Fashion retailers targeting millennials operate in a competitive and challenging trading environment. Rails are filled with discounts and promotional codes, with choice of colour, size and style and spilling from every corner. Yet, there is still a lack of customer loyalty when it comes to fashion. Millenials will always have their favourite brands. But if you are offering no more than a funky style, what is stopping customers from buying the product elsewhere or looking for an alternative?
We uncovered the retention challenges brands are currently facing by surveying 100 UK millennials, investigating what it is that motivates them to stick with a fashion brand.
Millennials see fashion as an opportunity to express their individuality and personality. Understanding them in this way allows marketers to plan communications and loyalty schemes more appropriately, making the relationship a personal and unique one that fits into their lifestyle.
We discovered that millennials desire emotional added value. Offering this will lead to an increase in spend and brand loyalty. Did you know that 78% would rather spend money on an experience than a tangible good? Material objects are less of a desire to this generation and being given the chance to seek out shareable experiences makes them feel culturally richer and more satisfied. Experiences, when packaged as rewards, incentivise millennials to buy; they’ll choose a brand offering an emotional added value reward over a brand who isn't, every time.
Millennials tend to engage more with brands who transform their story-telling into story-doing. For instance, Dr Martens and music have complemented each other since Pete Townshend became the first high profile individual to wear them in the 1960s. In doing so, he changed the course of the brand’s identity from functional work-wear to a subcultural essential. In the 1990s the brand became synonymous with festival culture, so in 2015, Dr Martens brought the music to customers ears by giving £30 towards a gig ticket already purchased, or due to be purchased in the future. Follow this example by offering schemes that say something about your brand.
Millennials ‘get’ loyalty schemes. All 100 respondents could name at least three brand loyalty schemes they are part of. However, there wasn’t one fashion brand listed in the top five… In fact, not even in the top ten. ASOS had the most recognised scheme, but only six people mentioned them. They were followed by Boux Avenue (two), Miss Selfridge (one) and House of Fraser (one).
Boots topped the leader board with over half of respondents owning an Advantage Card. Nectar, Superdrug, Nando's and Tesco are also among those most favoured.
What makes a loyalty scheme desirable?
Here are the five reasons respondents gave to joining Boots' loyalty scheme:
- Easy to collect points over time and save up for big spending occasions like Christmas
- Already shop there frequently
- Rewards with actual benefits
- Discounts make it easier to save money
This research tells us that the loyalty market is waiting for a fashion brand to lead the way with an integrated loyalty scheme combining creativity, technology and world leading rewards for a true exchange in value. To do this, brands must listen to what their customers want. In our survey, free meals and travel rewards lead the way in terms of what millennials want in exchange for spend. Next in line were spa days, wellness treatments and days out. We also asked what else they’d be interested in as a reward to spend more in store or online. Below are a few of the responses:
- Early access to event tickets
- VIP glamping experiences
- Loyal customers exclusive shopping night
- Faster/free shipping
- Gym/fitness classes
- Magazine subscription
- Free travel (TFL points)
- Free beauty products or samples
Creating genuine loyalty
74% of millennials enjoy the shared experience of events and 75% attend at least one music festival per year. ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) is undeniable among this demographic, with every event being documented and published. So, to gain true loyalty, brands should consider rewarding this type of behaviour and increase the number of soft benefits in a scheme. By rewarding customers for actions other than transactional spend you start to build true engagement with a return of genuine loyalty, rather than a card that gets carried around in a bag and forgotten.
Danielle Gamage is at PR and marketing executive at TLC Marketing.