From the Editors

Study reveals teens are looking for engaging stores

Liz KeenerI recently stumbled across a Retail Perceptions report that found a not-so-surprising fact: Today’s teenagers are looking for engaging in-store experiences.

The study, which surveyed 2,011 teens, aged 14-19, studied their shopping habits and preferences. What it found is 64 percent would still rather shop in-store than online. And three-quarters of the teens said they want engaging in-store experiences.

Think about your dealership. Is it engaging for a 14-19-year-old, who might have their first job, but not a lot of financial obligations (which means they might actually have some cash to spend)?

Compare your dealership to other retailers you see teens in. Let’s take an Apple Store, for example. Apple Stores are brightly lit — is your dealership? Apple Stores are clean and uncluttered — where do you stack up in that arena?

Apple Stores are also engaging. How many demo phones, iPads and computers do they have available? Demo units actually cover most of their floor space. Do you have interactive spaces? How about an area where customers can try out the newest POV camera? If you’re an Arctic Cat dealer, are you offering the virtual reality video experience the OEM has crafted? Are there bikes that shoppers can touch, feel and possibly sit on without fear that they’ll take out the entire showroom domino-style?

Is your staff ready to strike up an informative, fun conversation, rather than hovering anxiously, waiting for something to break? The blue T-shirt-wearing staff at Apple is always ready to help, and the survey found 62 percent of teens prefer to ask questions of store associates, rather than reading product displays.

If you think those teens are never coming into your store, so you don’t have to appeal to them, think again. When dad stops in for a belt, is someone offering his 16-year-old son a few minutes atop an ATV? When mom is sitting in service, waiting for an oil change, are you showing her daughter the latest video from your top OEM? Don’t engage them today, and they won’t join their parents on the next dealership outing. Show them attention and something neat? They’ll be begging to come back!

The study also found the top five components of an in-store experience teens are looking for are: a clean store; friendly and knowledgeable associates; a positive checkout experience; the use of technology in the shopping experience; and the availability of customer feedback channels. More than three-quarters also prefer unique products over popular ones. Do you offer most or all of the above?

Sure, teens don’t make up the majority of your market right now, but the industry’s current demographic is aging, and if we want to replace them and keep the funnel full of customers, we need to engage the younger buyers. Think of what age you got into powersports — was it 16, 18? Younger? If no one had introduced you then, would you still be the enthusiast you are today? We need these kids in the future, so we need to engage them today.

To download the full Retail Perceptions report, click here.

Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She produces the magazine’s annual Market Data Book and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine and its ancillary products. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis, Power 50 dealership honors program and dealer education.



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