Read Fashion Data Science Tea Leaves – WWD

What does a brand need to do to inspire loyalty among Millennials and Gen Z?

At PreciseTarget, we’ve used machine learning technologies to review over 5 billion purchase transactions spanning over 2,300 fashion brands. The analysis makes it clear that young consumers are a brand-changing group, although this attribute is often misunderstood by marketers.

These two generations – together, the Gen Zennials – are the product of uninterrupted social feeds, algorithmically designed to broadcast something new, different, and often shocking every time they pick up their phones. Social media has created a class of novelty seekers who are always waiting for new and different. They don’t hate you, they hate that you are not new.

Before you think of them as unique customers, you should know that they have remarkable loyalty. They are true to their personal tastes. They may have seven different brands of jeans in their wardrobe, but each pair will be remarkably similar to the others.

Our analysis focused on the 20 to 30 product characteristics – such as price, size, color, fabric, style – that make a product unique. He showed that young consumers rarely deviate from the white lines of their established tastes. When we looked longitudinally, it also showed that consumer tastes are remarkably stable over time. Over a three-year period, we have seen virtually no change in tastes at the individual level.

We’re data scientists, which meant our taste fidelity hypothesis had to be tested. We selected three categories where we observed particularly negative brand redemption rates: outerwear, footwear, and sportswear. Our pre-test analysis showed that consumers were likely to choose a different brand the next time they make a purchase in the category. We worked with a large retailer for the test, which involved machine learning a new set of 1 million transactions.

What did we see? Their young buyers were indeed brand changers but remained very faithful to their tastes. What loyalty? Eighty-six percent stayed in their taste lane in outerwear, 96 percent in footwear and 91 percent in athletic wear.

Bottom Line: Young fashion consumers are remarkably consistent in displaying two behaviors: they deliberately switch brands, and they are incredibly consistent in selecting new brands that resemble their previous brand. Incidentally, we’re also learning that taste-based targeting delivers the best ad performance.

In addition to the rebranding, we were forced to study the behavior of the buyers of tomorrow. Behavioral research has found that young clients want to get involved, but on their terms.

Rob McGovern of PreciseTarget.

Gen Z prefer in-store shopping, although they want it helped by their cell phone, not a salesperson. Complaining about the anonymous “showrooming” of store visitors is so yesterday.

They are also the influenced generation. Adweek reports that 70% of them follow influencers online and 52% trust influencers even when they know the influencer is paid by the brand. Maybe your future chat bot will be driven by a paid influencer. If you go this route, make sure your influencer is well aware of whether your brand uses sustainable materials, follows fair working practices, and has real people and bodies in your ads. Your new customer is loyal to taste, mobile dependent and socially responsible.

What does this mean for brands? The music industry has lived through the purchased music apocalypse, and despite predictions of demise, people are listening to more music than ever before. They just do it differently. They use AI-based apps like Spotify, which uses machine learning to understand a consumer’s musical tastes. It’s the AI ​​broadcast on the headphones.

Retail will go through a wave of similar transformation. Your new customers will also wear clothes and shoes, but they will buy them differently. Your marketing systems won’t segment them using demographics, but instead you will segment customers based on their machine-learned tastes.

Influencers will become an important source of signal data, supplanting the role of yesterday’s fashion show. And your future AI-powered ecommerce site will look and be personalized to AI like Spotify. Younger consumers will appreciate a more intimate digital relationship with you.

Rob McGovern is CEO and Founder of PreciseTarget, a retail data science company that helps brands and retailers connect with their most profitable customers.

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