STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 70)

CONSIDER THIS / LOEB RETAIL LETTER Copyright 2009 by Loeb Associates Inc. Used by permission. How to Reach Young Shoppers BY WALTER LOEB The dean of a leading university recently told me that it has become increasingly difficult to reach students with almost any message. Today’s students, he said, do not read any notices the university posts — and faculty members feel lucky if they still read their textbooks. Similarly, newspaper publishers have noted a marked reduction in readership among younger people, and advertisers have reacted by cutting their newspaper ad budgets. It is a dilemma that has caused alarm among marketers — yet young people continue to shop in their favorite stores. I checked with some reliable sources (my granddaughters) and the parents of several other teenage girls to identify which stores are currently “in.” Mentioned most frequently as destination stores were Forever 21, Aeropostale and American Apparel. What happened to Juicy Couture and Abercrombie & Fitch, two stores that were hot just 12 months ago? I am seeing a major shift in “favored” merchandise that is similar to the one that killed the status that Benetton tops and Levi’s jeans enjoyed decades earlier. peer pressure often brings the errant member back into the fold. These youthful consumers place more trust in each other than they do in their parents. It is a defiant attitude that underscores their belief of what is right, and websites like MySpace, YouTube and especially Facebook play important roles in galvanizing these communities. Facebook alone will surpass 200 million members by the time you read this article. Some retailers now have fan pages on Facebook in order to develop a deeper relationship with their customers, including Amazon, Costco and Target, apparel retailers J.Crew and Nordstrom, as well as Best Buy, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Bath & Body Works. “Twilight” market Y is not X Convenience store Wawa is reported to have made Facebook fans feel at home in The mood is hard to pinpoint. While Genertheir stores, and the recent sales success of Hot Topic is ation X has been well defined, Generation Y — today’s due, at least in part, to its recognition of the popularity of teen shoppers — is much harder to understand. In many the “Twilight” books (and ways they act similarly to film) among teens; it promiprevious generations, but the Some retailers now have fan pages nently features Twilight merstimulation comes almost exchandise in its stores and on clusively from the communion Facebook in order to develop its website. ties to which they belong. a deeper relationship with their Staying in step with today’s Many teenagers belong to customers, including Amazon, Costco teen consumer requires an a group of friends — a comopen mind and an ability to munity that shares their likes and Target, apparel retailers J.Crew change — quickly. To estaband dislikes, their fears and and Nordstrom, as well as Best Buy, lish and maintain a meaningtheir joys in honest and intiVictoria’s Secret, Sephora and ful presence on Facebook or mate terms. They are of a any of the other social netgroup that acts in concert Bath & Body Works working sites requires skill with each other; if a store or and a willingness to have even a garment is posted on honest communications with the socially conscious groups Facebook’s wall, it is likely to have communal approval. with which they are trying to connect. If a retailer receives These young people act in sync with each other; and a strong approval rating, its customer profile is likely to anything that is approved becomes part of their culture. It change and it will materially help sales. is said that to break away from the group is very difficult; 70 STORES / MAY 2009 WWW.STORES.ORG Walter F. Loeb is a New Yorkbased consultant and member of the NRF board of directors whose newsletter is published monthly in STORES. http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009