Creating Customer Stickiness During the Rise of the Millennial Business Owner

Building long-lasting relationships is possible with the new generation of merchants making up a growing part of your market.


As an ISV or VAR, you’re probably noticing something about your customers: They’re getting younger. Many baby boomer business owners have reached or are close to retirement, and millennial business owners are taking their place. You’re used to providing solutions and services to baby boomers, many of whom you’d describe as determined and disciplined. What you’ll probably miss most of all about them, however, is their inclination toward brand loyalty.

Compared to millennial business owners, now in their 20s to late 30s, baby boomers are more likely to continue working with companies they’re familiar with, even if a new provider with new solutions or enticing promotions comes along. That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve a sticky relationship with a millennial client – you just need to understand their expectations and then deliver.

What ISVs and VARs Need to Know About Millennial Business Owners

As your clients’ children take over the family restaurant or the new shopkeeper in your market has a crisp, new college degree hanging on the wall in the back office, there are three things you need to keep in mind with these point of sale (POS) and payment solution clients.

1. Millennial business owners are collaborative

Your baby boomer customers are probably interested in what you have to say about your solution and how it helps solve their pain points. But younger business owners will want to tell you more about what they’re doing and solicit your opinion. A Cutler PR article in Entrepreneur points out that business owners in this age group are less protective of their ideas and share them with business partners to get their feedback.

Experts in the POS space have advised VARs and ISVs to be more than a solution provider; you need to be a trusted business advisor and a true partner to build long-term relationships. Millennial business owners will hold you to that. If you prove to be a valuable collaborator, they’ll want to keep you around.

2. Millennial business owners are comfortable with technology

This generation of business owners isn’t digital-native like Gen Z coming up behind them, but they are much more comfortable with technology. They will take less convincing than their moms and dads that technology will provide value to their businesses, and they’ll want to implement up-to-date omnichannel payment technologies for their businesses. They’ll also be paying attention to the skill and knowledge your techs demonstrate and factor that into the business relationships they build with solutions providers.

Be open with your clients about the specifics of the work you are doing if they ask, and don’t underestimate their level of understanding.

3. Millennials are influenced by testimonials and reviews

It’s rare to find a millennial who isn’t checking social media or searching the internet for information on a daily basis. It’s common for them to research companies online before agreeing to a meeting and look for what other customers have to say.

It’s vital that you monitor what your customers are saying about you on social media, business review sites, and other platforms. You also need to address any negative comments with make-goods or assurance that issues won’t reoccur – millennial business owners will be watching.

Also, millennial generation clients will be more likely to post a review of your solutions and services. A ZD blog video points out that 60 percent of millennials post reviews online, so keep in mind their comments could influence other business owners in your market.

The Key to a Long-Term Relationship

Some ISVs’ or VARs’ experiences with millennial business owners may have led them to conclude that they simply aren’t loyal customers. Accenture analysts, however, say they’re “pickier.” According to Accenture, they can be very loyal “provided they feel they’ve been treated right.”

Take the reins as a trusted advisor. Be willing to collaborate when they seek solutions to their challenges or want to innovate, and, occasionally, give them a deal that lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) to let them know you value their business – and inspire good reviews. The effort will pay off as millennial business owners continue to do business with your company because they know they are working with the best possible partner.

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