The millennial generation is notoriously fickle—at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. Or we could be kinder and say they are highly selective. They jump from job to job. Partner to partner. Brand to brand. Savvy marketers, though, know what it takes to effectively engage the millennial generation with retail loyalty programs.

In fact, CodeBroker millennial loyalty research reveals some specific preferences among millennials that marketers can leverage to boost brand loyalty. Based on a survey of 1,287 consumer members of loyalty programs across a range of industries—with 441 responses from millennials—the report shows some startling differences between millennials and other generations that retail marketers can selectively capitalize on.

Perhaps most startling of all: 97% of millennials say that they would actively engage with loyalty programs if they could access their rewards information from their smartphones.

Millennials Have the Potential to Become Very Loyal Customers

Maybe not so startling, though, if we consider how many people of all ages are tethered to their phones day and night. According to Pew Research, 96% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind—81% own smartphones. They rely on those phones to meet their personal needs in a variety of ways—to receive email, to make phone calls, to send text messages, to take pictures, to play games, to watch videos. And, yes, to store coupons, special offers and access to loyalty programs that they expect immediate access to whenever they may be shopping online or in traditional retail settings.

Laying the Foundation for Loyalty

Based on the results of CodeBroker research, a number of opportunities to create, build and maintain loyalty among the millennial consumer audience were identified by the following ways:

  • Keep information front and center

Respondents to the survey indicated that their biggest gripe with retail loyalty programs is that they lack basic insights into their rewards. Nearly 60% cited this as an issue, with 58% saying they were unsure when rewards were available or when they would expire. Overly complex program participation requirements drives engagement down and limits insights millennial consumers have into their rewards status.

  • Make it mobile-friendly

A top frustration for millennial consumers related to accessing rewards, point balances and other programs, is not being able to do this easily thorough their mobile devices—or being required to download and use a mobile device. Again, given the amount of time that millennials spend with their phones and high expectations about how their phones can help them manage their lives, making offers and all communications user-friendly is a must for retail marketers.

Survey respondents cite top frustrations when accessing rewards programs | Source: CodeBroker

  • Offer them options

There is no one-size-fits-all communication approach when it comes to communicating with the millennial audience. In fact, according to millennial loyalty research, preferences for receiving communications breaks down consistently between email (44%), text message (31%) and mobile apps (25%).

With so much variation, it’s important for retail marketers to follow an important best practice: identify communication preferences, up front, by providing a range of sign-up options on the front-end when first connecting with millennials. By using the right contact strategy for each member, marketers can improve their insights in rewards status and drive higher levels of engagement, even among millennials.

Protecting Your Own Interests

Of course, while marketers can boost loyalty by adhering to the preferences of their target audiences, they need to protect their own interests as well. That requires a secure distribution and redemption process when using coupons to drive sales to ensure that the right people receive an offer—and that the offer is only able to be used once, even if received through multiple communication channels (e.g. email, text, or mobile app).

When sending offers to specific individuals, marketers want to make sure that those offers do not go viral and fall into the hands of an unlimited number of people not intended to receive that special offer. Secure redemption is the core technology required to deploy single-use coupons—it ensures that the point-of-sale system (POS) or eComm shopping cart can issue, accept and process single-use coupons.

Leveraging insights into millennial marketing preferences and having safeguards in place to ensure offers are used only by those they were intended for, and used only once in the form of single-use coupons, provides a two-part punch for driving sales while controlling unnecessary costs.

Millennials aren’t necessarily fickle. Savvy marketers can earn their trust, attention and sales by understanding both their preferences and top turn-offs.