Why this retailer is bypassing Millennials and Gen Zers for Gen X customers

New York

Most retailers strive to stay relevant by attracting young millennials and Gen Z shoppers. Not Lands End.

Lands’ End is bucking this trend by deliberately embracing the “forgotten generation”, Generation X, to grow its customer base.

They are the consumer generation sandwiched between baby boomers., Millennials born in the years after World War II and their children millennials were the earliest born in the 1980s.

“At the time, we had a strategy to engage millennials,” Land’s End CEO Jerome Griffiths said at the ICR conference last week. “It didn’t sit well with our customers.”

In a rush to grab the attention of young consumers, retailers stumbled and made fashion blunders. Sales plummeted as core older shoppers showed up next to stylish dresses and high-heeled party comfy clothes that moms and dads prefer next to her shoes.

“So we said, right behind the baby boomers, Generation X, we have this neat generation of customers. We’re going out looking for new consumers, so let’s go after them,” he said. .

Given that Gen Z and millennial consumers will grow from 60% of the population in 2021 to 70% of the population by 2028, and hold significant purchasing power, retailers will be more likely to buy into that population. It is not surprising that they are chasing customers.

“Both Gen Z and millennial cohorts are lucrative and interesting, but there is something about the retail and fashion industry that clings to them, and it often hurts older generations,” says retailer. said Neil Saunders, industry analyst and managing director of GlobalData.

“The truth is that more mature cohorts account for a lot of retail spending, and there’s always a big opportunity that’s not being properly addressed.

Lands’ End is a 60-year-old Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based brand that designs fleece jackets, coats, pullovers, t-shirts, chinos, pajamas and more for comfort over wear. Best known for its classic, durable casual wear. tendency. The company sells its products through mail order, online, stores, and third-party marketplaces such as his Amazon (AMZN) and Kohl’s (KSS).

But the company says it knows who its core customers are.

“She’s a baby boomer in her mid-50s who lives and works in the suburbs, is frugal, has a household income well over $100,000 a year, has or has children at home,” Griffiths said. rice field.

About six years ago, the database of core shoppers, who typically have been with brands for 18 years, was shrinking. “We were losing customers,” he said.

The company’s incoming CEO, Andrew McLean, said:

Griffiths said the company is trying to skew the younger generation. “What we want to do as a retailer is keep our customer base the same age or bring in younger people,” he said. Distorting young people didn’t work, he said.

However, age group demographics went in the opposite direction.

“When we look for new customers, we look closely at their buying habits and where they shop,” says Griffith. “That’s why we expanded into Amazon, Kohl’s and Target. These new customers are coming in through those markets.”

He found that 75% of new customers who find a brand on a third-party marketplace “have never shopped at Lands’ End or are lapsed customers who haven’t shopped at Lands’ End in five years. ‘ said.

“So you’re getting new customers who are actually the same customers, but 10 years younger. They’re Gen X,” he said, noting that Gen X shoppers are just like baby boomers. He added that he has shown long-term loyalty to

Sanders said Generation X is a perfect fit for Land’s End. There are plenty of items that are practical yet stylish and fit the lifestyle many of Gen X are currently leading. ”

“I would be more concerned if Land’s End said it intended to reinvent itself as a young brand rather than say it was focused on what should be its core market,” Sanders said. .

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