How can retailers adapt to the changing teen retail sector?
The overall retail market has seen moderate increases in month-over-month sales, but retailers that target teenage shoppers are not doing so well, according to the latest retail customer intelligence. The New York Times reported that sales have been dropping for many teen apparel stores lately, due to fashion trend lulls as well as a shift in interest among this age group. A recent Thomas Reuters survey of retail analysts predicted a decline of 6.4 percent in sales by the fourth quarter, making it clear that retailers will want to develop new marketing strategies to bring customers in and make sales.
Where are teens shopping?
A recent survey conducted by StageofLife.com found that only 37 percent of high school and college students went shopping more than twice a month, and the majority (77.5 percent) preferred visiting brick-and-mortar locations to online shopping. However, this demographic may not have the spending power needed to bolster the sector. The NY Times pointed to high unemployment rates among teens, and the survey confirmed this. Only 27 percent of respondents used funds earned at jobs to shop, while 10 percent didn't have jobs or money to spend.
How can you best market to this demographic?
Social media may prove to be the most useful tool in getting a sense of teenage retail customer trends, but retailers will want to look beyond typical outlets like Facebook and Twitter to reach this consumer group. Teens are less likely to be engaged on Facebook than older adults, as a marketing agency director explained to The Guardian that teenagers prefer more simplistic, direct forms of online communication. Connected apps like Instagram, SnapChat and WhatsApp may prove more lucrative platforms to engage this group
What else can you do to improve the shopping experience?
The current teenage population has grown up surrounded by technology, so having modern ecommerce software is a must. It may be worthwhile to consider adapting the point of sale systems in-store to improve the shopping experience. According to Sap, 30 percent of retailers are planning to upgrade their POS software in 2014.
Omnichannel strategies that allow shoppers to seamlessly switch between mobile, online and in-store shopping may also prove attractive to younger customers. SAP suggested that creating a consistent brand experience can take a while, and it may be better for retailers to approach integrating the shopping experience one step at a time for a more fluid transition.