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UX Design that Connects with the Millennial Mindset

Posted on 6.29.2016

:: By Amit Bhaiya, DotcomWeavers ::


From the teenagers contemplating future careers to those in their mid 30s settling into family life, millennials are entering their prime spending years. 

As America’s largest generation – 83.1 million strong (U.S. Census Bureau) – millennials represent 26 percent of the U.S. population but contribute to 35 percent of retail spending (PFSweb). By 2020, the annual spending among millennials in the United States is projected to grow to $1.4 trillion (Accenture). 

Millennials shop online more than any other generation – spending 1,200 hours and nearly $2,000 annually (Forrester’s North American Consumer Technographics Online Benchmark Survey). Multiply that by 83 million American millennials and it translates to good news for e-commerce, but only for the retailers who provide an exceptional user experience (UX). 

Millennials have a high affinity for technology, which lends to a low tolerance for anything that doesn’t work as expected. According to Statista, 54 percent of the millennials surveyed considered ease of use the primary reason why they preferred a shopping app over a website. 

Is it any wonder that nearly 68 percent of online retailers rank improving customer experience and engagement among their top priorities for 2016? (Survey by Boston Retail Partners)

To bring in millennial dollars and, just as importantly, their brand loyalty and social following, online retailers must provide a seamless UX that really grasps their unique mindset.

Capture Millennial Attention

Contrary to a reputation for impulse buying, tech-savvy millennials know exactly how to navigate the highly competitive online marketplace to find the best quality, lowest prices and quickest availability. Once they find what they want, they are ready to purchase. 

A website’s visual appeal and ease of use is a foremost for millennials, especially as they browse on their preferred platform: the smartphones that never leave their sides. The most recent data shows that almost 90 percent of millennials primarily access the Internet from their smartphones, which makes designing with a mobile-first approach a no-brainer. Graphics and pictures must be visually engaging. Items must be large enough for users to tap, swipe, hover and select on small mobile screens. 

The next step involves creating a consistent look and feel – in everything from design to content – across all platforms and channels. Millennials want to know what they can expect to see and experience if and when they shift from their phones to a tablet or desktop. It allows them to pick up wherever they left off and continue on their purchase journey.

Content is also critical in creating a “slippy” format, which quickly informs an at-a-glance decision. The material has to be clear and concise so that it’s easily understood, but it also needs to be complete in order to satisfy millennial shoppers. If any aspect is missing, they’ll move on to your competitor’s site. 

Connect the Millennial Way

Millennials love new things, especially new technology. They literally line up in anticipation of new trends, such as wearable devices, and are even thrilled to participate in beta testing. Then they share their experiences in real-time using everything from social media to product ratings and reviews. Connecting the millennial way requires engaging them on every platform and through various channels.

Social media is the primary means by which millennials hear about products, sales and shopping news. They expect product information, reviews and price comparisons at their fingertips. So you want to ensure that your company, products and services have a positive presence on social media. Happy customer reviews speak loudly to this generation, so don’t be shy about spreading the word. However, millennials will quickly dismiss a review that doesn't appear to be “authentic,” “natural” or “organic.” Once that credibility is lost, regaining it is not so easy.

Personalized communication also resonates with millennial users. They’re looking for a customized experience that makes them feel special to your company. If they’ve purchased a product, a follow up thank you e-mail with their name actually means something to them. Don’t neglect the little details.

Capitalize on Millennial Dollars

Nothing botches up an enjoyable shopping experience like a dysfunctional checkout process. Say, “Goodbye, customer,” and watch the abandoned carts stack up.

Your website’s overall ease of use must seamlessly transition from purchasing and order fulfillment right through customer service. No ifs, ands or buts about it, millennials have no tolerance for things that don’t work as expected on the first try. That being said, if it’s logical, straightforward and easy, then guess what? They’ll be back again, and maybe bring some friends along, too. 

An easy checkout process – which includes upfront shipping estimates and multiple payment gateways, etc. – does more than improves conversions. It is also a subtle and effective way of creating repeat business, and returning customers breed brand loyalty. You get the picture, don’t you? 

Investing in a UX that captures the millennial mindset looks beyond the first purchase. It extends to creating a long-standing relationship with a smart and savvy customer who can give your business a valuable endorsement. 


Amit Bhaiya is the co-founder and CEO of DotcomWeavers, an award-winning e-commerce Web development company specializing in custom e-commerce websites, website applications and SEO.

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