If there is one thing that has remained constant about the world of business it is the fact that it changes. The factor of change becomes amplified when it comes to the world of fashion. Trends can rise and fall with the unpredictability and speed of a viral video on YouTube. One moment a trend or a designer is all the rage and the next moment commentators in the fashion industry and fashion enthusiasts alike might not remember the trend or designer in question. The same can also be said of consumers’ tastes as the influence and buying power of one generation of consumers eases back to make way for the primacy of another group of consumers who are commonly known as millennials.
There are many articles bemoaning how the distinct shopping habits of millennials are presenting a challenge for the retail industry that seems to be applying marketing and branding techniques that worked for baby boomers to a generation that is quite different from their forebears. The fabric softener industry and even the jewelry industry have bemoaned the fact that millennials do not appear to be as interested in (or likely as able to afford) the products that they sell. That said not every brand is struggling to connect with millennials. Some brands are actually doing quite well with this demographic. The principle of change necessitates that the retail industry change its business practices to suit the needs and tastes of a new demographic of shoppers rather than simply expecting those consumers to conform to their expectations. One of the ways that many retailers have yet to change is by failing to incorporate the ethos of social media into the way that they run their company and by understanding that branding is more important in a constantly changing marketplace than it has ever been.
Younger customers are interested in connecting with a retailer that creates an experience for them rather than a retailer that is simply trading on the exclusivity and the cultural capital of owning its products. Younger consumers want to feel good about the items that they purchase and are more interested in spending their money on experiences rather than spending money on a luxury item. That said athleisure brands such as Kate Hudson’s company Fabletics have been great at selling a lifestyle that centers health, self confidence and female empowerment to a customer base that is interested in purchasing clothing that can be worn in a variety of situations such as a day at the office or during a hot yoga session. According to Forbes, Kate Hudson’s company Fabletics has been very intentional about paying to the feedback that it receives from customers online through forums that allow customers to leave feedback on its products and services. While the idea of customers being able to say anything that they want about a brand online is likely very intimidating for many businesses Fabletics has chosen to embrace this. They do this by actually listening to the feedback that customers have left for them and treating them as a valuable source of information that they can use to improve their company. Fabletics also enables its customers to take a lifestyle quiz that will allow them to be matched with the merchandise that will be most useful to them.