October 12, 2006, 12:00 AM

Get ready for the digital millennials, Shop.org speaker urges

Digital millennial consumers aged 14-24 live and shop by social networks and cell phones. E-retailers need to learn now how to engage them as customers, Kelly Mooney, president of consultants Resource Interactive, said at Shop.org this week.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

At some 80 million strong, they`re already about as large a group as the Baby Boomers but expected to grow to more than 100 million. They live and shop by social networks and cell phones, and they expect interactivity with retailers. They`re the digital millennials, or Gen Y, the members of today`s 14-24 age group, and e-retailers need to learn now how to engage them as customers and brand loyalists, Kelly Mooney, president and chief experience officer of consultants Resource Interactive, told a general session audience at the Shop.org Annual Summit Wednesday.

"Digital millennials see the world differently than previous generations for a long list of societal, cultural and economic reasons," Mooney said in a session entitled, "The Digital Millennials: RU Ready?"

Due to their exposure at an early age to computers, Internet, m-commerce and social networking digital millennials are showing distinct characteristics that must be addressed in effective marketing and merchandising campaigns, Mooney says. Resource Interactive found in studies, for example, that digital millennials process information up to five times faster than older adults, and they rarely make a purchase without peer approval.

Mooney identified five specific demands of Gen Y consumers that retailers should follow in trying to reach them:

 

  • Keep it real
  • Hear me out
  • Be original or don`t be
  • My way
  • Entertain me

     

Retailers must learn to more narrowly target Gen Y consumers while also engaging social networks and taking steps to build loyalty following a purchase. Mooney cited as effective examples the use of peer-endorsed branded media and m-commerce to engage digital millennials.

 

Since digital millennials are already active consumers, itfs crucial for retailers to find ways now to reach them effectively, Mooney says. "This diverse, multi-tasking group is engaging our brands now," she says. "The economic opportunity is enormous if your brand reaches out to this group and allows them to engage their social network within the customer journey."

 

 

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