millennial shopper

With the goal of “inspiring others to create experiences that bring a sense of joy and fulfillment to the customer relationship,” Klaviyo and Future of Commerce’s new report, named “Nine by Nine” analyzed data from 287 brands to find 81 companies who have successfully leveraged online channels to create deeper customer relationships and proven resilient even during a time of crisis. The report examines what makes a brand “meaningful” with a rating system that looks at the “efficiency of a brand’s ability to change the world” and helps to spot emerging brands who are working to build a better future.

To answer the question of what makes a brand meaningful and provide insight into why certain brands are excelling, the report breaks down 81 brands into nine categories including community-driven, new luxury, 100 club, prime challengers, audience first, purpose-driven, C.A.R.L.Y. (can’t afford real life yet), late-stage retail, local heroes. This year has been undoubtedly hard for retail and the companies note multiple companies’ closures and bankruptcies even before COVID-19 created disruptions.

With that in mind, the companies say it is more important now than ever to learn from the brands who have succeeded through consumer relationships.

“Purpose-driven brands are so important because American purchasing behavior is trending toward alignment with a worldview,” said the report. Recent reports by WWD have found similar conclusions, where more mindful consumers expect more from brands they choose to spend with. Still, the report notes that commerce has a way of “bringing us together” despite any differences, finding that when consumers engage with brands that share ideals it can represent a vote for a future that looks like the world they want to see.

“While customers will face unknown hardships in the years to come,” said the report, “they will willingly part with their hard-earned money for products, goods, and services if brands market themselves and connect with customers in the right way.”

Another of the report’s nine categories, C.A.R.L.Y., which stands for “can’t afford real life yet,” speaks to the Gen Z consumer who grew up in a socially connected world and is not yet spending money they have earned themselves. This demographic is described as one who believes they have the power to change a fundamentally flawed world. Aligning with brands that celebrate diversity and embrace consumer’s personal experiences is especially important to Gen Z. Important to note is that not all members of Gen Z are in the C.A.R.L.Y. demographic.

The top five brands named in the C.A.R.L.Y. category are Kith, MSCHF, ThredUp, Parade Underwear and Starface.

Another category, Prime Challengers, looks at brands that have embraced “values and equity” in the face of Amazon Prime’s transformation of the way Americans shop online. Target topped this list with its own last-mile challenger, which is comparable to Amazon Prime’s last-mile delivery. The report notes that Target has also provided a just-in-time workforce based on Uber’s bring your own car model which is a huge contrast to Amazon’s employment model. Other companies on the Prime Challenger list are Facebook/ Instagram, Shopify, Arfa, Hint, Instacart, Native/ P&G, Shoprunner and Public Goods.

For More WWD Business News: 

Reports Predict Consumer Behavior in a Post-COVID-19 World

Coresight Research Report: Consumers Have Turned Against ‘Made in China’

You Can’t Fool Generation Z