How retailers are shifting to target Millennials


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Australian heritage brands such as Country Road and Myer may not consider themselves fast-fashion companies but they are adopting tactics from their cheaper rivals to help them better reach the avocado toast generation.

Retailers have woken up to the fact that Millennials, or Generation Y, shop and consume differently to their Generation X and Baby Boomer parents.

Millennials are making more discretionary money available by putting off big decisions such as having a family, getting married and buying a house, consumer psychologist Damian Cotchett​ said. 

“Millennials are confident people but where they differ to Gen X is, ‘I want it now, and I expect it.’ If they don’t [get it], they will shout out.”

They were happy to talk about their positive and negative experiences, he said.

It’s a view backed by research published in June by Macquarie Bank that found Millennials “look at reviews on the move, provide regular feedback online, price compare and make informed and researched purchasing decisions”.

Mr Cotchett said the battle for brands is to capture Millennials’ fragmented, fickle attention for longer than their competitors to forge a connection. 

“For Millennials, it is all about ‘that brand gets me’. As long as you can start there you’ve got a chance. Give them a narrative to talk to their friends about it. But it’s in quite subtle ways,” he said.

After acknowledging a missing link with 20 to 35-year-olds, Country Road has created a 15-piece, limited-edition collection that goes on sale this Thursday

Managing director Darren Todd said the collection, which hits Country Road’s 12 top stores from Thursday, is “a little more directional” than where the brand had positioned itself in the past.

He said the Millennial customer was showing “real discernment in terms of fabrication … [and] not wanting to buy something and see 50 other women wearing the same.

“We’ve got to ensure we are relevant to 25-year-olds and 22-year-olds as much as 40-year-olds.”

Mr Todd said younger customers shopped in a “buy now, wear now” manner rather than picking out key pieces at the start of the season.

“We have seen a complete turnaround in how the customer thinks. I would not see ourselves as a fast-fashion brand, because it’s difficult to be high ethical, high quality, but we are not slow. We are faster than we have ever been,” he said.

To further differentiate the CR.Capsule range from the main collection, Country Road hired blogger and social media influencer Amanda Shadforth​, of Oracle Fox, to shoot the campaign, which stars Australian model Roberta Pecoraro​.

“We got [Shadforth] to look at the brand through the eyes of someone who is very influential … to see the brand in a different light,” Mr Todd said.

Myer head of merchandise Karen Brewster said the department store had signed several new brands, including Forever New and Roxy, aimed at winning younger customers.

“Youth are our future customers; they are a big cohort. We have a huge Millennial [customer base] but also Generation Z coming through. It’s important to capture that consumer and the mum who is still buying the kids children’s wear,” she said. “We want to retain the children as they leave the mum’s purse strings and spend their own money.”

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