Getting Millennials to shop local online.

How grocers can earn the business of the millennial consumers online.

Millennials Shopping online

With over 83 million individuals in the United States born between 1982 and 2000, the “millennial” generation makes up more than one-quarter of the U.S. population and has surpassed baby boomers to represent the country’s largest generational demographic.

According to a report by Fabric, "52% of U.S. consumers have shopped for groceries online recently because of the Covid-19 pandemic and 20% are first-time shoppers.

So the question local markets need to ask themselves is not if they need to sell online, but how to sell online offering the same level of convenience to their customers that these major retailers are offering - namely same-day delivery - and win their offline customers’ business online?

Fortunately for local business owners, buying patterns have consistently shown a preference among millennials for patronizing local businesses, as compared with other generations. This generation has made it clear – millennials love local businesses.

But being a local grocery chain is not enough to win their business. Retailers need to understand why millennials love small businesses and then can create an e-commerce strategy that will give them the local advantage to ultimately win the millennial business.

Why Do Millennials Love Small Business

1. Millennials Like to Shop Local

Millennials have a strong sense of community and like to feel connected to the products and services they buy. Because of this, they’ll consider spending more at the store down the street than they may with a large corporation or chain.

2. Millennials Are Drawn to Personalization and Customization

Millennials don’t want to feel like they are one of the masses. Millennials want to feel unique and heard when shopping. They want customized, local products and personalized experiences that smaller businesses are much more likely to provide. Make sure you advertise your local and customized products on your website and have a technology that can support customizing the experience for each customer.

3. Millennials Like Casual Cultures

Gone are the days of suits and ties for this generation. When millennials walk into, or shop online at your grocery store, they want to feel at home. The more relaxed they are, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you. Millennials don’t want to feel pressured in a purchasing situation. They want the casual, comfortable ambiance that small companies can more easily provide in-store and online.

4. Millennials Like to Give Back

Millennials have a soft spot in their hearts for giving back to the community and for rooting for the underdog. If they had it their way, Small Grocers Saturday would be every day. Putting their dollars to the smaller and local grocery chains makes millennials feel better than if they spent the same money on products and services from a larger chain.

5. Millennials Want to Shop With People They Trust

Especially when it comes to food. Customers need to trust their grocer to choose the right products for them and maintain them at the right temperature while handling and delivering them. Small grocers are more likely to come off as real and authentic to their consumers, which aligns with the ideals of this generation.

6. Millennials Want to Be Brand Loyalists

Millennials like to be a part of something. If your small grocery chain grabs their attention and offers the environment and community they’re passionate about or perhaps support a local cause or community effort, a millennial will become not only a customer but a brand advocate as well.

How to Win a Millennial’s Business

It’s clear that millennials love smaller grocers, so how do you go about attracting these customers? Consider the tips below:

1. Connect with your customers - delivering groceries is a very personal thing. Make sure your drivers are well trained to connect with the people they are delivering to, and always representing your brand.

2. Get Social – Millennials live on social media. To get their attention, make sure your brand has a presence on the platforms where your audience frequents the most. Don’t just post about your company. Engage with these millennials and respond to their comments. Have conversations with them and build relationships. The more emotional they feel towards your business, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.

3. Advertise your Discounts and Coupons – Millennials are always looking for a good deal. Since millennials love personalization, make sure the coupons and discounts are relevant to their wants and needs.

4. Do Something Buzzworthy – If your business does something eye-catching, such as a flash mob or a YouTube worthy stunt, millennials will want to get involved with your business. They love being associated with something that others are talking about.

5. Embrace Your Brand’s Personality – Be authentic. Know who your brand is so millennials know who you are as well.

6. Have a Cause You Care About – If you practice social responsibility and have a cause or mission people care about, they’ll be more likely to care about your company as well.

7. Embrace Customization – Invest in technologies such as Self Point that allow you to monitor millennials’ purchasing habits and interests so that you can provide them with a personalized experience every time they shop in-store or on your website.

For more information about how to build out your holistic e-commerce business. Reach out to me at

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