This Retail Rundown is all about understanding millennials. This dynamic market seems like it has sprung up overnight challenging the market because it is different from other generations. Millennials have introduced new market strategies and are challenging retailer’s future decisions like never before. Why are millennials so different? What makes them latch onto trends and what are those trends? We’ve compiled a few articles to help answer these big questions and we’re curious to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below and join the conversation millions are talking about.
Millennials are a generation making an impact on every aspect of business. They are the talk of the market and are forcing marketers to ask bigger questions in order to target their needs. But what makes millennials so different? Forbes has recognized five trends that marketers must understand to channel this new diverse generation.
- Millennials are a Mindset. Millennials are ages 18 to 34, but age or income is not what sets them apart. It is their mindset and their world views that have drastically changed the market. Their world views tend to focus more on individual expression and a sense of disruption rather than following rules defined by preceding generations.
- Millennials Crave Freedom. Since this generation has not been in the work environment for very long, it has been made clear that they are not big believers in rules and restrictions. Millennial’s central way of thinking is to expand, move, and learn their true identity in all aspects of their lives. Give millennials the freedom to make their own choices and provide the co-operative state that they are craving.
- Millennials Seek Service. They’re after service that is individualized, personal and fast so they can continue to move. Their desire for service is so great that across the the United States marketers have seen a shift towards a service-based economy.
- They Back Causes. Almost 40% of millennials say they will support a brand or company that is doing good in the world. The popularity in philanthropic service is growing. Business owners and companies are learning how to ensure they are making a difference while competing with other companies trying to achieve the same.
- They Have Diverse Interests. Social media has introduced a new way of targeting specific interest and allowed marketers to identify the interest of their audience like never before. The diverse interest are often contradictory or temporary, meaning they remain marketing enigmas.
In 2015, Adidas was underperforming top rival Nike (NKE, +0.07%) in the key U.S. sportswear market and even found itself confronting headlines that it was trailing Under Armour (UA), a far smaller upstart brand. Despite recent sales woes because of design misfires, the German sportswear company could be cool again. Adidas North America President, Mark King, laid out a simple strategy: focus more on running, basketball, and the stylish everyday wear “originals” business. He also vowed to report double-digit sales growth in the region.
Growth has been fueled by many of the key levers that King called out, including a 60% increase in sales for “originals” and running footwear for the first half of the year. Ever since Kanye West left Nike and started working with Adidas, the company has seen tremendous growth. With release of the YEEZY BOOST, Arthur Hoeld said “No one transcends music and fashion like Kanye West. … The YEEZY BOOST is the first sneaker that brings Kanye’s unique creativity and individuality to the forefront of its design.” It wasn’t just the partnership with rapper Kanye West that made the company “cool” overnight, it was the innovation efforts Adidas made in designing on-trend silhouettes, new apparel fabrics and use of innovative technology. Adidas has listened to society and culture by turning athletic gear into a fashion statement.
Future of Women
Millennials have been recognized to care more about specific causes and are beginning to see the importance of certain political issues. This previous week we celebrated International Women’s Day. It is important for women to be proactive and to own your path (if not you, then who?) and approach your current opportunity or next move with a level of urgency and diligence.
The retail industry is one that tends to be dominated by females and young women today are taking ownership of their own career path as never before. There are three things people should recognize about the future of women. 1) More women are prepared to pave their path right out of college, they know what they want but they must figure out how. 2) Women are seeking a higher level of engagement. It is important to put down the phone, engage, and be hungry to learn. And 3) Women no longer should do it by themselves. Seek out and network with other women. Have them help you take leaps, not steps.
With women making up 44.2% of the workforce, the future is looking bright. It’s important not only to reflect on what has been done to accelerate diversity on a global scale, but to take action to ensure it continues.
Urban Outfitters recently leveraged geographical information to better understand users’ behaviors and strategically use different messaging channels like push notifications, email and in-app messages, resulting in a 146% increase in revenue and 75% gain in conversions. “Our goal is to provide better experiences for our audience in this competitive landscape,” said Andrew Rauch, Senior Director of Global Digital Marketing at Urban Outfitters, adding that campaign location data improved communication with the targeted audience.
Beyond the numbers, Urban Outfitters also gained insights that improved its messaging targeting for individual recipients within the campaign. With the growth in mobile there’s an entire new tactic based around mobile moments, or those points during the day when a marketers can provide value to targeted customers who are using their phones.
This new generation is savvier and more educated. They turn to their handheld devices to meet all their needs. Whether it be hailing a ride through the Uber app or ordering a breakfast burrito through the Seamless app, technology is how they get things done. They are plugged into their devices and are disrupting traditional purchasing patterns.
The convenience of the mobile device is paramount to this group. The relentless focus on perfecting technology has set a new standard across the industry that millennials now accept as the norm. Retailers must be able to provide streamlined, user-friendly systems and processes in order to retain the millennial. For example, retailers such as Starbucks are winning over millennial consumers with their mobile wallets – apps developed by stores which make it easier for customers to pay with additional perks.
In order to appeal to this generation, retailers need to provide a seamless customer-facing retail experience. Whether this is online or in-store, millennials seek customer service professionals who understand their preferences and make recommendations tailored to their specific needs.
Mobile devices and technology may be an integral piece of their life, but this young generation values traditional experiences. They shop, but they also want activities such as movies and dining. They demonstrated this over the holidays when they spent an average of $220 on these activities – more than Generation X or Baby Boomers. Experience over items.
I am currently a senior majoring in Retailing and Consumer Sciences while minoring in e-commerce. I hold the position of Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, where I am responsible for creating social media platforms that not only enhance our brand but also educate the world about retail trends. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, good music, and good company.