Retail as we know it is dying.
Stores that cater to teens are specifically hurting, largely because the teenage Generation Z is both discerning and particular.
Teens today are conditioned to the rapid-fire nature of social media and want things quickly. They are not obsessed with logos as teens were in the early 2000s.
So how does a teen retailer survive?
Neil Saunders, CEO of the consulting firm Conlumino, told Business Insider that teen retailers needed three things to stay afloat:
- “Constant newness to engage and stimulate is one of” the ways to engage teens, Saunders wrote in an email to Business Insider. Indeed, teens have been living in a world of fast-fashion behemoths like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara. Each of those companies churns out runway-style apparel at rapid-fire speed.”A good digital strategy in terms of marketing and shopping is another,” he added. Make no mistake: Teens live by the rule of the internet, and that’s particularly true when it comes to marketing. In fact, apps like Instagram have been helping to slowly but surely kill traditional retail. As for online shopping, a recent Ernst & Young study confirmed that even though millennials currently shop online more than Gen Z does (the number of Gen Zers shopping online will increase when they get credit cards), Gen Zers shop online for “efficiency purposes.” “Value for money is definitely a third: teens have so many things they want to buy so what they have to spend on particular items is often constrained,” Saunders wrote. Teens care more about value than millennials ever did. “The things you see millennials doing when it comes to spending, Gen Z are just taking it to another level,” Gen Z expert Marcie Merriman told Business Insider in February. “Millennials have been in the position of being frugal and very careful with their money.”
The catch? It’s hard to do those three things at the same time.
Saunders acknowledged that.
“Of course,” Saunders wrote, “the problem is that these three things are difficult to balance while remaining profitable.”