How to Attract Teens to Your Retail Store

targeting a teenage audience

If you are targeting a teenage audience as customers for your retail store and are worried that they’re solely shopping online, you can rest easy.

While teens are indeed becoming more likely to buy online than they were in the past, they still prefer to buy from companies that have brick-and-mortar locations than purely online players, reports a new study on teen spending habits.

There’s plenty of reasons for targeting a teenage audience as retail customers. Not even counting the parental purchases they influence, U.S. teenagers control an astounding $75 billion in discretionary spending annually, according to Piper Jaffray’s 29th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens research survey. More than one-third of teens are currently employed — up from the last survey — meaning they have more money to spend.

However, retailers do face a couple of challenges when it comes to getting their share of teen spending money.

First, thanks to the Great Recession of several years ago, teens — like many of their parents — have become increasingly value-conscious, and are seeking deals and discounts before they buy.

Second, they are focusing less on possessions, such as clothing and electronics, and more on what the report dubs “shareworthy” experiences such as going to concerts or movies or eating out at restaurants.

Where are teens spending their money? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Food: 23 percent
  • Clothes: 20 percent
  • Accessories/personal care/cosmetics: 10 percent
  • Video games/systems: 8 percent
  • Car: 8 percent
  • Electronics/Gadgets: 8 percent
  • Music/movies (buying): 6 percent
  • Concerts/movies (attending): 6 percent

If your store is in one of the categories above — in particular clothes, accessories or personal care — you can definitely benefit from teen shoppers.

So how can you attract these desirable, but fickle shoppers? Here are some tips:

Market Your Retail Store on Instagram

It’s the most popular social network among teens — nearly one-third (32 percent) say it’s their favorite social network, up from 30 percent last year. Take photos of your products, then use the right filters to modify them, and tag them with appropriate hashtags. Use Instagram tools like Webstagram or Populagram to find the most popular hashtags, and use the ones most relevant to your business. Engage teens on Instagram by encouraging them to share their own photos of your products.

Make Your Store a Social Experience

Teens love to go shopping in groups; it’s a major social activity for them. Play to their love of socializing by hiring engaging, energetic sales clerks; creating an environment where groups of teens can shop together (such as dressing room areas with room for friends to gather); setting up backgrounds to take selfies while trying on outfits and encouraging teen shoppers to share their status and photos on social media with your store’s hashtags.

Add Entertainment Value

Along with the social aspect, teens enjoy brick-and-mortar shopping because it’s entertaining. Make your store more than just a place to conduct transactions. Play teen-friendly music in the background, or host in-store performances by local musicians. Promote events relevant to your business, like an in-store fashion show for a clothing store, Makeover Day for a cosmetics store or salon, or a gaming contest for a video game retailer.

Teens may be fickle at time but when they find a store that welcomes them, they’ll become loyal customers. What other ways can you think of to make your retail store more teen-friendly?

Teens Shopping Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Attract Teens to Your Retail Store” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Meet the Texan Fighting for the DPR: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 107)

Among the thousands of foreign soldiers who are fighting alongside the pro-Russia separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic is an American fighter known simply as “Texas.” In this dispatch, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky speaks with Texas about the reasons behind his involvement in Ukraine’s ongoing conflict. Watch “An Interview with the Leader of the DPR: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 106)” – Watch “Inspecting the Ceasefire in Shyrokyne: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 105)” – Read “Pollution, Prisons, Sickness, and Raves: Inside Russia’s ‘City of the Colorful Sky’” – Subscribe to VICE News here: Check out VICE News for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: More videos from the VICE network:
From: VICE News
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This Entrepreneur Learned About Business at the Blackjack Tables

blackjack business lessons jeff ma

Before launching a business, entrepreneurs often hone their skills and gather life experience that can help make their businesses successful. Those experiences can come from school, working for others, or some more unconventional sources. For Jeff Ma, many of the lessons he learned that helped him succeed in his many startup ventures came from his days playing blackjack.

It certainly seems like an unconventional source for business knowledge. But Ma wasn’t just a casual blackjack player either. As part of the MIT Blackjack Team from 1993 through 2001, Ma won about $2 million. The team used sophisticated card counting techniques that were perfectly legal, but still got them banned from casinos due to their constant winning. Their story was even adapted into Ben Mezrich’s book “Bringing Down the House” and the film “21.”

Since his days at the casino table, Ma has launched three startups that he eventually sold to the likes of Yahoo, Virgin and Twitter. The serial entrepreneur recently spoke with Inc about the links between his days counting cards and his career as a serial entrepreneur.

On the surface, it might not seem like the skills from one would transfer to the other. But Ma said that blackjack taught him a lot about teamwork, gathering data, and problem solving. Ma told Inc:

“When people ask me what I miss the most from those days, it’s not the rush or gambling, it’s really the camaraderie. I miss the feeling of when the team went into a casino and tried to beat the house. That is why I love working in startups. It’s the same feeling — you get a group of people together and try to tackle a big problem. You’re trying to work together to build something, make money, and win. That’s essentially what blackjack is.”

Experience and knowledge are key to running successful businesses. But that knowledge and experience can come from anywhere. There is no one correct path to success. So to be truly successful, you need to pay attention to the lessons you can gain from a variety of sources. You never know when you will learn something that might be invaluable to your future business journey.

Blackjack photo by Shutterstock

This article, “This Entrepreneur Learned About Business at the Blackjack Tables” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Optimization Not Only Factor in “Mobilegeddon” Search Ranking

Shortly after changing its algorithm to push mobile-friendly sites higher in search results, Google posted a blog letting users know that there are 199 other criteria in ranking.

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Your Ultimate Guide for Boosting Content Engagement

facebook engagement

Content engagement is one of those ambiguous terms everyone likes to toss around, “We’re boosting engagement this year!” But few people actually know how to define this term or, for that matter, effectively measure it.

From our vantage point, several years into the content marketing revolution, old-school analytics like page views have effectively gone the way of the dinosaurs. We know that maximizing clicks is shortsighted and that whether your goal is boosting brand awareness or generating more leads, content engagement is where it’s at.

But what exactly does “content engagement” look like, what’s the best way to measure it, and how can we improve on these measurements?

Today’s analytics experts now like to throw out measurements such as “scroll depth”, “on-page time” and “social media shares”. These are all different sides of the complex world of content engagement metrics, which at times can seem much more like an art than a science. There is still no formula to predict successful user engagement with your content. However, there is a clear pattern of best practices emerging from this burgeoning field.

Before we start assessing the validity of different content engagement metrics, we need to start with a clear definition of content engagement. Personally, I’m a fan of how Neil Patel defines content engagement as “real people responding in measurable ways to your content.”

Content Reach and Content Engagement: What’s the Difference?

A high number of clicks but low user engagement means you’ve got great audience reach, but your content is leaving something to be desired. High engagement but low readership means that you’ve got great content, but you need to get this content in front of more people.

The goal is great traffic AND great engagement. The right people will have their eyes on the right content. With great traffic and great engagement, you’ll start seeing the difference in brand awareness, increased leads, and improved conversion rates.

Untangling Engagement Metrics

Like any metric, you cannot measure engagement if you do not have clear objectives. Your pattern of Web analytics should look a little something like this chart, created by Digital Telepathy. I’ve modified it slightly here:

Set Clear Objectives

“What do I want from my site?”

You want readers to be more than readers — you want them to interact with your content in a meaningful way. But you may also want to boost brand awareness, increase leads, and/or increase page views. Your objective goal affects which engagement metrics will be most important for your website.

Establish Engagement Goals

“What do I want visitors to do on my site?” 

This interaction could occur as comments, social sharing, dwell time (how long readers stay on a page), user scrolling (how far down the page do readers go), heat maps (where are people clicking), and inbound linking (more quality inbound links equates with higher trust and better page rank).

Pick the Right Metrics

“What are the best ways to measure visitor actions?” 

The metrics you use depend on the content platform. In the case of an article, you’ll be measuring engagement metrics in terms of comments, shares, dwell time, user scrolling, inbound linking, heat maps, etc. If you were measuring content engagement on Facebook, you’d be focusing on likes, re-shares, and click-through rates. For a webinar, you’d focus on sign-ups, duration online, comments, questions asked, etc.

Evaluate the Data

“What is my data telling me?”

Once you’ve collected your data, you’ll need to determine what it all means. While general engagement metric tracking is a good way to keep an eye on your blog performance, if everything remains the same, you’ll never know if you could be improving over the status quo. That’s why I recommend making slight changes to your blog and testing the engagement response to your changes.

For example, you might test how ending your blog’s conclusion with a question affects comment engagement or how choosing a somewhat controversial topic affects inbound links and social media posts. If your goal is to increase engagement (and not just keep the same level), then you’ll need to make changes!

3 Tools to Better Monitor Content Engagement

Now that you’ve established a clear plan for setting objectives, measuring engagement and analyzing feedback, it’s time to choose the right tools. Sure, you could stick with just Google Analytics for content engagement measurement.

However, if you have room in your budget, a number of content marketing analytic companies really help you dig in beneath the surface to understand the quality of engagement time. And, most critically, these tools also provide strategic recommendations that help you translate your metrics into actionable improvements that not only lead to better engagement, but also help you more effectively reach your end goal, be that a stronger brand or higher conversion rates.

These are three of my favorites:


Chartbeat pioneered the wild, wooly world of active engagement. Are users actually engaged with that story or video, or is it unspooling in the background while they’re off stalking a former significant other on Facebook?

Chartbeat doesn’t measure clicks. Instead, the reader’s browser sends Chartbeat pings every few seconds that tell Chartbeat exactly what the reader is actively (or idly) up to. Below is a screenshot of their dashboard:



Contently’s analytics package, Insights, is built specifically to optimize brand-reader relationships. While this package may not be useful (or affordable) for a personal blog, Insights’ focus on “readers” rather than “visitors” is an important takeaway. Insights tracks the number of times a reader comes back to your site, re-reads the same content, and how much time they spend with this content.

This has important implications for everything from conversion rate optimization to lead nurturing. For example, it’s a safe assumption that a visitor who comes back to your website and reads the same piece of content repeatedly over a limited period is more valuable as a lead prospect than a visitor who reads the blog post only once and fails to finish.

Even if a specific blog seems to underperform your others in terms of views and finish rates, you’d still want to know if a reader returned multiple times. Below is a screenshot of their dashboard:



What’s hot and what’s not? That’s the basic (and highly over-simplified) premise behind TrenDemon, which embeds a single line of code in your site. TrenDemon’s algorithms identify which sources, pages and paths on your site are most effective.

Visitors are engaged in real-time with relevant personalized content recommendations and calls to action. WordPress users can use TrenDemon’s plugin to integrate and access TrenDemon directly from the WP admin interface.

The tool’s Google Analytics integration makes it easy to optimize TrenDemon’s performance and include custom reports within your Google Analytics account. Below is a screenshot of TrenDemon’s dashboard:


Bottom Line

Nearly two-thirds of visitors to an average site do not return again in the next 30 days, according to Chartbeat. Tools like Chartbeat, Contently’s Insights, and TrenDemon help you bring back visitors by understanding how visitors engage with your existing content and what you can do to improve this engagement. Better engagement leads to more click-throughs, more social shares, more trial sign-ups, and stronger brand relationships.

Do you currently measure content engagement? What metrics matter most to you and how do you use data from these measurements to improve your content?

Facebook Engagement Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Your Ultimate Guide for Boosting Content Engagement” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How the CIA Waged War in Afghanistan

Robert Grenier is a former CIA station chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the man who was tapped by the CIA and White House to direct the first America-Afghan war following the attacks of 9/11. In his new book, 88 Days to Kandahar, Grenier discusses how he forged alliances with warlords and Pakistani intelligence operatives to execute a campaign that defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern region. Following his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Grenier returned to Washington, DC, and was tasked with overseeing the CIA’s intelligence operations and analysis in Iraq prior to the 2003 US invasion. VICE News visited Grenier at his home in Virginia to talk about America’s longest war, the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and the rise of the Islamic State. Watch “Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou: The VICE News Interview” – Read “Afghanistan and Iran Get Cozier — Which Is Good News for the US” – Read “Elite Anti-Terror Squads From Around the World Battle it Out at Jordan’s Annual Warrior Competition” – Subscribe to VICE News here: Check out VICE News for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: More videos from the VICE network:
From: VICE News
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