American Marketer


Building digital commerce for millennials

October 10, 2017

Roland Gossage is CEO of GroupBy Inc. Roland Gossage is CEO of GroupBy


By Roland Gossage

While more than half of all Americans prefer to shop online, research from DDB Worldwide shows us that - unsurprisingly – more than half of millennial shoppers’ total purchases have been made online. So how can retailers ensure that they are meeting the needs of this new mobile-driven, ecommerce-loving generation?

For millennials, it is all about loyalty.

Making an impression
Accenture has found that the vast majority of millennials (95 percent) will stay loyal to a brand if it treats them as a valued customer – and part of that value is providing a seamless experience across all channels, especially mobile.

But, unfortunately, mobile impression acquisition and retention continues to be a struggle for some of the industry’s leading retailers.

Best Buy, Target and Walmart all have remained flat in their mobile penetration for two solid years. During that time, Amazon has nearly doubled its monthly mobile impressions.

While these monster retailers are pouring millions upon millions of dollars into their mobile development programs, the keys to success do not have to be complex nor costly. It is only costly when you are not doing the following five things:

Everything centers around search
These days, where Google reigns supreme, those interacting with any site or mobile application want and need good search functionality.

Gen Y has been trained to believe that you can find exactly what you are looking for with only a few keystrokes.

If you have not spent time focusing on how to improve the search functionality of your mobile commerce solution, you must start today. More than 60 percent of millennials will abandon a site if they cannot find what they are looking for within the first attempt.

Keep mobile simple
This is not just moving your desktop site over to mobile via a responsive design – simplify the mobile experience so that navigation through the site gets your customers where they want to go much more quickly.

This will also ensure that the site remains quick to load and, thus, have a stronger user experience.

Make product data an asset
Far too many retailers have incomplete or incorrect product data on their sites. Online shoppers cannot search for data that does not exist.

Take the time to find ways to enrich your data and bring it to a wholesome state so that findability within your mobile commerce site is at its maximum.

Remove registration – first close the sale
Data collection is vital for retargeting and other areas of marketing, but remember that your first priority is to make a sale.

Get your shopper to the cart as soon as possible without arduous registration processes or data collection. You can ask for the consumers’ information during the payment process instead.

Track every piece of data
We see all too often that retailers do not collect enough data from the activity on their mobile site or desktop too, for that matter. Simple page views and product queries are not enough anymore.

Empower yourself by knowing the entire browsing paths of each user, where users tend to hover or seek out additional information, where those users are located and every other piece of data you can get – it is vital.

THERE ARE DOZENS of retailers in 2017 alone who have learned that if you do not lean into the power of online retailing, your days are numbered.

And while avoiding that fate is often fronted with a public declaration of a focus on mobile strategy, understandably, that becomes a daunting task for those retailers that have been focused for decades on perfecting a physical customer experience.

No doubt, the preferences of millennial shoppers – as well other generations coming up in the ranks – will continue to lean towards that of the digital and omnichannel kind. To survive in this retail reality means to shore up those efforts to solidify the younger generations’ ongoing loyalty.

Roland Gossage is CEO of GroupBy Inc., Toronto. Reach him at