Some may believe “brick and mortar” stores to be outdated. Many physical store locations are shutting their doors, due to lack of traffic. It is easy to point fingers and blame the youth of today, but in reality, it may not be completely their fault.
One might think that because Gen Z is such a technology-focused generation, they prefer online shopping, which is in turn leading to the death of physical retail stores: Retail-Mageddon. However, this does not appear to be entirely accurate. While Retail-Mageddon is an actuality for American brands everywhere, according to surveys of today’s teens, most do not have as negative of an outlook on physical stores as preceding generations believe. A large portion of Gen Zers, 66%, report having an equally enjoyable experience shopping in stores as they do online. Online shopping may be easier or more convenient, but going to a store and browsing through selections can be a far more fun experience. Most Gen Zers believe virtual shops have the same selection and pricing as physical stores and say it is just as easy to find what they are looking for in both.
Forbes published an article recently detailing how the physical store isn’t dead, the problem is boring or stale advertising and marketing techniques. A favorite brand of many Gen Z teens is Forever 21. Forever 21 has successfully managed to market to today’s youth by primarily utilizing social media channels, Instagram in particular. The brand’s Instagram page has 14.7 million followers and a very high engagement rate. Forever 21 posts images that appeal to teens and do not necessarily feel like advertisements. Because of this approach, they have been successful in establishing themselves as one of the main trendsetters in mainstream fashion.
Physical retail is not dead. It is possible to market to Gen Z; the problem is static and dated marketing methods, not the stores themselves.