I hate to say it, but I’m getting old. Or at least I feel that way when it comes to the younger bunch and their knowledge and use of technology. While I’ve spent time on my cell phone texting, I think it’s a pain in the butt and just easier to pick up the phone and call. Told you I’m getting old.
But we as small retailers have to keep up with technology. A recent study published by Maritz Research’s Retail Group, a world leader in consumer market research, reveals the buying behaviors of Gen Y shoppers and how they use online venues and text messaging to interact with specialty apparel retailers. You can read the article on PR newswire. It’s pretty interesting stuff.
Texting – Members of Gen Y text often (as anyone with kids knows) — about 17 times per day. But they don’t like receiving text messages from retailers. However, they will text and blog about products or companies they like. Word-of-mouth through blazing fast texts can tell you that the movie “Good Luck Chuck” is a loser not worth your $10. And if it can do that, it can also be used to make or break a product introduction or retailing push.
Blogs/Social Networking Websites – Gen Y shoppers also are using blogs and social networking sites to mention products or retailers and use them as a place where they can find information that can impact their buying behaviors. Twenty-two percent of poll respondents indicated they have mentioned products or retailers in a personal blog, and a similar number (21 percent) said they have used other blogs as a resource on purchasing decisions.
Gloria Park Bartolone, division vice president, Maritz Research’s Retail Group says, “Because peer opinions are extremely important to Generation Y, they’re likely to take online reviews posted by their peers to heart. Retailers should also pay close attention to blogs and online reviews mentioning their products and brand and consider fixing problems that repeatedly come up. Retailers need to show Gen Y they are listening.”
Bartolone thinks Gen Y shoppers will be the first to experiment with mobile commerce, even though they say they don’t want to be bothered by retailers on their phones. “Gen Y will most definitely be the early adopter of mobile commerce,” she said. “Phones will become lifelines for them and the first nationwide retailers to embrace this technology will reap the benefits.”
Phones and use of social networking sites keep Gen Y connected to their friends, even while shopping. “They are the digital generation. That is how they stay in constant communication with peers, and easily get opinions,” Bartolone said. “Keep in mind that this generation can and does e-mail pictures of themselves from retailer dressing rooms to get a second opinion.”
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
If you’re in a retail business that caters to teens, be forewarned. They’re incredibly tech-savvy, using their phones and computers to spread the word about specific products and retailers they like (and more importantly, don’t like).