Back To School For Millennial Moms

It’s hard to believe, but step into any department store or large retail chain, and you can already see back-to-school displays. Sorry kids, summer is over, and it’s time your parents started getting you ready for the next year of studies.

But for many marketers, regardless of their efforts, someone really important because she holds the purse strings seems to be missing from the retail experience: millennial moms.

This demographic taps into the estimated nationwide $25 billion back-to-school marketplace. Whether it’s backpacks, notebooks, apparel, computers or smartphones, the back-to-school season has become almost as important to retailers as the traditional holiday sales period.

Yet, with retail reports indicating that visits to traditional retailers by millennials, especially the moms of young children, have fallen 61% since January of 2009, per Business Insider. What exactly can they do to get this coveted audience back in the aisle buying their customer’s products?



Full disclosure, a media study Meredith conducted through our Real Women Talking partnership with Communispace revealed some fascinating and important insights into how to regain their loyalty:

  • Great customer service: Whether it’s online or mass market stores, those that focus on great customer service win the day. Anyone with even one bad personal experience to date, will ultimately cost you a customer in the short run. And more so, if that particular customer shares the experience with her social network of friends, you risk losing a group of valuable customers.
  • Fun and affordable: Millennials, like many groups, want to be stylish, but they are also price savvy, and expect retailers to offer products that are both affordable and fun. This is a generation that doesn’t want to enter a stuffy environment that takes itself too seriously or ignores them as a customer.
  • Give back to the community: Millennials care about the community they live in and the world around them. Retailers and marketers that support programs in their community and have a commitment to positive change in the world will find themselves way ahead when it comes to the M generation’s affinity for their brands.
  • Don’t force them to break up with you: Whether it’s messy stores overstocked with items without any rhyme or reason or sales teams that can’t answer questions or seem on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the environment you create both with your employees and your stores matters to millennials. If finding your customer service area requires Google Maps, you are not going to get them into your store in the first place.
  • Give them real rewards: This generation grew up with phrase “cash back.” If your loyalty program requires them to spend a college tuition’s worth of dollars to get a few bucks back on their purchases, the M generation isn’t buying it. If your loyalty points add up quickly, and even come just as an unexpected free bonus, now you’re talking their language.

Nothing here is truly revolutionary. It does require retailers and the marketers that supply them to take “evolutionary” steps to transform themselves in ways that speak the millennial language in both overt and subtle ways. The lessons are simple ones, just in time for the start of the new school year.

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