Youth Insights, Expert Commentary, & Agency Culture
5 Sure-Fire Ways Retailers Can Attract Teen Shoppers

5 Sure-Fire Ways Retailers Can Attract Teen Shoppers

Generation Z is a demographic barely out of high-school that now represents 25% of the U.S. population, and will represent 40% of consumers by 2020. Composed of kids, tweens, and teens, this key consumer segment is driving retailers to rethink their marketing strategies.

Different from their Millennial parents, their massive digital media consumption has significantly changed Gen Z’s shopping behaviors.

Now more than ever before, retailers need to adapt their business practices to this new generation of consumers with an astounding $75 billion in discretionary spending annually, according to Piper Jaffray’s Taking Stock With Teens, Spring 2016 survey.

Below are 5 thought starters to help inspire retailers and brands marketing to teens.

Tip 1: A strong social media presence will put you under the spotlight

Teens today live by the rule of the Internet and breathe through social media. Retailers should adapt, and develop a strong social presence on the right channels, with the right content. Instagram is the “go-to app” for the majority of teens, and 20% of them use it most often, according to a 2015 PewResearchCenter report, but Snapchat may be a better fit for your brand, depending on your content strategy.

Abercrombie & Fitch completely understood the power of the socials as it successfully tackled its sliding sales issue by implementing a digital-first approach, with a focus on interacting with consumers online. Today, the brand has 3.1 million followers on Instagram, uploads an average of three photos a day, and generates thousands of likes and comments.

Here are a few key components to consider when building your social presence: new and original content, daily community management, relevant promotions, and a paid media strategy to include sponsored content and influencer partnerships.  

Learn more about “Why Snapchat is the key to target tweens and teens” in our recent blog post.

Tip 2: A unique in-store social experience will win teens' love

The majority of tweens and teens still prefer to shop the old-fashioned way, in brick and mortar stores, and they shop online mainly for efficiency purposes. Don’t forget that shopping in groups remains a favorite social activity for Gen Z consumers.

Retailers should then focus on elaborating an outstanding and unique in-store experience, with a major social dimension, to win big with Gen Z.  Enabling groups of young people to shop together, by creating comfy dressing rooms areas for friends to gather, by installing couches and a central stage, will greatly enhance their shopping experience.

Last advice, don’t hesitate to encourage young consumers take pictures and share them on social networks to promote your products and recruit new customers. Keep in mind that 55% of Pinterest users use the site to find products they want to buy. For a clothing store, it could translate into getting an artist to paint a wall art and give discounts to consumers taking and sharing pictures of themselves wearing store's products in front of it.

Tip 3: An engaging shopping experience will drive traffic

Don’t make the mistake to think about your store as a mere transactional place. If you want Gen Z consumers to keep coming back, you have to provide an enjoyable and fun shopping experience.

Everything from the store’s ambiance to the quality of its sales clerks, or the in-store animation counts to successfully win the hearts of your consumers. Think about playing teen-friendly music, releasing pleasurable smells or regularly hosting contests or happenings.

If you are a game retailer, it shouldn't be too difficult to organize monthly gaming contests for local teams to compete, and the returns on investment, both regarding foot traffic and consumer satisfaction can be amazing. If you are a clothing store, you can think about installing virtual dressing rooms or even hosting in-store fashion shows.

You can be sure your tweens and teens consumers will love these special events, tell their friends about them, and keep coming back.

Tip 4: A unique product innovation dynamic will keep your consumers excited

As tweens and teens live in a fast changing world and process an enormous amount of information each day, they are easily distracted and quickly bored.  Continual innovation is key to keeping them excited.

If you want good results, stay in the know about the latest trends in your industry, and quickly react to offer popular product features or designs. If you want great results, be one step ahead and try to anticipate the trends, based on thorough consumer insights research, to come up with terrific products that will completely blow teens’ minds.

Not convinced yet? Here is the data: 47% of U.S. teens expect more choice from retailers in the future. They want more, and they want it quick. In the clothing industry, it translates into the tremendous success of fast fashion behemoths like Zara and H&M. These innovative companies are churning out runway-style apparel at rapid-fire speed.

Tip 5: An unmatched value for money will buy their loyalty

“Why do stores think we can afford $40 and $50 t-shirts?” - Katelyn, 14. 

If Gen Z has a buying power of $44 billion per year, the money they can spend on particular items is often constrained. You think Millennials were thrifty? Gen Z takes it to a whole new level. Raised during the economic crisis of 2008, teens are looking for the best value for money when they go shopping.

70% of Gen Z expect retailers to lower their prices, and failure to do so can have disastrous consequences for your store. Don’t count on brand loyalty to keep your teen consumers; 81% of them are willing to switch from their favorite brand if they find a similar product of better price or quality elsewhere.

Use these 5 powerful advice to create an amazing Gen Z focused marketing strategy, and you should see a real increase in your sales and customer retention rate.

The brain teaser? Doing all this at the same time and remain profitable.

What are the challenges you’re facing as you try to implement successfully your Generation Z marketing strategy? Share your thoughts with me in the comments here or on Twitter.

For bite-sized insights on youth marketing, you can read this 5 Gen Z Insights infographic and these 100+ Eye-Opening Facts About Generation Z


Written by Sindbad Khlif

Add a comment3 comments
Ken on 12.13.2016


Ken on 12.13.2016

Josh josh kid kid

Ken on 12.13.2016

Clowns on a rampage

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