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5 Ways Local Businesses Can Attract Young Customers

St Mary Street, Cardiff. Photo: Rhys Gregory / Wales247

In the modern economy, it is becoming very important for local businesses and SMEs throughout the UK to attract young customers.

Typically, today’s younger generations are not regarded as being particularly economically stable. Just last autumn Bloomberg wrote that UK millennials are worse off than people born in the 1970s, and “Gen Z” is only beginning to come of working age — and doing so in uncertain times, to say the least. However, it would be a mistake to think that these factors amount to to less spending power.

Even if members of the millennial and Gen Z generations have had their financial misfortune, they now comprise a massive portion of the consumer economy. As such, they should be taken seriously. And with that in mind, we’re taking a look at five specific ways for local businesses in Cardiff and elsewhere can attract younger customers.

1. Get Active on Social Media

Local stores can often seem to be less technologically savvy by nature. They often occupy smaller and/or older spaces, they’re sometimes run by families or small groups of friends, and so on. This can ultimately make them seem somewhat old-fashioned, and while that appeals to some shoppers of all ages, it can result in a business falling off the radar for plenty of younger consumers. However, any relevant business can counter this problem simply by getting active on social media. That means starting accounts on multiple platforms, advertising that those accounts exist (perhaps even by putting a few stickers on a store window indicating as much), and then keeping the accounts active and engaging. Younger consumers rely heavily on social media to interact with and glean information about companies, and if a local business is available via this method, it can instantly seem more modern and more appealing.

2. Embrace Mobile Payment Options

This point is fairly straightforward: Millennials and Gen Z’ers are accustomed to mobile payments, and more often than not prefer them to cash transactions (or even ordinary credit card usage). It stands to reason, therefore, that local businesses can make themselves more appealing to these younger consumers by embracing mobile payment options. Today’s countertop card machines are described by FIS Global as being equipped to accept card payments and handle “contactless pay,” ultimately leading to faster transactions. Additionally, they’re both simple and affordable for smaller businesses to set up.

3. Show Some Edge

This isn’t an idea that can be defined exactly. Generally though, millennials and Gen Z’ers are very sensitive to dull, redundant, or disingenuous approaches by businesses. For this reason it’s a good idea for business owners looking to attract young consumers to try to present an edge. This might mean a steady sense of humour on social media; it might mean an unorthodox storefront; it may even influence a product line. Whatever the case, doing something edgy makes a business seem original, unique, and authentic — all of which can catch the eye of a younger consumer.

4. Build a Subscription Box

You may have seen a recent story titled ‘Welsh Entrepreneur Launches Luxury Adult Subscription Box Service’ that we posted here in January. That story detailed a new initiative by Feeling Foxy founder Liza Fitzgerald, providing customers with various boxes at different price points and with different contents. But really, it highlighted a bigger trend that we’re beginning to see in businesses around the world. The truth of the matter is that young consumers love opportunities of this nature — perhaps in the UK most of all. A survey by eDelivery in fact stated that 79% of UK consumers aged 24 to 35 prefer subscription boxes to local high street shopping. That’s a fairly convincing number that indicates businesses of all kinds could attract more business from younger generations by figuring out some kind of subscription box or package to offer.

5. Make A Green Effort

It’s become very clear that members of younger generations care more about sustainability and eco-friendliness than those who came before them. Business Leader proved as much, interestingly enough, by tapping into a Pinterest survey — which showed significantly higher interest in related topics from younger users. Similarly, various studies and articles around the world have indicated in recent years that millennials and Gen Z’ers may even be willing to spend more money for more eco-friendly products. Thus, it stands to reason that the UK’s small businesses could attract youthful consumers in part by demonstrating green efforts. How this can be done depends on any given business’s focus and capabilities, but it’s still something to keep in mind. Even a store advertising its use of energy-efficient lighting can get the “green” stamp of approval.

In addition to all of this, it’s only natural that what a business is actually offering also has some bearing on how its consumer base will be defined. But store owners in Cardiff and around the UK should still take note of the points above. These are some very effective ways to attract the attention of younger consumers, and potential expand business.