Chute Gerdeman Millennial Makeover? Top 5
Fall 2012 Issue
Q & A Innovation
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Millennial Makeover

In 2014, millennials will become the largest generation on the planet. Unlike the generations that came before them, millennials are truly a worldwide phenomenon. They’re more diverse than any previous cohort and have global reach, thanks to the Internet. Multi-cultural is the norm for this bunch.

They are confident, self-expressive and upbeat. Raised hearing “You can be anything you want to be,” and “You can do it!” from their baby boomer parents, they’re optimistic but not foolish. In fact, they’re very much realists. (You can thank gen X for that element of wisdom!)

Brands matter greatly to this group. They take time choosing their personal favorites, landing on brands that align with their attitudes, beliefs and even personal quirks. Luxury or commodity, they’re a fickle bunch but, believe me, you want to make the cut.

While millennials may not have the deepest pockets or strongest cash flow, they topple other generations in terms of influence. They have high expectations and are full of opinions. They say their piece and say it loudly; more importantly, others actually listen. For those looking to sell to them, it would be wise to consider what they have to say.

Retailers smartly have their eyes on this group, and you might too!

1. Create a destination
If you build it, they will come, right? Not exactly. Don’t treat your product like a commodity; give your customer a reason to visit.

2. Curate your assortment
An overwhelming selection turns off shoppers. Millennials respond well to carefully edited assortments and well-coordinated displays.

3. Communicate a story
Providing a point of relevance helps create an emotional connection to the brand and overall shopping experience.

4. Let them engage with the brand
Whether in-store or online, consumers are looking for ways to connect with the brands they love. Social media is your best friend. Provide a platform that allows their voice to be heard. Think of it as an opportunity to let them do your marketing for you.

5. Create a community connection
Millennials aren’t loners—friends, family and community are all greatly valued. Brands with similar values will be favored by this generation.

Here are six retailers we see making the mark with millennials…

1. PaperSource
This retailer not only sells the product to ignite the creative side of this cohort, but they provide the tools and space for them to DIY in store.

2. Lululemon
With strong ties to the local community, Lululemon provides product and an environment (in store or on the road) to support the connection of active, like-minded millennials.

3. Warby Parker
Eyewear brand Warby Parker aligns with millennial values by providing a hip, quality product at an affordable price, and donates to those in need with every purchase.

4. Piperlime
With a playful tone-of-voice, Piperlime speaks the millennial language and creates an editorial perspective to keep followers “in the know” of the hottest trends.

5. Homage
While this generation hasn’t been around as long as others, nostalgic cues create an emotional connection. Vintage sports apparel brand Homage plays up this aspect through quirky in-store displays that harken back to old-school style.

6. Cost Plus World Market
Because cookie cutter doesn’t make the cut with this consumer, we think World Market’s eclectic assortment and meandering store environment allows consumers to discover a one-of-a-kind find at a pleasing price point.
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