FOMO. This is one abbreviation that sums up the millennial mentality.
They have an intense Fear of Missing Out in life – be it in terms of experience, career, education or wealth. Born between 1980-2000, these digital natives are perpetually online. They are armed with endless knowledge on current affairs, the newest innovations and even the minutest details of their peers’ private lives, thanks to social media and their ability to virtually share and comment on the latest trends.
This unique combination of FOMO and thirst for knowledge is the reason why they’ve become the most difficult fashion consumers. With them wanting nothing but the best when it comes to design, quality, price, packaging and customer experience (both pre- and post-sales), fashion companies are finding it increasingly hard to impress them with their products. Thanks to social media, they have to be quick on their feet as well. Trends come and go and these millennials expect them to jump on them as soon as possible.
How then, should we calm their FOMO? What should fashion companies do to adapt their entire design-to-production processes to the sartorial needs of millennial consumers?
Personalize, Don't Generalize
We can start by understanding how they think, act and consume. Instead of categorizing or generalizing them, we should treat them as individuals. The last thing they want is to be offered products that are designed for the masses. For them, that’s just condescending. They do not expect the entire product to be customized according to their tastes, but would like to add a personal touch, for example, initials on an accessory like J.Crew’s Signet bag , or choosing pink colored leather for a pair of Adidas Stan Smith shoes instead of the usual white.
Tailor the Customer Experience
They also expect a tailored customer experience. The one thing about millennials is that they tend to get emotionally attached to the brand once they’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the product, the pre- and post-sales shopping experience. Online-only retailer ASOS is already doing so by providing users with a virtual fitting room – where they can compare measurements of items that they are planning to buy with an article of clothing they already own.
Given the amount of information they have at hand, the world of fashion seems vast and wide to them. As a reaction to this, they tend to narrow down their choices as quickly as possible. So make sure to cater to their specific needs (especially at the first customer touchpoint) and be as accessible as possible to them. By converting them into your strongest advocates and generating virtual word-of-mouth, half the battle is won.
Generate Good Virtual Word of Mouth
We have entered the era of social media and these Gen Y’ers are review fiends. Before committing to making the actual purchase, they will go from one online forum or website to another, trying to gather feedback from people who have already used the product. Therefore, the product has to speak for itself, with the best quality at the lowest price point possible. One negative review can spell disaster for fashion companies, so make sure your product delivers its promises from online-to-offline, or is legit, as they say.
Increase Style Variety by using Data
On the production side, fashion companies need to respond to their consumers’ FOMO by being more flexible in their processes. They have to be able to manage multiple product lines, including their permanent collections, so that they can offer smaller-volume personalized series. They need to find a way to tap into their mind by having data on their buying behavior and offer the right collections to the right crowd, at the right price points.
Millennials are a difficult and challenging bunch of consumers. However, they are also interesting, as they are unwilling to lose their sense of individuality, identity and creativity to market forces.