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Posted: October 25, 2012

Prepare Your Store For The Millennial Generation

You Will Need The Right Accessories And An On-Line Presence To Get This Generations Business

By Dan Sanchez

The Tjin Ford Explorer in Trucking Times MagazineA new generation of truck and sport utility consumers is quickly coming of age, and will make an impact on the accessory products you’re currently stocking and installing. Millennials range in age from 18 to 30, and automakers are already catering to this growing segment with new and innovative products.

The Ford Explorer featured on the cover of our May/June 2012 issue is a perfect example. It demonstrates how SUVs have evolved, and contains many of the attributes that the millennial generation deems as important features in a new vehicle. This Explorer was customized and created by Neil Tjin, one of many young automotive designers. He took the modern family vehicle a step further by creating a custom SUV that appeals to young buyers who are automotive enthusiasts, but also have a career, family, and enjoy being connected online and via mobile devices.

If you look at most 2012 and 2013 sport utility vehicles, many have shrunk in size, become more fuel efficient, come with optional voice activated communication, and include the ability to connect with mobile devices and more. But this evolution doesn’t just reflect a struggling economy, and rising fuel costs. It also parallels a new generation of consumers who care more about downloading their iPod playlist to their SUV, than having a big-block V-8 under the hood.

According to the Pew Research Center, a Washington DC based research group that studies social and demographic trends, the millennial generation is on track to be one of the most educated in American history.  This means they’ll likely do lots of research on products and services online, or via their mobile device, before making a purchase. So those truck accessory and restyling business with an interactive website and social media pages, are going to be more successful getting this generation’s business as they age and begin to earn more income.

So what small steps can you do to be prepared? You can begin by making sure your website is visible on mobile devices and that your social media pages are updated at least once or twice a week. Opting to inventory specific 12-volt accessories is probably another good way to start.

Consider that Millennials have grown up during one of the worst economies in recent history, and their income levels aren’t as high as Gen-X and aging Baby Boomers…yet. While Millennials can purchase a base-model truck or SUV that gets great fuel economy, it may be missing some of the convenience items they’d like. So their first accessory purchases will most likely be products that allow them to have Bluetooth connectivity, MP3, and navigation in their vehicles before opting for a leather interior upgrade, a tow hitch, or plush floor mats.

So whether you’re looking to reach Millennial buyers or establish new business, the path to increased profits and business requires that you step out of your comfort zone and carefully look to make sure the products on  your shelves are attractive to this growing segment.

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