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How Business Owners Can Prepare for the Next Generation

Three generations of women in the home

Three generations of women in the home

They may not have a set name yet, but the next generation of consumers does have money. Possibly called the iGeneration, Digitals or Hashtagers, according to Forbes, the generation of shoppers born after 1996 is just moving into their 20s. What society can expect from them is still unknown, but there are some predictions that business owners can use to be ready for the iGen’s appearance in the shopping world.

Lessons From Millennials

Over the generations, the world has become smaller and changed the behavior of people in the workplace, their beliefs about business interactions and the way they dispose of excess income. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have strong divisions in economic ethics between genders and cultures. Millennials, who were born in the digital age between 1978 and 1995, show little of these culture-bound decision making behaviors, so businesses can expect the iGens to have even less. Their world is a digital one and their culture is no longer limited to their street, city or country of origin.

The business of the near future needs to have a strong omnichannel digital presence to capture the next generation’s interest. Businesses will need to communicate with the consumer, their friends and their social network online. There also will be a conversation as opposed to a unidirectional advertisement. They will need to use cloud-based, socially integrated, 24/7 systems for customer support because they expect their needs to be met almost immediately. For example, Aspect has moved contact centers to the cloud to help businesses cut costs while also personalizing their service to meet customers’ specific needs.

Paranoia and Community

The next generation of buyers is on the edge between fear and friendship, running away and giving a hug. They were born into a world with lockdown drills and stranger danger, but they are also encouraged to be kind, less judgmental and giving.

Businesses must also straddle this line by providing safe environments for consumers to make purchases while also being inclusive. Blogging, content marketing and social media help small businesses put the community before the marketing, making it more valuable to the consumer than a simple advertisement. To attract the next generation, businesses should focus on being a credible and trusted resource for their customer over pushing advertising and sales.

Selling Hope

Marketing is about giving the buyer faith in something they have never experienced. The next generation of consumers may be jaded, but they are still looking for hope in the purchasing experience. It is the job of businesses to make sure customers find that opportunity. For example, makeup manufacturer Revlon recently shifted its marketing approach from selling the idea of beauty to empowerment. According to Revlon’s Chief Marketing Officer Julia Goldin, Revlon is giving women the tools to express themselves with confidence.

Seeing as millennials are more hopeful than their post-war predecessors, the iGens will be hopeful, empowered and sustainable. Businesses can create quick and uplifting messages on social media to drive traffic back to their websites and products, and they should focus on positive marketing campaigns to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Posted on December 23rd, 2015 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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