Millennials get a lot of flack for being entitled or lazy, but the truth is, Generation Y has actually changed the world of business. Think, a few years ago, or maybe even today, you might of saw a void in your businesses that needed to be filled – your internet presence was severely lacking. And while you might have an understanding of the internet for research and hiring purposes, you probably, like most lack the actual expertise it takes to make engaging content for a younger audience — let alone know how to make anything go viral.
Although for making it imperative for businesses to be online and roaming around the digital world and have an active social media presence, millennials have dramatically changed the way we do business.
Here are six ways that the millennials have completely changed business practices for generations to come:
Thanks to a booming tech industry and multiple different app options, it is easier than ever to get things delivered right to your door with the click of a button. Millennials no longer want to wait in crowded lines to get food, clothes or toiletries, and why should they?
Whether you want to bring you food from a restaurant that normally doesn’t deliver, or you want a subscription service such as Amazon Now to bring you soap because you ran out and didn’t have time to run to the store, apps have got you covered. This also means that businesses need to team up with these apps to keep up with the demand.
Why expect millennial employees to sit 45 minutes in traffic to get to the office when they could be executing many of their tasks they’ve been hired to do remotely or even from a phone?
Millennials adopted the “work smarter, not harder” mentality, though many have been critical of it. But in all honesty, millennials have actually captured the entrepreneurial spirit. If anything, the self-starter mentality is strong within this generation. They seem to get work done without micro-management. Because of this, co-working spaces have become a great asset to new businesses who can’t yet afford a free-standing office space.
Businesses have had to learn to be more flexible with schedules as millennials are steering away from traditional 9 to 5 jobs.
With social media culture, consumers demand a quick response from the businesses they interact with. This means having a social media and customer service team available pretty close to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a customer publicly tweets a complaint to a business and it goes unaddressed, the whole world can see it and add their own commentary. Because of this, businesses have had no choice but to become more transparent and accessible.
Yes millennials started this trend, and I bet even you care about shopping local now. Millennials seem to be more economically and environmentally conscious than generations before them. A 2015 Nielsen global online study showed that almost three out of four members of generation Y were willing to pay more for a product or item that was produced by a brand that was dedicated to sustainability. They tend to gravitate towards living in cities with roommates to help share bills and have even accepted micro-living apartments as a viable option to the housing crisis, meaning they are actually taking up less space. They have been opting to pay a little more for goods and services from local restaurants and vendors, which supports their local economy rather than shopping at mega stores where they could get things a little bit cheaper.
This has been seen many times in the “farm-to-table” trend that has dominated the restaurant industry in recent years, as well as in the interior design industry. In fact, refurbished materials have become a huge selling point for millennial shoppers.
Thanks to apps like Poshmark, websites like eBay, hosting sites like Squarespace, and even Instagram, selling items online and taking orders for services has become easier than ever.
For example, a startup candle company could start a lucrative business for the cost of the materials needed and website hosting costs. Even processing payments can be done at the click of a button with services like Paypal and Venmo. Many prolific Instagramming millennials have even created their own followings based on their personal niches or styles. Whether that be outfit ideas, photography, recipe ideas or restaurant recommendations, they have leveraged their numbers for sponsored (i.e. paid) posts, essentially turning themselves into a brand.
The aforementioned style of marketing has been dubbed “influencer marketing,” and it has become a very cost-effective way to reach millions of people in a more personal and organic way than the traditional style of marketing. Why spend $20,000 or more on a commercial when you could spend half that by paying multiple influencers $250-$1000 to promote your product? It works because their followers trust them; they have spent years cultivating an audience that is built on their personal style and taste. Therefore purchasing an item promoted by your favorite influencer [to them] feels almost like getting a product recommendation from a friend. Marketing in this way also gives businesses much more control over their target market because they are promoting their brand to people who are already interested in similar businesses.
Whether you like it or not, millennials have changed the way we do business, for the better too.