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