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Describe a Millennial – their key traits and habits, particularly those relevant from a post’s perspective?

The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. It has also been called the Peter Pan or Boomerang generation because of the propensity of some to move back in with their parents, perhaps due to economic constraints. Millennials have been characterized in a number of different ways.

On the negative side, they’ve been described as lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job. One 2012 study found Millennials to be more civically and politically disengaged, more focused on materialistic values, and less concerned about helping the larger community than were GenX (born 1962-1981) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 to about 1961) at the same ages.

They have also been described in positive ways. They are generally regarded as being more open-minded and more supportive of equal rights for minorities. Other positive adjectives used to describe them include confident, self-expressive and upbeat and they are seen as being receptive to new ideas and ways of living.

How important are they as a consumer group?

In the US, Millennials already account for an estimated US$1.3 trillion in direct annual spending. They make judicious use of their disposable income as many have some amount of debt owed – often to education programs – but seek out gourmet and bespoke foods and forgo fancier, flashier, major purchases like sports cars or big homes.

Millennials use their mobile devices in large numbers to make purchases of goods and services. According to Deloitte’s 2013 Global Mobile Survey, the conversion rate in the store for shoppers who use a retailer’s dedicated app is 21% higher than those who don’t – most likely because such apps can provide a more relevant and tailored shopping experience that helps people make an immediate buying decision. And multi-channel shoppers spend (online, in store and via mobile) 33% more than the average shopper and 57% more than in store-only shoppers.

If mobile is their platform of choice, are posts ready to deliver?

Millennials were native adopters of smartphones and expect to access services from their cell phone anytime, anywhere and in a convenient way. Their phone is also a source of entertainment and a way to connect with family and friends and share personal instant experiences.

Most postal businesses have developed apps to respond to this need such as branch locators or mobile postcard applications, enabling you to take a picture of yourself and have it delivered at the home of a friend or relative with a personalized message in the coming days. A more general trend is to be able to interact more quickly and via your smartphone with your postal operator to communicate, as an example, your preferred time and place to receive a letter or parcel.

If posts are not ready, what sort of services and user experiences do they need to develop?

Postal businesses are often the touch point of online businesses with their Millennial consumers. They expect this last mile to be as quick and flexible as the online sales experience without fully grasping the logistical complexity behind the delivery.

Moreover, advertizing mail is a very powerful medium to address consumers when they are at home. However, Millennials are always on the run and are always connected. Being able to combine advertizing mail with online and mobile media could be a powerful way for advertizers to connect with Millennials.

Right: La Poste has used Facebook to target a younger demographic by creating a fun portal for sending parcels and gifts

Millennials have less tolerance for poor user experiences – what advice would you offer posts in this regard? What companies or experiences should they look to for inspiration?

There are a few ways a postal business could make its customer experience more appealing to Millennials in their branch network. One is to make use of the waiting time to interact with Millennials on their mobile in fun ways such as games, to get to know them and to prepare the transaction or promote other products or services. Another

idea is to give Millennials the opportunity to share their experience with other customers, to assess their satisfaction with the service and to provide suggestions for improvement in a controlled environment. Posts have until now facilitated mainly one-to-one communications. With social media, Millennials are more used to one-to-many or many-to-many communications.

How important is self-service to Millennials and how well positioned are posts to offer this?

Millennials are used to the do-it-yourself channels and will make the effort if they can have access to a cheaper or quicker service. This represents cost-saving opportunities for posts by implementing online service channels or automated desks in post offices.

Millennials also care about green and ethical businesses – again, are there opportunities here for posts?

Post is about organizing efficient delivery which can have a positive impact on carbon emissions. Not everyone is aware of this. Moreover, using new green alternatives to transport parcels and mail is great but talking about it is even better. What a wonderful topic for your social channels!

What unique attributes do posts have as brands that suggest they are well positioned to appeal to Millennials?

Posts are a trusted third-party for communication-related activities. Some posts are building on this strength to offer services to manage important, official or private document flows digitally.

Moreover, they are present at the door of citizens almost every day and they are thus well positioned to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical world as they are often the first and last human contact online businesses have with their customers.

Left: Post Luxemborg has created a whitelabeled, prepaid credit card called ‘easy visa’, which makes it straightforward to make online purchases while minimizing personal liability during transactions

How can posts offer greater personalization to attract Millennials?

Like for any other type of business, personalization requires you to know your customer. With the right processes and tools in place, a postal business is well positioned to gain good insights into their customers and offer personalized services. Personalized communications mean quick and efficient interactions for Millennials. Speed and convenience are highly prized and improve user uptake. Transparency and associating with other organizations that defend socially responsible programs increase brand loyalty.

If posts fail to better serve Millennials, where or to whom do you think they will gravitate, in terms of logistics, parcel delivery and digital communication?

For digital communication, the alternatives such as social media or email are already well in place and postal businesses are the challengers. In order to play in this game, posts need to offer an added value such as extra authentication or security. For parcel delivery, the threat could come from large online retailers themselves. As delivery is an important moment in their customer’s experience, they might want to gain more control of it.

March 26, 2015

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About Author

, editor-in-chief

Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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