Day 2 Insights: Millennial 20 20 Event, London

My personal focus on Day 2 of the Millennial 20 20 event was to understand more about the future of retail and innovation.

Below are some of the key insights from the day as well as some examples of inspirational brands that are great examples of where the future of retail is going.

Future Retail

‘People first, profit second’ – Andrew Murphy, Group CIO, John Lewis – technology needs to have sustainable value.

Companies are struggling with challenges that aren’t customer facing such as Modern Slavery Act which demands more transparency along the manufacturing process as well as BlockChain technology which is disruptive to the supply chain.

‘Technology is business, business is technology’ – Julian Burnnett, CEO & Exec Director, House of Fraser

Retailers need to stay ahead. Taking a bigger view on what technology means to staff as well as customers.

Brands that get the most ROI will be the ones that imbed technology deeply into their core values. If technology allows to make the consumers life easier and better, then the technology will always be successful.

Millennials want to be like their icons, strategies should incorporate this into Marketing Plans.

Example: Harrods brings Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s make up Artist to London for a masterclass.

If brand understand their customers and what makes a difference to their life, brands will survive.

Brands need to be more transparent and going forward will need to put more emphasis on improving their environmental footprint. It is important products have sustainability and many brands are looking at how they can be more sustainable.

Retail is going to be revolutionised in the next 5 years and brands needs to be ready for this by aksing themselves:

–      What is your purpose

–      What are you trying to do

–      How can you make products attractive to the new generations who have higher expectations.

Brands need to change their way of thinking!

Marketing & Retail Innovation

‘It’s not an age, it’s a mind-set’ – Ric Flo, Rap Therapist & Millennial

Millennials Vs Gen Z Vs Boomers

Uniqlo was a brand commended for: Collaborating with creatives & offering good quality products.

ASOS is a great example of amazing customer experience.

All three generations said they prefer to go into store to feel the quality of the product. Buying in store allows for human interaction which was important for the buying experience.

Brands need to be authentic and relate more to the community, being forward thinking and using fresh, unique and creative ideas to win consumers attention.

Quality is still of upmost importance. A brand criticised was Zara: Prices have increased but quality has not.

What is the future for independent brands?

The general opinion was that smaller independents seem to be able to relate to the person better and can connect better with the consumer.  Bigger brands are now seeing the advantage of collaborating with small young independent brands. I.e. H & M

Cited: Nike advert – Relatable and current


Gymshark – Stay close to the community & Pop ups

Brands are shifting from traditional retail stores and are now using showrooming, multirooms and pop ups to display products.

More brands are using the pop up concept. Gymshark have built a strong social community and give back to this community. They stay close to the fan base by using the pop up concept. They know their customer (16-25 Year Olds) and focus on this customer base. They have adopted an influencer marketing model, these icons are used brand ambassadors.

TOMS – Giving back & Influencer Collaborations.

TOMS is dedicated to giving and is very vocal about it using a 1 for 1 giving model where they provide shoes, sight, water and safer birth services to people in need, not only does this show the brand is doing their thing for the community but it also allows the consumer to feel involved in the giving process, an added incentive to buying a TOMS product.

Secondly, they understand the importance of influencer collaborations. In 2017, they collaborated with popular Street Artist and Instagram star James Goldcrown who is behind the ‘Love Wall’ Murals in LA & NY. Choosing to collaborate with someone with similar values is not only respectable but also shows forward thinking.


To summarise

Ideas leading consumer behaviour: Is the brand Sustainable. Is the brand leaving an environmental footprint. Can the consumer trust the brand. Is the brand giving back to the community.

From a brand perspective: Data should be used to lead marketing and decision making and for innovation. The effects of Crypto Currency should be considered in the future. Is the brand giving off an authentic message. Be conscious and give back. Personalisation is still very much in demand. Stay ahead with technology. Chatbots are as a viable solution to traditional messaging systems. Plan your next 5 years now or get left behind.

Final Note: Be clever with UGC, Millennials are more interested in influencers they can relate to.

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