Millennials – a word that has a habit of making older generations cringe. Some call them lazy, some call them entitled and some accuse them of deliberately skewing reality to make life easier for themselves. In truth, the business world has been changed dramatically and permanently by Generation Y.
In fact, business practices are currently undergoing a revolution on a scale the likes of which hasn’t been seen in recent history. So regardless of your own personal opinions on this new generation, here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the ways Millennials have brought about significant change:
They have changed the way we shop
First up, the demise of the High Street has been accelerated significantly by Millennials. The simple fact of the matter is that if these comparatively affluent consumers do not want to travel to physical stores, wait in line and inconvenience themselves in order to make purchases, why would they? Today, buying absolutely anything in the world – clothes, groceries, fast food, apartments etc. – is as easy as making a few smartphone screen-taps. Technically speaking, it’s all about working smarter, rather than harder.
They have changed the way we work
Speaking of which, the same also goes for the way Millennials work and have influenced business in general. Think about it – why fly or travel great distances to meetings, when free video-calling is all you need? Likewise, why travel or commute any distance whatsoever, when just about any office job can be done remotely from home? It’s even no longer necessary to meet prospective candidates in person, before going ahead and hiring them. And as for traditional 9 to 5 working schedules…well, they’re pretty much gone for good!
They have changed customer service
Our customer service has also undergone radical change over recent years. Not only does it tend to be available 24/7 to some extent at least, but it is no longer the stuffy, formal and business-like process it used to be. Instead, it is altogether more social, conversational and largely kept out in the open. You only need to look at the way in which so many forward-thinking businesses are using social media as a customer service tool.
They shop local
Not only are Millennials significantly more environmentally and economically conscious than older generations, but they are also inspiring (or in some cases forcing) others to follow suit. Extensive studies have shown that Millennials are in general happy to pay considerably more for products and services, should the providers behind them show some kind of commitment to sustainability and ethical operations. It’s also become almost painfully fashionable to shop local and support local businesses. Which is of course, nothing but a good thing.
This has been seen many times in the “farm-to-table” trend that has dominated the restaurant industry in recent years, as well as in the interior design industry. In fact, refurbished materials have become a huge selling point for millennial shoppers.
They can start a business with no real startup costs
Last but not least, Millennials have ushered in an era where it is perfectly possible to start, build and operate a successful business, while barely having to invest a penny in its establishment. If you have the vision, the commitment and the technical savvy to get the job done, getting into business for yourself these days really demands little more than a laptop and an Internet connection.