Our parents and grandparents lived in a world where you got married, bought a house, had kids, and transitioned through life stages in a particular order. Today, we are waiting until later in life to get married and have kids. We are no longer concerned about the accumulation of material possessions; rather, we crave memorable experiences. Social Media is largely responsible for this societal shift from ownership to experience. You can share photos on Instagram from last night’s concert or Tweet about that new restaurant before everyone else. The Experience Economy focuses on collaborative consumption; that access to travel, material possessions or other indicators of status are more important to millennials than actual ownership of goods.
Jenn Hyman, co-founder of Rent the Runway, had the foresight to see this societal shift unfolding. Rent the Runway, an organization offering the rental of luxury dresses, is selling the experience of feeling beautiful and having self confidence, as opposed to an efficient shopping experience (that’s just an added bonus!). She shared her thoughts at SxSW in a panel discussion called Experience vs Ownership: The Rise of the Experience Economy, with Aileen Lee.
So what does the Experience Economy teach us?
- Experience is about emotion, not logic or efficiency. People use Rent the Runway to test drive a brand they’ve never purchased before. It’s about the emotional connection between a special occasional and the luxury experience that the consumers wouldn’t have otherwise had due to the cost of the dress.
- There’s an increased demand for authentic communication. Rent the Runway conversion increased significantly when using real women. Society doesn’t want to see the fake version online anymore. We want to see what is authentic and true. Rent the Runway listened to their community and developed a shopping experience where consumers can enter in their physical data and see clothing recommendations worn by models with similar body types. The twist is that this experience is generated by over 10,000 images of actual Rent the Runway consumers, gathered over the last couple of years.
- All you need is a great product and a great narrative. People want to be a part of a movement, a part of something bigger than themselves. If you provide consumers with that, brand advocates are born.
The Experience Economy shows us that millenials don’t want their parents’ or grandparents’ life. They want to experience life for themselves.
- Storify: Experience vs Ownership: The Rise of the Experience Economy
- SxSW Unofficial Guide
- SxSW Schedule
- SxSW Tweet
- I attended - ask @BasilPuglisi
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