How To Attract The Un-Loyal Generation of Shoppers

I’m a 23 year old female consumer and I’m most definitely not loyal.  Disregard any Chris Brown lyrics that jump into your head, I’m referencing the loyalty a retail brand fantasizes about creating with me… and my generation.

Whether you consider yourself a fashionista or not, shopping is unavoidable.  I, personally do share a love of fashion, styling and trends–making my purchases high stakes for fashion brands who want me to not only buy but also promote their brands. Its a world of competition and free publicity with the everlasting rise of social media “influencers” who are providing brands instant spikes in sales by a single Instagram post. Yet, somehow, in the midst of all my shopping, searching and decision making, I never seem to buy from the same store twice.

I am definitely a fan of major retailers who seem to consistently provide an assortment of merchandise that I can identify as my “style.” But more times than most, I find myself ignoring those retailers and setting my sights on millions of searches to find something “different” and something that won’t bore me after I wear it once.

I like to call this phenomenon: “the next generation character crisis.” To put it simply, we millennials love to change who we are, what we want to be and how we live so often that we resemble gamers dressing up Sims characters.

This is not a bad thing but, arguably, it isn’t a good thing either. My mother would call this, “jumping from one thing to the next.” To me, one box just doesn’t seem like enough. So many brands are competing against each other that they focus on trends since they clearly identify for them things we say we want. Nevertheless, these “trends” come and go faster and faster as social media blows up our news feeds with millions of impressions from trend absorbers across the world.

Why can’t we seem to commit? We don’t understand the need to. We constantly love the idea of a new venture, a new personality and escaping anything that seems even slightly outdated or overpopulated. A LIM College survey was conducted titled “Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year-Olds.” The findings revealed that of the 275 LIM College students who participated in the survey, 45% said they are not loyal to a particular fashion brand and not much can be done to ensure their allegiance.

LIM College revealed that the top reasons participants said change brands is that they no longer fit their identity or that they simply wanted to try other brands. Other reasons for moving on from a brand were that the participants thought the brand was no longer unique.

According to the survey, we do have requests and suggestions on how fashion brands can keep our attention. Its all a matter of showing us:

  1. Development of innovative products and services
  2. A constant improvement of design and style to promote uniqueness
  3. An ongoing improvement on quality
  4. Engaging in philanthropic causes we believe in
  5. A limited distribution that maintains a brand’s exclusivity.

But like most twenty-somethings, my knowledge of fashion is a combination of that girl with the cute skirt walking down the street, scrolling down Instagram, pinning items on Pinterest and the occasional “I want to be her” moments on Tumblr. Take it a step further and you can see that we may even develop an urge to Google your store, find out where your clothes are being made and how your employees like their jobs. So when I walk into a store, it’s never truly just about what I see on the shelves; instead its the vision of myself and what I believe in floating around in my mind. If you’re lucky, that dress in your store might fit that image.

Being that I’m a trend watcher, I may visit Vogue to click through runway shows, stalk street-style photos of celebrities on Tumblr or ask strangers where they shop when walking down the streets of New York City. Most apparel brands try to get an edge on what’s going to be on trend before it actually happens by using trend forecasting companies, like Fashion Snoops, who take a look into the fashion world of the future.

So what’s a fashion brand or retailer supposed to do? Make me believe that I need your clothes just as badly as I need to be a green tea drinking, organic fabric-wearing public relations professional who lives on the Lower East Side. Basically, build a life around the clothes you sell: sell a lifestyle. Us millennials make this really easy since we all live in the same digital worlds. So with that, starting tweeting and snapping photos.

The conclusion is simple: We believe in change just as much as mother nature does and your brand may not appear in our closets more than… let’s say three times.

Cover picture taken by Pavan Bahl of @OSFashion at the Bushwick Collective; Brooklyn, NYC.  Artwork by: Unknown


Shanice Graves