July 29, 2021

With different life experiences, it’s no surprise that each generation has it’s own unique set of shopping habits. So when the majority of spending power comes from two different generations, it’s important to tailor your marketing efforts to each group. Here, we’ll look at the differences in communicating with Gen-Xers and Millennials, especially when using digital media to get customers back to your store. 

How Gen X Shops

three gen x women eating ice cream

Gen X was born between 1965 and 1980 and are currently ages 41 – 56, with many entering the prime earning potential of their careers. They represent consumers who are familiar with with both modern and traditional marketing, so that nuance should be kept in mind when crafting a digital marketing strategy. 

As noted in an eMarketer study, Gen X is extreme in their brand loyalty relative to those in other generations. As a retailer, you can tap into that brand affinity by building trust with this audience through honest messaging and reliable products. In return, they’ll reward you with a willingness to a pay a premium for the products they love. 

This group is also savers. They look for deals on line and actively use coupons and promo codes. Keep this in mind for your digital marketing efforts and use either in your advertising to drive them to purchase. 

Finally, while Gen X is active on social media, more than 80% of them report that email is their preferred means of using brand messages. When trying to target this audience, make sure you have a robust email marketing strategy in place and use email to share product news or promos. 

How Millennials Shop

four Millennials shopping

Millennials are typically defined as being born between 1981 and 1996, with most coming of age during the information age. So while all ages are increasingly swayed by social media, when it comes to purchases, it’s no surprise that it has more of an outsized impact on this generation. According to Synchrony Financial, 68% of Millennials admit to being strongly influenced by social media posts while 84% say user-generated content has at least some effect on what they buy. When targeting this audience, it’s critical to have an engaging social media strategy in place. Influencer marketing is also huge with this demographic and could be beneficial to your brand or store if it’s the right fit for you. 

Seeing shopping as a social event is another trait that strongly characterizes the Millennial market and sets it apart from older generations. Can your store offer an experience beyond just the product or service you sell? Making your store inviting, exciting and Instagram-worthy can go a long way to bring this generation of shoppers in-store. And be sure your online presence matches your carefully curated in-store presence to create a cohesive brand experience. 

What’s Important to Both Generations

close up of a Millennials and gen x holding cell phones

Social causes are increasingly popular with consumers and making your customers know that you care about the same issues that they do can boost their brand affinity and loyalty. Authenticity is key here—make sure there is follow-through on the part of your brand versus just empty messaging.

Regardless of which generation you’re speaking to, honesty and reliability appeal to shoppers of all ages. Truthful product usage messaging and customer reviews resonate with both Gen X and Millennials. For all audiences, straightforward, relatable language should be used across your marketing touchpoints, from social media to digital ads to email newsletters, to create a lasting connection with your customers, no matter their age. 

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