April 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
It is becoming hard to say travel without talking about mobile devices today. By 2014, smartphones and tablets are on track to capture nearly one in five travel dollars. And those who are marketing travel to women should take note of some of the opportunities and challenges.
Travel Decisions Made by Women
Some 80% of all travel decisions are made by women and 40% of travel is planned using a mobile device. The tablet is the preferred device for planning travel and the smartphone is the choice for booking trips while on the go. In fact, three-quarters (76%) of us reach for the smartphone when booking travel on the go.
Poor Mobile Experiences
So you know the drill – you are traveling and something happens to cause you to change your airline reservations. You go to your handy app. But you have a hard time loading the information, it gets confusing and then, you just call the airlines or the hotel or the car rental or the restaurant because it was a hassle figuring it out on that handy app. It’s happened to me before – and apparently, lots of others. A ResearchNow study released by Mobiquity shows the top negatives:
- 60% of smartphone owners, 52% of tablet owners found mobile travel sites slow to load
- 51% of tablet owners rated search and selection options on travel apps as complicated
- 20% of tablet owners were disappointed the apps were not integrated with their loyalty programs
Poor mobile experiences can cause travelers to take an alternative course and could result in decreased revenue for travel brands. More than a third (35%) of connected travelers would be less likely to book again with the travel brand after a slow, confusing of non-optimized experience when research or booking travel on a mobile device. Some of the issues in addition to slow load time are complicated search and selection, poor navigation, not linked to loyalty programs or not designed.
Top Mobile Travel Apps
The top mobile websites mostly include airlines and travel aggregators, such as TripAdvisor and Priceline.com. Of the 8% of iPhone users that use travel apps, the top airline apps are:
United Airlines (1.6%)
Southwest Airlines (1.5%)
Fly Delta (1.3%)
American Airlines (1.3%)
Some of the other popular apps for travel are included in the following infographic:
- Travel fragmentation is extending to mobile (tnooz.com)
April 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Considering an app to market to moms? A recent study found that 97% of moms made a purchase on their tablet in the last month and they’re spending significantly more time on their tablets than laptops. There’s a huge opportunity for brands to provide value for moms on their tablets.
One way to make the most of moms on tablets is by developing an app for your brand. However, developing an app, especially for the first time, is not an easy task. It requires a big budget, skilled engineers, and dedicated marketers to build a useful, powerful app.
So before you begin, there are 4 key things to keep in mind when planning to develop a new app:
App functionality – In order to be truly effective, apps must be smart, innovative, and provide value to the customer. Know when your customers will be downloading the app and why they need it at that moment. Determine the use case scenario and keep it top of mind throughout all stages of development. Also know that you don’t have to include all potential features in the first release of the app. Prioritize the essential elements and add additional functionality in future releases.
Operating systems – You don’t need to develop an app for all platforms to be successful. Rather, understand the devices before choosing one or a few. First, narrow down your options by knowing which device your target audience uses. For example, about 51% of moms own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, compared to 52% of teenagers owning an Android. Second, understand the pros and cons of the various platforms. Windows is known for its flexibility and provides a great user experience. Apple has fewer models and screen sizes so testing is easier. However, a rejection from Apple’s App Store means more time and money to make improvements. With Android, though, it’s easier to get apps into the Google Play store. On the down side, there are many Android models and testing on all of them is nearly impossible. Finally, testing on various devices requires lots of Quality Assurance (QA), not only for the first release but also to maintain the app as devices update their operating systems. Don’t forget to budget for ongoing QA as you develop your plan.
Pricing model – Will the app support your core business or will it be the sole revenue stream? If your business has other revenue sources, you may offer the app for free because it builds mobile presence and authority for your brand. If this will be your main revenue source, the app itself might be free but perhaps it will generate revenue through an eCommerce engine or paid membership. While some paid apps are very successful, tablet users have been shown to prefer free apps with ads to paid apps. Paid apps accounted for only 23% of all tablet app downloads in 2012. Does your app offer something that customers will pay for or does it offer another value to your business?
Download strategies – Marketing your app and getting customers to download it provides a huge challenge. Make sure your app is searchable within the app store. You can do this by choosing the most relevant keywords. What will customers be looking for when you want them to find your app? Find out and use those keywords. Note, you are limited a specific number of characters for keywords. For Apple, keywords must be less than 100 characters. Another download strategy is through email marketing. Email your existing customers and include a direct link to the app store so they can download the app immediately. Make it easy for them to find and download. Also consider integrating a social sharing element into your app so users market the app for you.
Creating an app may or may not be worth it for your business, but after thinking through each of these topics you should have a better idea of your approach and strategy. For more insights on the habits of moms on tablets and how to build the best app strategy for your brand, download the white paper, “Tablets 101: A Primer for Mom-Focused Brands.”
This guest post is by Katie Petrillo. She is the B2B Marketing Manager at Punchbowl, where she writes about marketing to moms for the Punchbowl Trends blog. Follow her on Twitter @PunchbowlTrends and find her on Google+.
March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments
Can you imagine a time when brick and mortar stores are just window shopping venues for online shoppers? Some retail experts are prognosticating a time in the not-too-distant future when stores will become glorified showrooms because of the rise in internet commerce.
Actually, some online-only stores are actually experimenting with opening retail operations. Among those famous online names are EBay and Etsy who are testing temporary stores, while Piperlime, the Gap Inc. unit that was online-only for six years, opened a SoHo store last fall. Bonobos plans to keep opening stores, and Warby Parker, the eyeglass brand, will soon open a physical location. These companies see these showrooms as catering to consumers who like the social nature of shopping – and need to touch and feel items before they purchase them.
Back to the experts – some say the way of the future will be smaller stores, carrying little or no inventory, with an efficient showroom model. Consumers will see the product, make a selection and have it shipped to them the next day. Some of these stores are testing the water now.
Today’s Showrooming and Sale Surfing
Today, showrooming refers to consumers that look at a product in store and then buy it online for a cheaper price. A recent study found out that the top retailers at risk for showrooming (read buy it online or at another discounter) are Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, ToysRUs, Best Buy and Sears. Target seemed to do a little bit better.
Research shows that when shoppers were asked how many products they researched while in the retail store with their mobile device within the past 3 months, 80% indicated that they had researched at least 3 products with 43% had researched 5 or more products.
For all those showroomers, there are many shoppers that stay home, start online and purchase online.
Will Brand Loyalty Survive?
According to a new study from InContact and Harris Interactive, 56% of consumers said they would be at least somewhat likely to switch brands based on customer service options, and a quarter do not feel any loyalty to any type of brand. These value shoppers are actually looking for more than price. One of the value factors is customer service contact points and flexible timing for customer service. Brands will need online, offline, social, and 24-hour hotlines to endear consumers.
March 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
The idea of “lean in” is not a new one. Lean in means to press forward like leaning in to the wind so you won’t be blown over – or leaning in because you are more than interested, involved – all in. In the past few weeks, you need to have been in a cloistered retreat to miss all the hoopla over Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” Sheryl Sandberg is an amazing woman who tells an engaging story about the workplace today and women’s own responsibility in moving up in business.
But marketers need to “lean in” as well. Marketers need to recognize the power and influence of the women in the consumer arena and to greet that knowledge with more intuitive marketing that allows today’s women to see themselves in marketing. Marketers need to be “all in” on the importance of women as consumers.
Here are just a few facts that support marketers “leaning in” on the subject of women and their purchasing behavior.
1. One-third of Women are Single and Independent. This is a growing group of women who think being independent is their most important life goal. They have more disposable income than other women. They are well educated, growing in management and happy to be single.
2. Breadwinner wives are the highest wage earners in 40% of marriages. From 2007 to 2011, women’s contribution to household income grew from 44% to 47%. Male dominated jobs suffered the most in the past recession and women were more stable in their jobs. Women now compose half of the workforce and are moving up the ladder.
3. Women don’t think marketers understand them. Women make 85% of all consumer purchases and yet, 91% of women don’t think marketeres understand them. Women want authenticity, transparency, honesty and accurate portrayal. Families are not longer nuclear, and women don’t measure success by how clean their laundry is. It’s no surprise that only 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.
4. Marketers need to embrace women’s tools – social media and smartphones. The newest figures out on social media usage from Pew show that the percentage of female internet users exceeds that of men (75% vs. 63%, respectively). A new study by Weber Shanadwick provides richer insight on this social usage. Here are some facts you can’t ignore -
- 86% have a social media account/profile with 2.2 accounts on average
- 81% Facebook is by far the most prevalent social media account
- Women spend an average of 12 hours per week using social media (nearly 2 hours/day)
- 19% say some of their best friends they know only through Facebook or Twitter
And why is this important? Well, social women are social and have influence with friends. They tell friends about products and services at a higher rate, they like or recommend services online, and they post comments and write reviews about products and services online. And they post pictures or images online.
Oh, and smartphones are the most important tools in women’s handbags. 50.9% of smartphone users are women and we are using smartphones to stay in touch with our families and friends, interact on social media, and shop, shop, SHOP!! If women can’t easily find you on their mobile phone or if you are not competitive, she will move on to another source. Moms are on their phones six hours daily and readily admit that their smartphones are more important than sex!
5. Women buy based on emotion and facts. Okay, everyone does. But marketers don’t seem to understand that in many arenas. In purchasing decisions, 83 percent are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company. One fifth of respondents said they would pay 50 percent or more if they felt the company put the customer first. And yes, we have crushes on companies. Who are those companies? Think about your own list. Mine includes Apple (oh, yes even if Samsung is making competitive products), Amazon (I smile when I see a box), Nordstrom’s (even my husband knows this is my brand), and Costco (a Saturday shopping pleasure).
So what’s a marketer to do? Portray women accurately, don’t talk down to us, appeal to our emotional side, allow us to discover things about your brand, surprise us once in awhile, lavish us with great information and advice and like any good marriage – communicate, communicate, communicate.
March 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Before I had children, my mom used to talk about her grand-dog. Now that my children are grown, I talk about my dogs and my grand-dog. Are we really pet parents? Apparently most of us are. Many of my Christmas cards this year had pictures of the dog, dressed in holiday gear.
Pet ownership is at an all-time high. Boomers — typically defined as the generation born from 1946 through 1964 — are a major reason why Americans’ spending on the likes of food, kennels, surgery, even Christmas gifts, is expected to top $55 billion this year. Half of all Boomers have a pet, and 40% of those have a dog.
According to Marketing News, pets have become replacements for the big non-furry types. Societal shifts have seen more single men and women and childless couples making pets part of the family. Now, 81% of us think of our pets as family members. Baby boomers have replaced their grown children with pets who are now the recipients of all that attention.
The Denver Post reports, “Boomers are different, for the most part,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association.“What did they call us? Helicopter parents, because we were constantly hovering over the kids. The kids left home and now we’re looking to hover over something else. And so we wind up doing it over pets.”
Petsmart’s CEO Robert Moran knows a pet parent when he sees one. Petsmart was a big winner during the holidays as pet parents rushed to buy products for the furry babies. Some 76% of pet parents bought their pets a holiday gift. That’s enough pet treats and goodies to boost Petsmart shares 50% in 2012.
The numbers are nothing to bark at; US pet parents spend an average of $5 billion on their pets during the holidays and more than $55 billion annually, according to the American Pet Owner’s Association. Sixty-two percent (62%) of US households own a pet and 46% of them have dogs. On average, dog owners spent $248 on veterinary visits (vaccine, well visits) annually and $43 on treats.
January 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Okay, we are the Lipstick Economy, but a little girly news about nail polish won’t hurt anyone. While expanding lipstick sales have been traditionally linked with recessionary periods, nail polish is the new indicator for the 21st Century. According to WWD, polish sales reached $768 million in 2012 in the U.S., which is a gain of 32% over 2011. WWD reports on a survey that claims that 33% of women in the States have at least 25 bottles of polish in their homes.
Why the booming sales? I think we all know why. There are all the colors of the rainbow now available in polish. Gel nails are all the rage and have recently been introduced as home kits. Nail art and decals are part of the personal nail expression. And polishes come in all types of finishes – cracked, sand, matte, high gloss and more.
Nail polish is all about personal expression. And it fits all sizes and ages. It’s also an inexpensive way to follow trends without too much risk. I often see grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters all in a nail salon together discussing the merits of Cajun Shrimp or My Chihuahua Bites. Oh, and the names are part of the experience. It’s cheap fun that lifts your spirits.
OPI always has wacky names and seasonal destination collections that give you and your toes a quick vacation just by polishing. Now that’s a group that understands its brand and its personality. The names are so fun that I hear women talking about them all the time and talking about their favorites. Names like Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie and Lincoln Park After Dark.
Evidently nail art has been big in hipster places like Japan for quite a while. Here in the United States, it’s a small luxury with a big return. After all, we can only see our lipstick when we look in a mirror or see the smudge on our coffee mug, but we see our hands all the time.
Fast Company reports that women are not the only ones that want a little fun. Seems men are getting into the nail obsession. Josh Espley is CEO of Blakk Cosmetics, whose first product,Alphanail, is being billed as “war paint for your fingernails.” (It’s nail polish, but for dudes.)