Why Gen Y?

July 23, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Future of Retail

Millennial generationby Jenny Kosek

80 million people between the ages of 17 and 34 currently comprise the much-buzzed about Millennial Generation. Considering that 40% of shoppers under age 25 purchase no OTC products at independent pharmacy, the industry is lagging behind when it comes to engaging this immensely important demographic. That means independent pharmacy is losing its share of Millennials’ $170 billion per year buying power.

Generation Y is all grown up, and you need them. The younger portion of the generation is entering college and becoming responsible for their own health decisions for the first time; the thirtysomethings trailing the end of the Millennials are marrying, having children, and beginning to rethink their health needs as they approach middle age. Those college students and new parents have specific health concerns that independent pharmacy is poised to address. Considering that 91% of Millennials still prefer shopping in brick and mortar drugstores, the opportunities abound for you to capture the Millennial market in your community.

Raised online, this generation is used to having information literally at their fingertips. They are always connected and rely on the web to guide their purchasing decisions. 40% of Millennials trust the recommendations of other consumers via the internet over those of family and friends (compare that to 70% of Baby Boomers who trust friend and family recommendations over online reviews). Millennials’ trust in the internet means that hereditary loyalty to your pharmacy is a thing of the past, and Millennial consumers need to be enticed to shop with you in a new way. And they want to be enticed: 37% of them don’t trust big business, and they want to shop small and local. Here are some key steps to start wooing them:

  1. Get a website. Yesterday. Before setting foot in your store, Millennials will want to find out who you are and what you offer.  A complete digital strategy would serve you best, but at minimum, you need a relevant, engaging website to appeal to this group.
  2. Build your digital loyalty. Refer your patients to your website to leave reviews and comments. Millennials will rely on other consumers’ input before choosing to shop with you.
  3. Streamline your in-store experience. When Millennials enter brick and mortar stores, they want the same efficient, quick, and easy-to-navigate shopping experience they are used to online. Make sure your front-end is cleanly laid out, your staff are knowledgeable and can answer questions, and your shelves are attractive and up to date.
  4. Merchandise for them. Consider adding SKUs from emerging categories such as sensual wellness or active living products to make your pharmacy a destination for Millennials’ unique health needs at their current stage of life.
  5. Treat them well. If a Millennial does come to your store, you can rest assured that he or she will be writing about it later, either on Facebook, Twitter, or perhaps their blogs. If they have a good experience, the customer build potential for your pharmacy is enormous as their peers and contacts receive their recommendations. If their experience is bad, the damage that can be done to your pharmacy’s reputation can be equally profound.

Millennials’ loyalty and spending power can be yours, but conscious steps need to be taken in your pharmacy to appeal to them.

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