Consumers — especially Millennials — want to buy and they want to buy now. Not only do they want one-click purchases and channel agnostic shopping experiences, they also want to spend on items that carry an eco-friendly narrative.

The right marketing and messaging would help here, but shoppers are savvy and smart, and can easily sniff out green-washing narratives. Moreover, Millennials crave authenticity in the products they buy. For many consumers, sustainably sourced and made products are critically important, according to market analysts.

Millennials are also easily distracted, which necessitates direct messaging of brand ethos — in 140 characters or less. “Most striking is the degree to which behavior changes according to shopping frequency; the more frequently Millennials shop online, the more they abandon their carts when distracted. Eighty percent of daily shoppers and 74 percent of weekly shoppers report doing this, compared to those who shop less frequently than this [42 to 64 percent],” said researchers in a Salesforce Commerce Cloud report, “Reaching Millennials: Attraction and Influence.”

To make social engagement even more challenging, Millennials also possess an inherit skepticism for traditional advertising and brand marketing, researchers have noted in numerous reports. For fashion apparel vendors, retailers and brands, all of this presents some serious hurdles to overcome.

The good news is that many vendors, brands and retailers are sourcing products made from recycled materials as well as natural fibers, which are being embraced by consumers. Consumers are also responding to higher-quality products, but companies need to tout these narratives — and have the credibility to stand behind any claims.

There are other issues that need to be addressed as well. In the apparel market, shoppers continue to seek out performance wear, which requires regulating moisture and temperature as well as possessing fabric flexibility.

Lastly, the consumers themselves show traits that can be easily leveraged by vendors, brands and retailers. For example, despite entering the workforce during a historic economic downturn, Millennials are willing to spend more on socially conscious products. Cone Communications’ 2015 Millennial CSR study said, “U.S. Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause — 91 percent compared to 85 percent U.S. average — and two-thirds social media to engage around social media — 66 percent versus 53 percent U.S. average.”

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