21 August 2017: This summer, retailers along Oxford Street, the UK’s favourite High Street, are shifting their focus from millennials, to Generation Z. The move is part of a wider ambition for the prestigious street to become the most Gen-Z-friendly shopping district in the UK, and hopes to harness the growing spending power of the newest and youngest group of consumers – those born between 1994 and 2002.
Selfridges, John Lewis, Accessorize and Lush are just some of the top retailers along the street who are responding to pre-held expectations held by this group of consumers, and are now setting the national tone by rolling out inspiring, engaging instore activations. Stores are now going further than offering financial incentives and excellent customer service – high on the priority list now sits one-of-a-kind instore events, exclusive product launches, and world-first digital innovations, all of which aim to amplify the existing offer available for shop visitors.
Luciana Magliocco, Head of Consumer Marketing at New West End Company commented:
“Oxford Street has a global reputation as being the UK’s trend-setting district, having pushed boundaries in fashion and beauty for decades. This is an area that is no different for us – it’s so important that we’re embracing and leading the way in enhanced shopping experiences, which we know is becoming a core draw for all of us.
Magliocco added: “We’re thrilled to see so many stores on the street engaging with and adapting to this new way of shopping. Oxford Street’s aim is to capture the attention of and to build a solid relationship with Generation Z.”
Selfridges’ newest campaign for example, Music Matters presents the Ultralounge, will definitely appeal to this group. Running until 8 October, shoppers are given the opportunity to see renowned artists and the most exciting upcoming talents perform in an intimate, one-of-a-kind instore environment. The line-up includes a range of established and Gen-Z-friendly names such as Not3s, Charlie Cunningham, Unkle, and Raye, while emerging talent includes the likes of Tom Walker, Croox, MAAD and the Nova Twins. Selfridges is also making this campaign social media-friendly by allowing people who can’t make it down to the Ultralounge to stream upcoming gigs live on the Selfridges Facebook page.
Anne Pitcher, Managing Director of Selfridges & Co commented:
“We’ve been creating extraordinary customer experiences since 1909 and have recognised that customers enjoy interacting with us beyond the act of shopping. Whether we are celebrating the power of live music or devising campaigns to support our sustainable principles, we always strive to stay current and engaged with all our customers.”
While Selfridges’ new campaign aims to target music-lovers, John Lewis is focusing its attention on the creatives and fashion-focused. Throughout August, the department store is offering weekday workshops to teach you how to make your own espadrilles at The Makery. There are three slots on offer – all during the day, and all perfect to keep this group of consumers busy over the summer.
Lush isn’t far behind – this month, the brand introduced a new playfully creative summer range of Jelly Bombs, Jelly Face Masks, Bath Bombs and Hot Oil Treatments, which has been developed with the Gen-Z market in mind. The range, which promises extraordinary colours, textures and shapes to surprise and awe-inspire in the bath tub, will be available to buy exclusively from its Oxford Street store, where lively demonstrations are also guaranteed to attract.
While Oxford Street is leading the way, experiences geared towards Gen-Z are now transferring nearby, particularly with the launch of Bird Street this summer, the world’s first sustainable ‘Smart Street’. Retailers such as The Dandy Lab – a part concept store and part technology innovation pod – are now also offering shoppers digitally-enhanced instore experiences. Expect selfie mirrors, mobile payment apps, social currency and technologies. More of its kind is expected this summer and beyond on Oxford Street, so watch this space.