How Fashion Retail Brands Are Fighting to Stay on Top

It’s hard out there for a retailer. As competition mounts and brick-and-mortar struggles, here’s how fashion brands big and small are fighting to stay relevant…

Amazon is, unsurprisingly, often blamed for the struggles of other retail brands, as the mammoth site continues to move aggressively into the fashion space. In fact, Millennials are reportedly buying more clothing from Amazon than any other online retailer. According to Slice Intelligence research, almost 17% of all online clothing sales by 18-34-year-olds in 2016 was through Amazon—double the amount of the second most shopped online retailer, Nordstrom. Amazon has been steadily investing more in fashion and fashion retail offerings. Its efforts, combined with a seamless shopping experience and an immense variety of product, are paying off—they even made the top ten on Ypulse’s ranking of 13-34-year-olds’ favorite places to buy clothing. (And that was before they announced their upcoming Amazon Prime Wardrobe, which everyone is comparing to players like Stitch Fix.)

But long-standing fashion brands have more than just Amazon to contend with. Brick-and-mortar has been struggling for years, thanks to less-than-exciting or convenient in-store experiences, spending shifting into experiences, and a more frugal generation. Young consumers, raised in the recession, have been trained to expect sales and to be discount shoppers. Take Nordstrom: the brand is losing favor with Millennials as they skip luxury department stores for off-price options, a recent brand equity poll shows. Nordstrom’s dipping sales back up the poll, showing a 2.8% drop at their full-price locations countered only by Nordstrom Rack’s (their discount chain) 2.4% swell. Across industries, retailers are seeing the same trend, with overall sales sliding and…

 
 

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Quote of the Day: “Being famous is overrated. I would be more happy [sic] being locally known for the good I do in the world in a popular way but not for the wrong reasons.”—Female, 16, UT

Minecraft is being used to get kids interested in reading actual, real books. Litcraft recreates the world of a book as an interactive Minecraft map, adding “educational tasks” throughout. Treasure Island was the first completed world, followed by Kensuke's Kingdom, while The Lord of the Flies and Dante’s Inferno are in the works. Trials at U.K. schools are being met with “an enthusiastic response,” so Litcraft is eyeing a larger rollout. (The Guardian)

Nordstrom is stocking up on Instafamous brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation. The company announced that “strategic” brands account for about 40% of their current revenue and that’s expected to rise. While they benefit from indie brands’ popularity with young consumers, the direct-to-consumer brands are getting an expanded physical footprint, too. In the case of Reformation, Nordstrom explains that they “can bring sustainable fashion to a new (and much bigger) group of customers and closets.” (Business Insider)

A baseball team struck out with their “Millennial Night” promotion, putting Twitter in an uproar. We’ve warned brands that making fun of Millennials is not the way to get earn their spending power, and minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits learned the lesson first-hand. Their “Millennial Night” offered participation ribbons, selfie stations, napping areas, and “lots of avocados,” while playing into stereotypes about Millennials being lazy. A Biscuits exec explains that “Something got lost in the sarcasm,” but instead of offering an apology, they doubled down with another cutting tweet. (AdweekInc.)

Nearly half of Millennials think that “their credit scores are holding them back.” OppLoans found that 27% of 18-34-year-olds haven’t been approved for a new car because of their credit while 25% have been declined for an apartment or house. Debt, a top financial concern for Millennials, is partly to blame: 15% said that their debt “is unmanageable.” Education could help dig them out of the hole, as 24% feel they’ve never learned how to build good credit. (Moneyish)

Baby Einstein is growing up for Millennial parents with a new mission and campaign. Their “Ignite a Curious Mind” effort goes after parents, not kids, with short spots that encourage curiosity. They’re also working on new toys, moving beyond their “sweet spot” of zero to 12 months for toddlers. Baby Einstein’s parent company, Kids II is also planning on reworking other brands, like Bright Starts and Ingenuity. (Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[American Eagle Outfitters’] clothes are generally what I wear and are my style. They're comfortable and affordable. They do not do a great deal of vanity sizing and offer something for guys and girls of every size.”—Female, 23, GA

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