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Small Businesses and the Millennial Gap? Serving Younger Customers

28 May Small Businesses and the Millennial Gap? Serving Younger Customers

Posted at 11:04h in


by Joy Hmura  •  0 Comments
171499What do McDonald’s, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Southwest have in common? Besides a reputation for causing heartburn, these three companies are all undergoing massive rebranding efforts, with varying rates of success. Why, you ask? According to Business Insider, it is to stay competitive in a market of emerging young consumers.


At KYB, your accounting solution in the cloud, we understand how important it is for small businesses to stay competitive and connected to your customers. 

“Millennials” – politely known as “Generation Y”- appear to be a baffling economic puzzle to many. Their unique spending habits have changed the fiscal playing field and are forcing staple American companies to completely change their tune.

Though evidence on young consumers is conflicting, Forbes and other studies point to three keys elements regarding this group:

  1. They will be inheriting $30 trillion dollars in assets by 2020.
  2. They are less likely to buy cars and homes than their predecessors
  3. They are known as “digital natives” because they grew up comfortably around technology.

So the question is, how can small businesses serve this upcoming base of customers? Before you default and run for your apps, here are some tips and pointers for serving younger customers:

Don’t Stereotype: “Millennials” are one of the most educated and diverse generations in the US to date. However, a survey featured in Information Week shows that they are not all that different from previous generations in terms of career goals and expectations. Your customer service should still remain precise and professional.

Be Values and Experience-Based: A study at NPR revealed that the newer generation would rather spend a dollar on a trolley ride than a t-shirt. With a tap of the phone, they know if that coffee is fair trade or not. It is important to make sure your customer service process is transparent and engaging. In a previous blog, How to Connect with Today's Consumer, we discussed the post crisis consumer in John Gerzema's TED Talk, which delineated how a successful business is not just about offering more but being better

Options, Options, Options: Variety is the spice of life in today’s economy. This should translate into your customer service. For example, instead of just refunding a customer, give them a choice! “Do you want this rebate directly refunded to you, credited to your account, or put towards another product or service that we offer?"

Change It Up! Starbucks’s customizability and seasonal rotation is a big reason for their success. As Millennial Marketing notes, the impending generation is a creative batch that wants to “co-create” any product that they purchase. Make sure your services can be customized! 

Changes are tough but they can also be necessary to a successful small business. Just remember that economic shifts are a lot like hair growth cream: Dousing the product isn’t just enough. You need to make sure it actually works.  

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Topics: Blog