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How to Get Millennials Into Your C-Store

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Marketers are seeking to win millennials’ $1.3 trillion in spending power, a figure that continues to grow as the generation approaches its peak earning potential. Savvy brands are shifting marketing spend to attract the valuable attention of this profitable consumer group in order to make up for the declining spending power of the baby-boomer generation as its members move to fixed-income lifestyles.

With each opportunity to engage a new generation, convenience-store marketers have readily adopted new methods for attracting customers. The millennial generation is much more tech savvy and digitally connected than previous generations, which has made mobile marketing crucial to any successful marketing strategy. It’s imperative that convenience-store reward programs offer easy access via mobile apps.

Millennials engage via mobile devices and are motivated by free offers. To capture this audience and gain space on their smartphone screens, your store should offer a mobile app that will, at a minimum, include information about your brand, locations, reward balances, a method of identification for the reward program, a messaging center and means of mobile payment.

Millennials also are drawn to personalized, timely and highly relevant content that they can read on their mobile devices. Engaging with this generation means not only adopting new mobile-app trends, but also a multichannel marketing strategy that includes email, push and pull messaging and social media. You should aim to be where your customers are, and millennials are always on their phones.

However, this strategy requires a balancing act. While there are a lot of options for engaging with the millennial generation, sending too many messages can be a big turnoff. Even though they’re more receptive to highly relevant, timely messages, they do not want to hear from your brand on a daily basis.

Keep in mind it’s not just one scale you have to balance. The most active customers may have a different tolerance for your daily messages. For example, if you’re triggering a thank-you message after each visit and the customer is in every day purchasing a coffee and gas, the messages match the cadence of visits, which is typically a good thing. By using smarter engagement tactics to market to millennial customers, you’ll win their loyalty and create brand ambassadors.

Millennials are happy and excited to engage with reward programs that are simple, personal and convenient. Programs should be easy to understand and provide an extension of the brand to the mobile space. We know consumers are less resistant to small shifts in behavior vs. large shifts. So, if we know that millennials treat their mobile phone as an appendage, it’s wise to extend the benefits of your reward program to it.

Studying the behavior of your millennial customers with both macroscopic and microscopic lenses will help your brand attract more of this key demographic. Converting millennials to lifetime members will be a piece of cake if you remember to keep it simple, personal and convenient. And of course, leverage whatever data you can about your customers for new insights that will continue to attract more millennials to your brand.


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