Teenagers….. the missing department?

Charity shops have one the broadest appeals among age groups selling items for babies through to the elderly. Considering the size of many charity shops is fairly compact, it is quite a feat to merchandise such a vast selection of different departments. The one department that appears to be missing from siting alongside the women’s, men’s and children’s department is a teenage section. There are many teenagers coming in to charity shops from those who are out shopping with their families to those older teens shopping on a budget. To find what they might be looking for they are having to do the most work of all our shoppers, rummaging through each department. There are so may different products being sold in charity shops that appeal to teenagers, including clothing, accessories, books, music, films, computer games and a whole lot more. With such a broad range of items to market to a teenager it poses a space/merchandising problem which might be why I have seen few teen departments. Just think of all the items that have skipped being noticed in shops just because they haven’t been highlighted enough to the right customer and if just a few of the items got seen every week, think of the extra money it could make.

Creating a teenage department could be well worth it, so here’s a few tips:

  • Trial giving it a go on one module – Test the waters by trying out a mix of products keeping it a simple mix at first, maybe going for teen clothing and books.
  • Set a side an area in your backroom to keep suitable items
  • Consult with your younger volunteers about what items should be going on the department, they are the best resource especially when it comes to clothes and accessories.
  • If you don’t have the stock to do it all year round – just run it as a promotional module at key times during the year or when you have a large donation of suitable stock.
  • Don’t limit yourself to thinking of appealing to younger teens you might have more of an older teen market and it could be worth having a more student led display for example selling ‘going away’ to university sets of essential homewares…
  • Pay attention to upcoming movies and trends.
  • If you going to give it a name on the shop floor, don’t call it the teenager section, they won’t like it.
  • Create teen inspired window displays to encourage more shoppers to see what you’re selling.



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