From times immemorial, generations remodel the world in its own reflection, ranging from kitchen to keyboards to knowledge. For instance, in post-world war times, the “Greatest Generation” and the “Baby Boomers”, triggered a revolutionary change in how the Americans planned for their family budget. In recent time, research led by Michigan State University underscored how Millennials, now the world’s largest generational demographic, is transforming the customer experience along with the supply chain.
To reiterate, millennials, born between the 1980s and early 2000s, between the ages of 22 and 37, accounted for about 2 billion, with over 80 per cent living in emerging regions like South-Asia, South America, East Asia, and others. For brands and retailers, this means a huge market segment that they need to understand to stay strong in business. Millennial is a better-profiled generation backed by a few facts like, they grew up in the digital lifestyle which enabled them as intelligent consumers. Additionally, they expect companies are aware of their individual preference. Moreover, they want companies to customize product experiences.
For millennials, service chain is important than the product chain as their consuming habit is towards shrinking the product lifecycle. This means they demand a more regular product/service replacement. In a nutshell, millennials want speed and convenience more than price and availability. Also, they want to be involved in the co-creation of the product/service. They are more leaned towards something unique, which has the potential to disrupt the conventional entire supply chain and create an “experiential supply chain”.
Millennial generation carries different perspectives, they generally view themselves as logical consumers who evaluate price and product rather than only focusing on brand’s names. Regarding the source of how the millennials choose a brand, it is often influenced by peer recommendation which mostly exchanged using social media platforms. Such purchasing practice can be considered as a way of self-expression or portrayal, for instance, some millennials may apply a particular brand’s tagline/visual in personal cover photo on social media.
For the last decade, luxury brands have had to re-examine their approach in line with this growing millennial market, who have less desire for flashy designer logos. Provided this, millennials have been giving classic luxury brands a hard time. Evidently, Gucci’s sales dropped, while Prada’s showed a decrease. Consequently, many brands have removed their brand logos to adapt to the millennial’s fashion preference, adapting to the movement towards logo-less but high-quality fashion items.
To better adapt with the ever-changing millennial segments, brands as well as supply chain companies are being forced to streamline products, supply chain and logistics processes so that products are meeting the consumer demand, can be delivered in the quickest and most convenient way to the consumers. In such fast-paced scenario, companies must study the traits of the millennials so that they can better meet the need of this dominating segment. A few of the important traits that need to be given utter importance are:
Tech Savvy: Millennials are the first generation to witness and grow up with internet. As a result, they possess an inherent appreciation for new technologies such as smartphones, apps, cloud, internet of things, automation, augmented, virtual reality and so on. So, companies need to emphasize on the smart blend of exciting new tools both in product development and supply chain management. In doing so, companies must be prepared to invest in and make available to such employees the latest devices and technologies.
Data analytics: Millennials use data as a mean to ease the decision-making process. They are fond of verifying a product and track the delivery process through data analytics. So, companies with embedded data analytical tools for the consumers are winning the game as consumer found it convenience for them. Thus, data analytical tools are effective to help companies inform their consumer approach to better engage their audiences.
Social responsibility: Millennials are demanding that companies source their input materials in the most ethically responsible way. Additionally, through various movements/platforms, they are putting procurement operations under greater scrutiny to purchase materials and services. They are raising their voices against entities those are engaged in unethical trade, child labor, or environmentally unsound practices. Millennials really want to contribute to the positive impact they believe business has on the society.
The “Networking” generation
According to the Nielsen, 97% of all Millennials have smartphone in their pockets. Another study found that a majority of Millennials spend most of their online time using their phones. Millennials’ integration with mobile phones and advanced networking skills makes them a good fit to develop public relations across continents and cultures. This ultimately help them to be updated about the latest trends be in fashion or others. Also, millennials’ 24/7 connectivity demands companies to speed up efficiencies along the product and supply chain.
It is quite clear that millennials are changing the way we work, and companies must make it a priority to include millennial-friendly initiatives to be competitive in the market. Surely, tech-based solutions are the next thing attracting the millennials and subsequent generations. Thus, companies in the domains of product development and supply chain must not miss the train of technology in their respective operations.