Solutions for change
Retailers must prioritize celebrating gender expression through clothing and empowering all communities to shop without the fear of being judged. Our design solution is a direct response to the results produced by our research.
Ethnographic research takeaways
- There is a clear demand for diverse and inclusive advertisements.
- Clothing retailers should organize their stores by item, fit, and size.
- Brands and their employees should receive education on non-binary issues and needs.
- Respondents showed mixed feelings about their shopping experiences, primarily anxiety, worry, frustration, and fear.
- Almost all who chose to participate were members of Generations Y (also known as millennials) and Z.
- Non-binary people are aware that profits drive business decisions. Even with this perception in mind, retailers can gain loyalty as long as they exhibit transparency and attention to the needs of non-binary people.
CAN THE DIGITAL WORLD LEAD THE WAY?
In 2021, fashion giant Ralph Lauren partnered with the viral gaming platform Roblox to introduce their brand ideals to a new demographic. They now offer an assortment of in-game attire to users, including an entire collection of gender-neutral clothing. Similarly, in the same year, Gucci launched a campaign on Roblox (and sold a virtual bag for $4,000). Following this, the British Fashion Council added a Metaverse category to its annual awards ceremony.
A personal favorite of ours was in 2020, when the creative media agency 'We Are Social'
utilized Nintendo’s hit game Animal Crossing
to create a digital Pride Parade
amongst players. The
#GlobalPrideCrossing, generated 25 million impressions within 2 weeks. It was, designers said, "a social activation free from the barriers of the outside world and a place where self expression is integrated by design” (https://wearesocial.com/us/case-study/global-pride-crossing/).
Consumer Behavior Drivers in Retail
Experiences: seeking and discovering stimulation.
Identity: understanding and expressing oneself and one's place in society.
Rights: feeling respected, protected and supported.
Surroundings: feeling connected to the external environment.
Technology: finding solutions through technology in the physical and digital worlds.
Value: finding tangible, measurable benefits from investment.
Wellbeing: seeking physical and mental wellness.
Consumer Values Mintel 2021
- The pandemic has created a shift in the way customers interact with businesses and their social lives. This is an opportunity to expand on consumer type and cater those that are used to online services and interactions (Gen Z and Millenials).
- Digital communication and services is not going away. 5G is expanding and experiences are one click away. Amazon recently announced the launch of a new AWS Private 5G managed service. Shopping on our phones is safer for everyone, regardless of demographics, because of the pandemic. It's a safe place for all.
- Digital events, social media and communication now play a much bigger role in the social lives of many.
"Retailers should create a virtual reality shopping assimilation as a way to integrate an inclusive experience for all by leveraging technology to meet consumers behaviors"
By convincing retailers to nurture safe spaces for shoppers where they can personalize their experiences and enjoy shopping for clothes both digitally and physically.
What does this look like? Let's use Everlane as an example.
Disclaimer: Our organization has no relationship with Everlane. These are proposals used to help you conceptualize our ideas, which will be easier with an example of an existent retailer.
Social media campaign prototypes
Organized by t-shirts and using diverse models
Value Proposition for Retailers
- Increase brand engagement through social media (earned media).
- Connect in store and online experiences.
- Create new outfit combinations efficiently.
- Collect data by analyzing tags using machine learning. With this information retailers could anticipate their next collection by using a human-centric design approach.
- Less returns, wasted inventory and carbon footprint
- It's a solution to the constraints of non-binary customers.
Second, we need to keep up with the fashion world and join Roblox. As Akash Nigam, CEO of Genie explains:
"Even if you're 13 years old and you can't afford Gucci yet, you're still able to interact with the brand and adorn you avatar from head to toe using the digital assets. This allows the user to build brand familiarity with Gucci from a very early age"
Finding a real solution that works needs to feel organic. Both sides have to feel the value add, in this case both retailers and customers. Retailers need to learn how to adjust their brand to reflect this generation's values, feelings and drivers. It's important to note that the transition would be more convincing and easier if the retailer is already a values-based, ethical company.