Farfetch on the impact of millennials as employees and as social media consumers

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Andrew Robb, COO at online fashion marketplace Farfetch took to the Millennial 20/20 Summit stage in London yesterday to talk about the role of the millennial audience on both workplace culture and social media trends.

Here are six recaps of key things he said:

  • On company culture: “Farfetch doesn’t have a tech culture, as such, but certainly a ‘newer’ company culture. We fit into the mould of being more open… What makes us unique is that we’re in this space of fashion and technology merging, which is very specific, but also the fact we’re global. We started global. We had two companies in London and Portugal, boutiques in five countries and we were selling worldwide. If you look at the staff we have, we’re young and very international. In our London office, we have at least 30 nationalities.”

  • On employee attitudes: “We used to hear people complaining about millennials from a workforce standpoint, but… I actually think what they’re asking for makes sense. Why would it not be a good idea to have access to the CEO? Or to have them listen to your ideas? In general this generation is very demanding, but if we listen to them it’s about the fact they want challenges, and we’re very open to giving them challenges. If you give them autonomy to do something, give them ownership of something, they learn whether they’re actually ready for it.”

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  • On Snapchat: “Millennials, on average, are using one extra social platform than older generations. Snapchat is the eighth most important for those over 35 years old, while for millennials it’s third [behind Instagram and Facebook]… Those younger say Snapchat is more important than Instagram. So we think it will increasingly become a really important channel for fashion consumers over time.”

  • On social commerce: “For a long time there’s been this idea in e-commerce that Facebook was going to become a dominant sales driver. It’s not. Social is an amazing brand engagement tool but it’s not been for driving sales. Instagram is going to change that. Millennials use Instagram for fashion inspiration and Facebook to connect with friends. It’s much easier to convert someone looking at fashion than it is chatting to friends. You’re just much closer to the customer need, at that time.”

  • On Instagram advertising: “What I’m also excited about with Instagram is the advertising. Their model will allow brands to spend very significant sums in positive ways to connect with that audience. It’s also very measurable and has much higher ROI because consumers are in the right frame of mind. The targeting is so strong, where on many other channels that is just not the case.”

  • On what’s up next: “Last year we opened six new websites and offices [including Japan, China and Russia]. We launched our ‘Store of the Future’ business, and Farfetch Black & White, which offers brands white labeled e-commerce solutions. And lastly we acquired iconic retailer Browns. The reason we wanted to do that was to really understand how consumers are interacting in this online and offline mix. We’re focusing on all these things heavily for the year ahead.”