Sweetgreen, the fast-casual salad chain, and Glossier, the digitally native beauty line, have built cult-like followings among young, influential city-dwellers.
A reason behind their success: Millennials have different shopping habits from earlier generations. They’re looking for companies that deliver a different kind of value — one that creates an intimate connection.
That’s why we’ve invited Sweetgreen co-founder and co-CEO Jonathan Neman and Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss to Code Commerce to discuss how to use technology to engage millennial shoppers, not just online but also in stores.
Neman, an LA native who likes to start the day surfing after meditating, helped found Sweetgreen in 2007. Now, the company has raised $123 million and has expanded into LA, the Bay Area and Chicago, totaling 70 locations across the U.S. The startup works with local farmers in each location to source its produce — what the company calls “intimacy at scale” — which is a big part of its appeal among younger consumers.
It’s an approach familiar to Glossier, which has a similarly devoted fanbase for its skincare and beauty products. Glossier reposts fan and follower social media posts and replies directly to comments. Nurturing a dialogue and community with fans is part of the business DNA at Glossier.
Weiss gained a following as a blogger, where she interviewed household names about their beauty regimens for her website, Into the Gloss. When she launched Glossier in 2014, she made an effort to incorporate her readers into the product development process. She asked her audience, “What’s Your Dream Cleanser?” The responses she received formed the basis for the line’s popular Milky Jelly Cleanser.
Now, Glossier has raised $34 million, and is turning its most enthusiastic followers into sales representatives in a trial program that gives social media influencers a cut of the sales they drive.
Neman and Weiss join a growing lineup of e-commerce pioneers at September’s Code Commerce event in New York City, including the CEOs of Blue Apron, Bonobos and Williams-Sonoma, along with others, to discuss the future of the industry with Recode Senior Editor Jason Del Rey and Executive Editor Kara Swisher.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.