If you own a digital game store or are in any way involved in selling video games, then your number one target should be millennials. This world’s most empowered spenders are projected to account for $1.4 trillion in the US alone by 2020. In order to reach this group successfully, you’ll need to understand who millennials are, why games are important to them, and finally, what tactics will work for them. First, let’s define what makes a typical millennial gamer.

Who the millennial gamer is

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, and gamers are fairly the same. Born between 1982 and 2000, they perfectly fit the gamer’s category. Despite their young age, millennials are by no means an easy target for marketers and sellers. Quite the opposite, it’s hard to reach them and get their attention. Research says that roughly 50% of millennials remain loyal to a certain brand, which may be slightly off-putting to those involved in video game distribution.

Why games matter to millennials

Although millennials gamers prove to be demanding consumers, they also seem to be naturally connected to video games. After all, they spent up to 9,000 hours playing games in their childhood. Here are other well-grounded reasons why games match with millennials:
– Video games bring the social value to the millennial generation. By playing them, they find a way to connect with their friends and family.
– Psychologically, games engender a sense of control and stability in times of economic, social, and political uncertainty.

Rule no. 1: Don’t hard-sell

Don’t come up with another salesy message unless you want your customers to walk away. A millennial gamer needs a strong reason to buy from you.

What sets you apart from other game stores in the market? What makes your offering unique? Perhaps, it’s the vast catalogue of best-selling games. Or is it the biggest selection of first-person shooters on the market? Or, maybe, your advantage lies in speedy digital delivery? If this is the case, communicate it clearly to your audience. Whatever your advantage is, screaming with a simple “Buy now” sales pitch will only fall on deaf ears.

Rule no. 2: Play hard in social media

The best place to reach the selfie-taking, hash-tag obsessed, text-o-holic gamers are social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name just a few. Millennials are shifting from one channel to another, and your task is to keep up with their pace. Often, this means going multichannel to catch their attention. With over 800 million monthly gamers, Facebook should definitely be on top of your social media strategy.

How can you hold millennials’ attention in social media? Engage them in all sorts of contests, giveaways, and generally two-sided conversations. You may, for example, encourage them to share their photos from a gaming session, hold a contest around a best-selling title or ask them to vote for a favourite hero.

Rule no. 3: Stay in touch with millennials

Millennial gamers are notorious multitaskers who browse the internet for hours glued to their smartphones. If you want to interact with them successfully, consider the following channels of communication (in this order of importance):
– Text and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
– Emails
– Social media
– Phone calls
– In person.

By providing constant support with Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, not only do you have a total control over gamers’ experience but you will also show them that you care. Besides, with every extra minute of waiting for a response, your chance of losing a customer increases. That’s not what you’re after, are you? When it comes to emails, you can send newsletters with fun-facts to whet their appetite for a given game. Alternatively, opt for emails to sort out more complex support issues.

Rule no. 4: Refer to millennials’ emotions

The very second the release date hits, gamers want instant access to a game. Here, you could combine the “digital delivery” argument with gamers’ need for instant gratification. Digital games ensure quick “hands-on” experience without leaving their armchair.

What’s more, millennial gamers are visual creatures who simply adore all sorts of memes, screenshots, and trailers. For example, you can incorporate GIFS and memes virtually everywhere – into Facebook posts, emails, Facebook Messenger messages, landing pages, and others. Make them laugh, make them cry, and above all, make them feel the thrill of a game.

Rule no. 5: Elicit word-of-mouth

Personal recommendations are extremely valuable to shoppers and millennial gamers in particular. According to Nielsen, 84% of customers trust personal recommendations from their friends and family. A good way to encourage more word-of-mouth recommendations is having an attractive referral program for loyal customers. The idea behind it is pretty straightforward: you offer incentives like promo codes or discounts to customers in exchange for their personal opinions.

Ever thought about launching an affiliate program for gaming influencers? If not, you may be missing out on a steady source of customers. Influencers can help you get your games in front of the right audience. Thanks to them, your game store is likely to be positively associated with a popular brand.

It’s no longer a surprise that millennials often refer to online comments, reviews or even ask their peers for advice, before buying a game. Push them gently to shop with you by showing off your rating on websites such as Trust Pilot. Don’t have video games in your offering? Think of introducing a referral program with digital games as rewards.

Rule no. 6: Be authentic

As a digital distribution business, you need to be consistently transparent about the way you communicate your products or service. Take digital delivery, for example. If you claim it to be “instant and convenient”, don’t send an email with a key within an hour. The same applies to product descriptions – if they don’t appeal to your customers, games won’t sell. Missing information about a game’s genre, DLC or trailer also works against sales too.

Boosting your authenticity also comes down to participating in communities where gamers hang out or attending festivals. Find online communities dedicated to the game’s genre you sell (e.g. Facebook, Discord or subreddits). Showing up at game industry shows (e.g. Gamescom) or e-commerce events (e.g. eCommerce Expo) is a chance for you to come across as engaged and thus more trustworthy to prospective gamers.

Wrapping it up

Millennials’ voice counts. There are 80 million of them and their buying power comes in around $200 bn. Once you play your cards right, it may be easy to connect with this generation. After all, millennial gamers look for meaningful experiences rather than tangible items. And digital games stand for a meaningful source of entertainment.