It's a fact: I’m a Millennial. I was born between 1981 and 1996, cell phones and the Internet came of age during my adolescence, and I try pretty hard not to be a narcissist. I shop online. A lot. And, I'm a Product Manager at New Target, so I'm going to tell you how to optimize your online store so that you can win sales from Generation Y.
You know what I care about on an eCommerce site? I’ll tell you:
That’s about it. These are far-and-away the top factors that determine whether I’ll be making a purchase or not.
As an online merchant, you can control all three of those variables. You know how to feature your products or services in the best light and can choose the visuals that will tell your story most distinctively. You also know your market and your competitors, and use your knowledge to articulate the most compelling price structure geared toward maximizing value. What you might be losing an edge on is your checkout process.
When it comes to checking out, I care most about security, speed, and ease of use on my phone. When an online store misses out on those priorities, I abandon my cart. Here’s what keeps me on target and completing that website purchase in the end:
I prefer payment methods that shield my credit card information.
A lot of my Millennial peers have gone all in on eWallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay, which store their card details securely and offer merchants a temporary “token,” or a coded string of data, which allows the transaction to take place while continuing to mask the customer’s actual credit card number.
Checkout integrations like Square, Amazon Pay, and PayPal solve the same problem. eCommerce sites that offer me the option to log-in with my Square, PayPal, or Amazon account credentials are more likely to make a sale with me because I already know and trust those companies to store and protect my financial information. I have worked with those third parties (Amazon, PayPal, Square) and have trusted them for years, based on their real-life track record with me.
I hate the feeling that an overseas hacker might be digitally watching over my shoulder as I type my credit card number into yet another webpage, exposing my details in another transaction and enabling them to sell my identity on the dark web (and subsequently ruin my life or at least my month). If I can avoid recording my credit card details at any opportunity, I will. It’s just smart. I also trust the big dogs who are established in the online transaction business to have the best security protocols and teams in the world and be best equipped to fend off hackers.
Have you ever bought a croissant at a café with a Square register? Have you ever ordered a book, gadget, or household item from Amazon.com? Have you tapped your Samsung phone or iPhone to make a purchase? Sent money to a friend or an eBay vendor on PayPal or Venmo? And then have you ever used any of those payment methods for the second, seventh, or hundredth time?
If yes, then you have firsthand knowledge of how much faster it is to check out when your account and payment details are already saved. You also know the efficiencies gained by navigating a familiar user interface and workflow.
I work a fair amount, have a long commute, and experience the constant rainfall of notifications and distractions that are endemic to 21st century connected living. My time is precious. If something takes too long, I will get pulled away by something more pressing. With more time to ponder, I might rethink my purchase or check the price on another site. Long checkout processes mean that I have more opportunities in which to abandon my shopping cart.
Amazon’s and Square’s checkout processes are short, sweet, and always the same. In my opinion, PayPal’s is too. Millennials rely on that speed and have come to expect similar efficiency across the web.
You may already be familiar with mobile-first, the imperative to design digital products primarily for the mobile experience and secondarily for desktop. As a Product Manager at New Target, I work on a team that builds web solutions with mobile responsiveness at top of mind. All of our websites and web applications have to look good and work perfectly on a smaller, narrower phone screen in addition to the medium format of a tablet and the wide format available on a desktop monitor or laptop screen.
You may also be familiar with the stereotype that all Millennials are totally glued to our phones (not to mention Gen Z). It’s mostly accurate. As a mostly responsible adult, I’m not on my phone while working at my office desk, but yes, it comes out and I will use it to shop in the morning, at lunchtime, on a public transportation commute, evenings and weekends, out around town, you name it.
Pull up your current checkout process on your smartphone. Do all the elements on each page read clearly and scroll smoothly? Does the workflow feel essentially identical to your desktop experience? If not, you may want to either redevelop and redesign your page or consider one of the mobile-responsive checkout options (aka every payment brand I have mentioned above).
I hate having to zoom in and out on a checkout page that is overcluttered with tiny fields or too-large page elements. Make sure your checkout pages are mobile responsive (or even designed for mobile-first), and I’ll make a purchase in minutes, from a subway car, a bar, or standing over the coffee pot in my kitchen.
The Millennial generation is thought to be more tolerant, team-oriented, and achieving than age cohorts of the past. Today, I ascribe priorities like security, speed, mobile access, price, and visuals to my peer group as well. Generalizations like these are flawed and cannot be taken as absolutes but can also be meaningful when making decisions as a business owner. I speak for myself when I say that the checkout process is important to me when I shop online, and I hypothesize that many other Millennials operate the same.
When building and running your eCommerce site, think about whether you are offering the checkout options that will maximize your chances of making that Millennial your next, best customer.
Need help building your online store and/or integrating with an eCommerce solution like Magento? Visit us at www.newtarget.com.
Headquartered near Washington, D.C., with offices in Los Angeles, CA, New Target provides digital strategy, web design, web development, data integration, application hosting, and online marketing for prominent national associations, corporations, and government.
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