthy-minded and actively seek out potential employers that offer fitness and wellness programs for their employees.

Because they are high achievers, they don’t like to waste time. When it comes to in-store experience, millennials will instantly grab their cell phones to do their own research about a service or product.  However, if the in-store experience can provide the knowledge they seek faster and better than it would take for them to browse their cell phones, that would prove to be a real value to the millennial.

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Salon: Having well-trained and knowledgeable employees is very important if your target market is Gen Yers. 

Millennials are adventurers. This is also the generation that has traveled the most. They consider business travel is an opportunity to explore a different place. As the adventurers they are, they crave new discoveries even within the daily and mundane. Shopping is no longer for “needed” items. They want the whole experience: the lighting, the colors, the textures, the music, the scents, customer service, testers, demos, and if possible, the history of the product or service and how the product or service is helping sustain our planet! They want to feel pleasure inside the store. They want to talk about it and share their experience with their peers (remember, they’re group-oriented). This is, in part, the reason why cuisine in America has become so eclectic, from expensive fusions to cheap messy food trucks. Millennials are always searching for the new, exotic, memorable, and even perhaps, dangerous experience.

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Salon: Because millennials are so keen to traveling and to new experiences, providing regular new experiences will keep the millennials’ interest. These experiences can range from product launches to workshops to surprise monthly “late night” hours. Get creative – the options are limitless.

As I’ve said before, millennials are a highly social, group-oriented generation, and they socialize over every single experience, offline and online. They are the experts on social media. They live, eat, breathe social media. It would only make sense that businesses that want to target millennials have all their knots and bolts in place to provide exciting, engaging and up-to-the-last-minute social media campaigns. Have you heard the saying “You snooze; you lose?” If you just can’t keep up with DIY campaigns or can’t afford a social media marketing company, there are other very affordable ways you can accomplish this. A highly recommended, trustworthy VA (Virtual Assistant) could become your savior!  If you’re not active on social media, you become irrelevant to millennials, who are quickly moving to the next and best thing in seconds.

 

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Salon: It is important to bring social media into the store. First, you can let millennials know where you are online by posting decals from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, YouTube or whatever social media networks you use. Ask them to “check-in” and provide incentives when they do. Foursquare offers ways to earn badges and win freebies or discounts (incentives) for check-ins that you can control.

Millennials were born in the digital era; so when it comes to technology, they expect it to work flawlessly, period.  From home computers to internet to cell phone texting to online gaming where millennials interact with others, to sharing music – the world is at their fingertips and they expect the information to be available exactly at the moment when they need it. Millennials, for the most part, don’t watch TV, don’t go to church, rarely smoke and hardly sleep. A Pew study concluded that 80% of millennials sleep with or near their cell phones. Not only is the cellphone a way to communicate (call or text), but it’s also a way to learn the latest gossip and news, to hook up, to make new friends, to remind them of tasks or appointments, to recommend travel experiences and to research information about products, read their reviews and compare prices while shopping. They also post reviews and share their experience with a particular business or product IRT (in real time), so they feel they are part of the collective decision-making. Millennials even donate to charities through their cellphones!

Because millennials are all about convenience, making it easy for them to pay for your products and services is key to successfully close a deal with a millennial. This may require an upgrade to POS terminals and add the necessary software to make all transactions as easy as possible. When it comes to Loyalty Programs, there was consensus, at a recent Microsoft Envision Conference, that it must be digital in order for the program to succeed.

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Salon: It would only make sense to make your website and create fun apps that are mobile compatible. Include Loyalty Programs and Discount Coupons that are easily scanable with your POS terminal. For example, you could have the technology in place to safely store clients’ data, including credit card information.  Consider using NFC (near-field communication) contact-less payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Venmo. Even Facebook is beta-testing their contact-less payment app. It would also be advisable to have quality WiFi in your store – a huge convenience for millennials in exchange for your lack of flexibility…

In summary, the fact that you are a small, local business gives you an edge. But don’t stop there. Sell unique products and services and help support a cause by engaging in fundraising events or providing online or app charity donation ability. Make it easy for millennials to see, feel, taste, buy, use, research and review your product or service. Give your salon employees the option to download your payment app (Square, PayPal, Venmo) so that they can more easily check out your clients. Provide an outside-the-salon experience by having an engaging website, online appointment with easy self- rebooking and cancellation, preferably with texting capability. Create your very own business app. Consider upgrading your POS terminal and necessary software such as CRM (Client Retention Management) and accounting system, as well as offering easy access WiFi and cellphone charging station. Have all your social media accounts updated and managed by a professional. Virtual Assistants are an affordable way to go, especially when you need to be on alert to manage your online reputation. Offer Loyalty or Perks programs, memberships and the ability to purchase gift cards and eGifts (www.Yiftee.com) through their cellphones. Provide surveys and opportunities to provide testimonials to make millennials feel part of your business. Offer virtual consultations through Skype or FaceTime and offer express services or technology-based services including the use of ProScope (microscope for phone on-the-go skin analysis) and a SkinScope Scanner for skin analysis. You’ll have them at…hello!

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