In our popular article ‘Teenage Shopping Diary’ we spent a day with Eleanor, 17 and found out how online and offline shopping merges seamlessly for Millennials and Generation Y (people born before and around 2000).
Teenagers are not only often prolific shoppers today but also give us a unique window on the future of town centre retail, tomorrow.
The #WDYT (What Do You Think?)* team has been speaking to teenagers to find out what they really want from retailers and the results will probably surprise you.
It won’t surprise you, however, that 96% of 16-24 year olds own a Smartphone according to this report from Statista. They are comfortable using their phone to find out information, share news and of course, chat to their friends. 24% are online constantly.
Here’s what they had to say:
Following stationery on social media inspires Lucy, 17 a Sixth Form student to “motivate me to make my room and stationery look just as nice!” Paperchase has images of coordinated stationery on their Instagram and Facebook pages usually related to current news events.
This update, highlighting their summer range, encourages you to visit the store (the flamingo is not available online). A great opportunity for smaller, independent retailers here?
Emily, 21, is studying at University of Brighton and loves to shop in Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Bershka. If you haven’t heard of Bershka, they have 5.4m followers on Instagram and their profile reads:
‘Bershka believes that you can shape the future. Whoever you are. We believe in you. Share your look with #bershkastylebers.hk/com ‘ Sharing images of real people wearing their clothes certainly creates an interesting feed to follow. Interestingly, their UK website defines their target as ‘adventurous young people, who are aware of the latest trends and are interested in music, social networks and new technologies.’
Bershka clearly know their young audience very well with this Instagram image sharing the thoughts of most of their followers around exam season.
Emily will “sometimes look in town and then buy online, but only when the store doesn’t have a particular size” showing again how seamlessly Millenials shop, moving between online and offline.
Interestingly both boys we spoke to Matt and Harry, both 15 primarily visit shops relating to their interests (which they have researched extensively online).
Matt follows Nike, Adidas and UnderArmour (football) on Instagram along with Lacoste. His favourite shop is JD Sports which also has a top quality Instagram feed. As reported in Financial Times, the fashionable sportswear company “appears to be dodging UK high-street gloom and has announced that profits rose by a quarter in the past year to a record high of £294.5m.”
Harry is an aspiring videographer and he always heads for John Lewis Electricals, but likes independents such as T4 Cameras in Witney where he can get expert advice. Vloggers such as Casey Neistat and Peter McKinnon review video equipment online, and Harry then visits the shop to buy once he has seen the equipment himself.
Game is also a frequent destination for Harry. He doesn’t want to order video games online and then wait for it to arrive, but play it as soon as he gets home. Not all products are suited to online shopping, everytime. The Game Facebook page is a fast moving mix of video excerpts, competitions and news: perfect for teenagers.
A huge thanks to our young shoppers for giving their candid opinions and helping retailers understand future shopping habits.
How can we use what we learn from teenagers to help town centre retail?
- A high quality, active social media presence is absolutely essential. Ask your customers what platforms they use and what they like to see. Listen to their likes, and dislikes, hopes and dreams.
- Teenagers switch seamlessly between online and instore shopping. They research carefully online for inspiration and then visit your town centre. Does your website and social media give them enough information to make a decision?
- Recommendations are crucial. You may not be able to afford a vlogger to endorse your products but do you encourage customers to leave reviews? Do you ask shoppers to share their photos of your product like Bershka and Topshop?