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Millennials, Retailers and the Next New Thing


shoppertrak, retail, in-store analytics, people counting“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a particularly relevant adage in teenager-focused social media marketing. Especially when considering that technology and tastes are constantly evolving to create the next new “flavor of the day.” Our technological culture has given the millennial generation both the appetite and ability to go from the “now to the next” and the need to say, “I was there first.” (Pew) This keeps retailers on their toes as they must scrutinize their marketing strategy continually to keep up with these changing trends.

What’s the “next” one that’s becoming all the rage? Recently, Piper Jaffray released its “Taking Stock With Teens” semiannual market research, which revealed that Twitter is quickly becoming the new preferred channel among teenagers. It appears that Twitter is now upstaging Facebook, with Instagram close behind, showing that, where 42% of teens considered Facebook as the most important channel a year ago, now only 23% are viewing it so.

Of course, Facebook is still a prominent player in the social arena, and it’s trying to meet the current challenge by including public posting options for teenagers. However, because teens’ preferences are constantly evolving, it’s imperative retailers adjust their social media strategies to keep pace with where this targeted younger audience is hanging out and how they like to be engaged.

Getting online engagement right is critical because of the extent those under the age of 25 are brand-oriented. Ed Keller and Brad Fay note in their book, The Face-to-Face Book, that age is the most important factor of those who talk about brands online. One of their surveys revealed that this age group talked about brands 120 times per week, while older age groups did so 70 times per week. Retailers can count on this younger generation being more influential in spreading brand recommendations than their older counterparts.

Obviously, retailers shouldn’t be adopting the next new thing if it doesn’t support their overall strategy. However, if they know how to engage their market and strike quickly while the iron is hot, they can be successful. If uncertainty brings inaction — as they wait to see what others are doing before they make their next move — they will, likely, miss out on some significant opportunities.

As teenagers actively use and share media in all its forms, retailers must strive to stay ahead by being prepared in every way possible. Through our people counting technology, ShopperTrak gives retailers the necessary tools to measure all the variables of store performance. Our in-store analytics system provides the appropriate benchmarks that allow them to make the right decisions based on the right data.


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