7 Ecommerce Tips to Build Trust and Engagement With Millennials

Generation me. Generation selfish. Generation lazy. Millennials get a pretty bad rap. But the well-documented truth is that millennials don’t deserve these negative labels.

Research suggests that millennials are often more hard-working, disciplined, and ethically-minded than previous generations.

If you have an online business, it’s important not to fall into the trap of unhelpful stereotyping. Your profile for millennial customers needs to be nuanced and evidence-based if it’s going to be effective.

Millennial spending will account for 30% of all online retail sales by 2020. It’s essential to meet this group’s needs and expectations if you want your business to thrive.

In this post, we’re going to look at seven ways to connect with Generation Y. Let’s dive in.

Personalized Experiences Are Key

Only a few years ago, personalized experiences were the exception rather than the rule.

Nowadays, however, online shoppers expect personalization. If you don’t offer tailored experiences, you’re giving your visitors a reason to opt for competitors.

Millennials are short on time and open to new experiences. And providing tailored product suggestions, content and offers is an effective way to reach them.

Millennials value brands that treat them as individuals with unique sets of needs and preferences, rather than as marketing opportunities.

It’s also essential to allow millennials to shape their personalized experiences by asking for input. It’s impossible to account for every facet of somebody’s personality algorithmically. Let your customers pick marketing preferences to overcome this problem.

Focus on Ethical and Environmental Selling-Points

Millennials are more ethically-minded than other generations. They care about worker’s conditions, environmentalism, and social responsibility.

Boost engagement and brand loyalty by aligning your store with the core values that millennials hold.

It’s increasingly common, for example, for brands to be vocal about the fact that their products are cruelty-free, ethically-made, and have a low environmental footprint. Together, all of these factors form a value proposition that strikes a chord with millennial audiences.

Your Site MUST Be Mobile-Friendly

This one almost goes without saying. Mobile shopping, or m-commerce, is on the rise. But it’s an especially notable phenomenon for millennials. Mobile penetration is highest among millennials.

At a basic level, your e-commerce site should be mobile-optimized, with well-designed product pages and simple checkout forms.

But, when it comes to millennials, just covering the basics isn’t enough. It’s important to carry out dedicated mobile user-testing and optimization to ensure an optimal mobile experience.

Are images swipeable, for example? Are CTAs the width of the screen and tappable with either thumb? Can customers pay using mobile wallets?

Connect With Social Media Influencers (Especially on Instagram)

If you’re not already leveraging Instagram, then you should be. No ifs. No buts.

59% of millennials are active on Instagram, where they’re the biggest cohort of users. When it comes to targeting this group, there’s no better place to reach them. But how can you go about maximizing your reach? In a word: influencers.

Influencer marketing works. And it represents one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new millennial customers that are eager to buy. A range of in-app shopping features, some of which allow users to buy without leaving the app, also make Instagram the perfect platform for retailers.

Encourage Referrals via Email

Millennials are uber-connected. As such, they’re the perfect group to ask for referrals, especially on social media.

But what’s the best way to encourage millennials to get vocal about your brand?Transactional emails are the ideal opportunity.

Transactional emails are automated emails. They’re sent whenever a user undertakes a specific action. Examples include welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, and order confirmation emails.

To boost your chances of success, offer recipients a bonus for referring. Discount vouchers and prize draws are low-cost referral incentives.

Referral marketing is one of the best channels for acquiring new customers. And millennials make for the perfect evangelists for your brand.

Tell Stories That Incorporate Values

Millennials are more value-driven than other groups. They care about a range of issues, from sustainability to ethical product sourcing. As a result, they will often opt for a store with a strong value-based foundation when given a choice.

One of the best ways to communicate your values is through stories. These stories don’t have to be long or absorbing. Often, only a few sentences are needed.

Here are some of the best channels for storytelling:

  • Welcome emails. Whenever a visitor makes their first purchase or subscribes to your mailing list, send them a welcome email telling them about your brand and what you stand for.
  • Product pages. If products have an interesting backstory, such as if they’re made in a special way or if the materials used come from a unique area, tell the visitors to your product pages all about it.
  • Social media. Showcase customer stories and product reviews on your social media accounts.

Prioritize User Experience Testing

Millennials spend a lot of time online and are digitally savvy. They also get easily frustrated by poor customer experiences, more so than other groups.

Include feedback mechanisms, in the form of questionnaires, at key stages of the customer journey.

The best way to get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of your current site design is to ask the millennials for direct feedback.

Fancy optimization methods and A/B testing have their place. But nothing beats talking to your users and asking them what they think.


If you’re an online retailer, be sure not to ignore or underestimate millennials. They represent an extremely active group of shoppers, and they’re spending more and more money online as they get older.

By basing your optimization and testing strategy on a solid understanding of millennials, you’re prepping yourself for future success.

What’s more, millennials are incredibly loyal, much more so than other customer groups. If you’re able to meet their needs, you’ll be rewarded for many years to come.