UNiDays head of wellbeing Alex Smith, speaking on the ‘Young minds: Future of Loyalty’ panel at LIVE 2024, has said that the most successful brands are the ones leaning into the needs of young people.

Retail Week Live Wednesday-Young Minds

Source: Gomes Photography

Speaking about the changing concept of loyalty in retail, Smith said UNiDays’ most recent research shows that price is the main reason shoppers make a purchase – and repeat purchase – from a particular brand.

“The overwhelmingly most popular answer was price, which feels obvious but it makes sense,” he said. “When you look at young people, the biggest thing is just having enough money to live. The biggest factor contributing to their wellbeing more recently was the cost-of-living crisis.

“The most successful brands we work with are the ones that really lean into young people and really understand they need help and get them on board as early as they can.”

Sloobie Skiwear chief executive Renee Fraser-Shepherd added that as the industry becomes increasingly competitive, posting on Instagram “just isn’t enough anymore”.

“When we look at our own socials and marketing, we really want to be transparent with our audience, especially when you’re new and you want to connect with your audience as much as possible.”

High protein cereal start-up ELEAT co-founder Hugh Hamilton-Green emphasised the importance of authentic social media content in today’s world.

He said: “For us, it’s been showing people behind the brand and leaning into that as much as possible. Some of our best-performing content is when the face of the brand is involved, both in terms of interaction and for the purpose of our content.

“People want to see more from brands and see what’s going on behind the scenes, so BTS content is increasingly growing.”

With an eye to sustainability, Hamilton-Green said aligning sustainability and health and wellness credentials with both the product and brand is vital.

“Ultimately, the product and brand need to align together, so something we’ve found when it comes to loyalty is that the product needs to perform and add value, alongside the additional areas of the brand.

“People are looking for certain tick boxes to see that a brand is doing the right thing in the right areas. There is so much choice, there are so many brands out there, which means consumers have a lot of opportunity to choose the ones that add the most value.”

Fraser-Shepherd added: “I think it is encouraging that people are asking questions and we are going in such a constant direction that it (sustainability) should just be a standard, rather than a bonus.

“It’s our role to fulfil that on our side and make sure that our factories are ethical and that our products are the most ethically focused that they can be.”