Marketing to Women: Ten Must-Knows for Holiday Marketing

September 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

It’s just turned September but the holiday merchandise is moving into the stores, and marketers are wondering if the 2010 Holiday Season will be Ho-Ho-Ho or Humbug.

Crystal Ball Forecast:  Most forecasters see that this season’s fourth quarter will show a 1-2% increases, surpassing the declines of 2008-2009.

In a recent survey about holiday shopping, 64% of the people said they’ll be spending less on everyone this holiday season, so that means marketers will have to work a little harder to make sure it’s their company that gets the cash and not their competitor.

eMarketer has a post, “Online Holiday Shopping Preview: What Retailers Need to Know,” reporting that 42.7% of the people surveyed said they would only buy gifts that were on sale and 36% said they’d be doing more comparison shopping before forking over the cash.

While you cannot predict what will happen to the shopper mindset and the economy, according to the Experian 2010 Holiday Marketer:  Benchmark Trend Report, there are some facts and trends that are useful to make your marketing more effective this year.  By the way, I think this is a must read for marketers, full of lots of interesting facts that will spawn new ideas.

1.  Most popular day for visits to online retail sales will be Thanksgiving Day. Seems there is nothing like a little web surfing while we are digesting our turkey and watching football on television.  No doubt, may are plotting their strategy for the biggest sale day of the year, Black Friday.  So make sure all of your holiday information is on your website and that you have have implemented an email strategy that will make sure you are in the consideration set for shopping.  Make sure you have gift suggestions or a gift guide and holiday countdown.  Second most important day for visits?  The Day after Christmas, of course, so that we can scarf up the bargains we didn’t buy before Christmas.

2.  Christmas in September.   Black Friday searches will begin in September this year, with most happening in the week prior to Thanksgiving, and most retailers will start advertising holidays sales earlier.

3.  Emails are preferred by Santa. Estimates are for an overall email volume increase of 15-20% for this season compared to last year.  Days that showed the spikes were Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.    Across all industries, email campaigns with offers like free shipping and percent-off had higher transaction rates, revenue per email and more than double the average order.  And by the way, we are addicted to our emails.  We check it all the time, including the 72% who check it when we are off work.

4.  Free Shipping will get women’s attention. Last year, free shipping orders with no minimum spend had 70% higher transaction rates.

5.  Gift cards continue in importance. Promotion of gift cards in holiday email messages more than tripled transaction rates for multichannel retailers.  Timing is important here.  Those last minute shoppers will need those gift cards at the last minute.

6.  Know your Echo Mondays. Of course we know Black Friday and Thanksgiving but do you know about Echo Monday?  Those are the Mondays between Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving) and Christmas.  Why are these important days?  Well, 84% of women shop online at work.  That’s the day when we have to get organized and get those orders into Santa.  Timing will be everything in getting your messages seen.

7.  Santa will need to be more social than just a fixture in the mall. Having a social media plan will be as important as your store, your website and your email program.  In a typical month, 66% of online adults visit a social networking site, with women surpassing men in this activity.  In 2009, some 68% have shown support for products, brand, artists or other services by becoming a fan or liking them, up from 57% in 2008.  Nearly one in five social network visitors say they search sites before making decisions on purchases, also a growing trend from 2008.  Make sure you are collecting email addresses through contests and other engagements on social media.

8.  Smart Mamas have smartphones to use for shopping. With the rise in smartphones, women are increasingly using them for shopping research while shopping.  Twenty-four percent of online consumers say they expect to be comparing prices and 22 percent expect to be purchasing items from their mobile phone.  Marketers have to make sure they have a website optimized for mobile.  You only have 3-7 seconds to keep a consumer’s attention before they flip over to someone who does have a mobile site.  Oh, and about mobile messaging, we don’t mind getting texts from retailers we like and trust if the information is timely and important.  Confirmation of appointments, information about delivery dates, and last minute sales and promotions are the type of mobile.  Sounds like a good thing for Santa on Christmas Eve.

9.  Let Mama decide how she wants to communicate with you. It’s all about choice.   Make sure you have covered your bases on the multiple ways that shoppers can interact with you — online, in-store, shop online and pick-up in-store, 1-800 consumer line, personal shoppers, and catalog.

10.  More than “naughty and nice” groups of shoppers. Simmons has developed a segmentation system for shoppers.   It is more important than ever to know where your most profitable shoppers are and how to address them.

Virtual Shoppers:Twenty-six percent, the majority of this American consumer segment, go for the bargains and use the Internet to help find discounts. Interestingly, one of the Mosaic USA types that indexes the highest for this particular segment is America’s Wealthiest.

Status Strivers: Twenty percent think that shopping is fun and recreational; they like to browse as much as buy, and they’re willing to spend the money and time necessary to keep up with trends. Incontrast to Virtual Shoppers, the Mosaic USA types that comprise this segment include several lower-income groups, revealing the aspirational nature of status striving.

Upscale Clicks: Seventeen percent of shoppers in America are knowledgeable consumers who buy either in-store or online, always carefully research purchases online first, and shop around and compare prices before buying. Several suburban and urban Mosaic USA types make a strong showing in this group.

Just the Essentials: Fourteen percent of Americans make up this group of consumers who primarily purchase necessities; they know what they want and are not impulsive shoppers. In contrast to UpscaleClicks, rural types make a strong showing for this segment.

Original Traditionalist: Thirteen percent are loyal to their brands, stores, services and country. They’re knowledgeable, are the most environmentally responsible group, and incorporate green practiceson a regular basis.

Mall Maniacs: Ten percent of shoppers in America are not just consumers; they’re “try-sumers.” They like to try new products, stores and styles and connect and interact with preferred brands, and shopping brings enjoyment to them.  Hispanic Mosaic USA types index strongly for this segment.

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