Held at The Old Truman Brewery, London, Millennial 2020’s Europe Summit was a two-day event exploring the future trends in retail, marketing and commerce.
Millennial 2020 - Europe Summit Day 1
At a time when the pace of change is rapid, events such as this are a great opportunity to not only hear from experts within the industry but also look into the metaphorical crystal ball and think to the future.
What exciting developments lie ahead, we can’t be sure, but what we do know is that the consumer is king and retailers are bowing down to them.
Alex Wood, Europe Editor of Forbes (and founder of The Memo which published this article about Dressipi) described a current shift, “from an industrial age to an information age.” He emphasised that “digital brings a new way to tell stories”, and although speaking primarily about how we consume news today, I also feel this is applicable to how retailers are using data to tell stories to their customers, enhancing their brand and creating better experiences.
Some key highlights from Day 1 (you can check out Day 2 highlights here included:
1) Data and Creativity - The Perfect Combination
Pepijn Rijvers, CMO, Booking.com boasted a built-in-house bot that handles 30% of Booking.com’s customer enquiries in under 5 minutes. An impressive statistic, however, do we need to be careful of losing that human touch and authenticity? On Day 2 of this event Joe Rohrlich, General Manager of EMEA at Bazaarvoice said that as consumers we look for “authentic signals” and are nervous about “what is real and what isn’t real”.
In Pepijn’s opinion, this is where the combination of data and creativity come in. He firmly believes that these shouldn’t exist separately, but instead work together - firstly the process and technicalities should be data driven, then comes the creativity tool which adds colour and authenticity to your brand.
This certainly isn’t a new concept. In a recent interview about her fashion-led vision for Farfetch, Yasmin Sewell Vice President Of Style and Creative told Glossy’s Hilary Milnes, “Fashion authority doesn’t come from analyzing data.” Dressipi’s Style Director Natalie Theo explored this in a recent blog post on the importance of fashion intuition and how combining it with data creates a powerful personalisation solution.
2) Building an Authentic Brand is Key to Success
Speaking of brand authenticity, Jeyan Heper, CEO, Lifestyles, provided the audience with some interesting stats:
- 72% of consumers do not trust advertising
- 92% of consumers trust friends and family more than advertising
These are staggeringly high figures, but perhaps not unsurprising if you reflect on your own relationship to advertising.
To counter this mistrust, Jeyan stressed the importance of authenticity - it cannot be faked and it makes a difference when building a unique and engaged community for your brand. Katharina Sutch, Global Shopper Insights Director, LEGO, expanded on this idea of community which is extremely strong for LEGO whose ethos is to “Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow”. An example of this is a community of customers who upload videos of their creations to YouTube, encouraging others to explore different ways of playing with the product.
We cannot shy away from the role that data plays when marketing to customers. Trust can be difficult to achieve and is nurtured over time based on how customers see businesses treating their data. It is therefore extremely important to get your marketing intent right to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with your customers.
3) Millennials are the Experts
Gen X, Y, Z…Millennials. I personally can’t keep track of the letters and their corresponding ages, but businesses certainly need to. According to Lana Glazman, VP - Corporate Innovation EU, Estee Lauder, “we need to recognise millennials as the experts - they know more than we can possibly imagine.”
The youth of today are those who determine a retailers’ evolution. They call the shots when expressing how they wish to interact with a brand, which is why it is important to understand what truly connects with a millennial audience - what are the trigger points and what is the appetite for content? Their behaviour, however, might not always be what you expect…
Recent reports published by the likes of PWC (covered by Business Insider revealed that despite living in a digital age, young shoppers prefer to shop in-store - ‘81% of young Gen Z respondents said they preferred to shop in stores, while 40% said they will only shop in stores.’ This is supported nicely by Lana’s opinion that, “brands must create a true dialogue between the consumers and the brand but not just online - 90% of decisions are made online, but 70% of purchases are made offline.”
Dressipi’s co-founder Donna North explores this further in her latest blog post, “A New Phase of Retail - The Evolution of Bricks & Mortar Retailers”.
Retailers have to be agile. Rob Bloom, Group Digital Director, McLaren stated that no business is too big to be agile. They have to, “continue to reinvent - react, respond, change and adapt to what is going on out there.”
If they keep their finger on the pulse and use valuable data to not only leverage customer insights but nurture brand authenticity and creativity, then the best possible interactions with your brand can be created.
But don’t run the risk of being too intrusive when it comes to using data - as put perfectly by Henry Eccles, Head of eCommerce UK, Google, “there’s a big difference between creepy and concierge.”
We also can’t forget the added bonus of Dressipi’s ‘Ones to Watch Award’ nomination. Although we missed out on the title, we were thrilled to be in the running for Best Innovation Commerce-Enabler / Best Retail Solution!