Bridging the Gap Between Your Optical Store and Millennials

Yes, I did say Millennials. And yes, they are crucial to the success of any business.

The preceding generations like to poke fun at the Millennials — as we’re supposedly wedded to our smartphones, inundated with technology, and consumed with an insatiable desire for instant gratification. But are these really such bad things?

Of all the generations, Millennials are by far the largest, making up for almost 92 million Americans. And as they begin reaching their primary years of working and spending, their impact on businesses and the economy as a whole is going to be monumental. The fact of the matter is that its population size coupled with these attributes — those that are so frequently made into the punchlines of jokes — is exactly why they can either make or break your business.

A recent study showed that the Millennial Generation is expected to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017 and around $10 trillion in their lifetimes. Recognizing how vital it is to capture their business is the first step to bridging this potentially large gap between your store and this generation, and subsequently creating a lasting, successful business.

The importance of marketing your product specifically towards them

In order to capture a younger customer base, you must first market your product in a way that will specifically appeal to them. Out of a survey of 6,000 optical stores, 80% of them said that the Millennial Generation is either “important” or “very important” to their business. And of the same sample of stores, respondents said that 45% of their stores’ frame assortments target a Millennial customer base. Carrying a product that will bring in their business will drastically improve your sales, as they’re the generation spending more money than any other, and saving far less.

Millennials are all about encountering the world on their own terms. They’re the first generation to have grown up on personalized internet marketing, only one click away from hundreds of options tailored specifically for them. Perhaps why there’s such a negative connotation with the word “Millennial,” this generation expects to receive exactly what they want, customized to their particular preferences, and — as if this wasn’t already enough — we want it instantly.

Do brand names really drive sales?

Not entirely. Well, at least that’s the case for Millennials. No longer do we live in the days where everyone’s buying the reflective “Top Gun”-esque aviators. And well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing… Younger generations today increasingly care more about cost and quality than they do with what’s considered to be “cool,” especially when it comes to fashion trends. The way Millennials perceive fashion trends is on par with that of music trends; “Ha, I only liked that song before it became popular.” We are, after all, the “hipster” generation.

A recent study shows that 55% of people ages 16-24 and 56% of 25-34-year-olds disagree with the statement that they tend to buy branded products. Even when shopping in stores, with smartphones readily available, consumers today tend to compare prices and quality of similar products when making purchases. With their particular affinity for technology, the entire retail industry is changing, as the ability to read reviews on what’s supposedly the “hottest brand” might dissuade consumers from purchasing them when they read that you’re paying for the brand, not the quality.

So the primary takeaway here; when you’re marketing towards Millennials, focusing solely on a product’s brand name does not suffice in making a sale.

Let’s go back to this whole “instant gratification” idea

As I said earlier, one of the main attributes of the Millennial Generation is their natural aptitude for technology. With technology comes convenience, satisfying one of the primary desires that so many Millennials have: a need for instant gratification. Millennials have often been called the “Convenience Generation,” the first to grow up with so many aspects of our lives being facilitated with technology and the Internet. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that a recent study concluded that 70% of Millennials say they care most about convenience when it comes to making purchase decisions. But we swear — we’re really not lazy…

The stereotypes of us are somewhat justified — we do have unhealthy obsessions with our smartphones. We get rides from Uber, we listen to music on Spotify, we order food from Seamless, we even find dates on our phones through Tinder or Bumble. Everything is either a click — or a swipe right — away. From ordering late-night Chinese food to “ordering” potential significant others, we’re used to getting what we want, when we want it. Chances are if it’s not a convenient transaction, we’re probably not interested.

But I’m not saying that this means all shopping gets done on the Internet. Particularly in urban cities, with the ease and convenience of dozens of stores being located within single digit block radiuses of each other, many young people still return to the old brick-and-mortar stores in their neighborhood to do their shopping.

But even on a larger scale of all types of locations, a slight majority do, in fact, prefer in-store shopping. A recent survey of Millennial respondents showed that 53% of them still shop in stores, and not online. Consequently, ensuring that your store has options specifically geared towards and personalized to Millennials will prove to be remarkably beneficial to your business and will substantially increase your capture rates.

The Benefits of Optical Telemedicine - Smart Vision Labs Infographic

So what’s the big picture?

Millennials are increasingly “swiping right” on telemedicine and adopting Smart Vision Labs technologyIn the grand scheme of things, the most substantial statistic of them all is that 70% of Millennials care most about convenience when making purchase decisions. So now imagine this; what if you could have the ability to adopt a certain technology that will satisfy this fundamental aspect of their shopping habits. Well, you easily can.

Optical telemedicine can significantly help in attracting a younger customer base, and Smart Vision Labs’ partners have already seen significant improvements in sales by implementing telemedicine in-store vision exams. Through an inexpensive 5-minute exam, with no appointment necessary, optical stores who use the Smart Vision exam have been successful in attracting Millennial customers, and have even been able to grow their business by 25% or more in only a few months.

We truly are the “Convenience Generation,” primarily focused on fulfilling our need for instant gratification. We’re wedded to our smartphones and any other type of technology that makes our lives easier and allows us to waste more time scrolling through irrelevant clickbait on the Internet. Technology has revitalized almost every aspect of our daily lives, and the trends are showing that Millennials are increasingly “swiping right” on telemedicine.

Related Posts

Post-Disruption Jobs in the Optical Industry
Vision Industry Disruptors! International Edition

Issy Bonebrake is a born-again New Yorker living down in the Village. She considers herself to be a self-proclaimed, cautiously optimistic futurist. As a classic rock aficionado, she enjoys binge watching rockumentaries from the coziness of her less than 500 square footage apartment. Issy is a happily dissatisfied Millennial.