A study by First Insight and the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania revealed that more than half of its Gen Z respondents believe “sustainability” means sustainable manufacturing, not merely eco-friendly materials as older generations define the word.
A differentiated merchandise assortment is one of the top ways retailers can remain competitive in an economic downturn. Retailers that offer unique, exclusive or sustainable products become differentiated shopping destinations unto themselves.
However, as consumers demand more authentic, responsibly made products that either improve communities or better the planet, retailers need to expand their wholesale sourcing reach to include small batch producers which offer the distinct wares that consumers are demanding. Working with the creative manufacturing and handmade sector requires a mindset shift for mid to large retail enterprises. Moreover, they need a willingness to adopt legacy corporate compliance policies — traditionally designed for assembly line factories — in order to accommodate informal and distributed workforces. We're witnessing this sea change now and the retailers and brands that are making this investment are improving customer acquisition, engagement and loyalty.
A key to attracting new, younger consumers — and keeping them engaged — is by supporting the values they align with. Younger consumers, specifically millennials and Gen Z, are using their increasingly vast purchasing power to patronize brands with social impact. Supporting small batch manufacturing over mass production is one way that these demographic groups participate in more conscious consumerism.
at Total Retail.