Marketing to Moms: Two Critical Issues for Holiday Sales Success

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Where are your customers and how are they accessing you this holiday season?  This year two issues must be addressed – your online presence and your mobile accessibility.

Holiday shopping has already begun and marketers will need to understand the differences that are occurring in the marketplace to properly get their share of the purse and command Mom’s attention.  I was struck by two pieces of information that are critical to know this year.

Critcal Issue #1:  Fifty-eight percent (58%) of consumers are very likely to purchase their holiday gifts online this year versus 41% at brick and mortar stores.  According to the 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey by Channel Advisor, consumers appear to be cautiously optimistic about the economy and 41% say that the economy has not affected their shopping habits.  However, there are several “new norms” that retailers must embrace for this shopping season.  Shopping begins with research online.  Whether we are shopping or know exactly what they want, 86% of start with a Google search.

Qualitative research done by The Lipstick Economy in 2010 has shown that online search is done for three reasons:

1. Price/Value Comparison.  Shoppers want to know what the expected price should be for an item.  Research gives them real time information on price, availability, customer reviews and other features of online shopping like free shipping.  By the way, folks like Amazon have made free shipping a deal maker.  And with no sales tax, saved time, easy gift wrap, and good return policies, online shopping has become very attractive to budget and time stretched Moms.  In fact, hunting the deal has become the favorite female sport.  Another trend this year will be online gift cards that can be purchased online and given for online purchases.

2. Variety, Selection and Availability.  We women know that brick and mortar stores have been more leanly stocked during the downturn in the economy, and online offers the ability to locate hard to find sizes and less available items.  Looking for extra long sheets, size 14 shoes for a growing teenager or a special  head for a lacrosse stick ?  Online is the place to be.  Seeking the items that our children have requested sends us on online journeys that provide much richer shopping experiences than we can find in our neighborhood.

3.  Control of My Budget. While some shoppers are feeling better about the economy, most are still watching their budget and making more considered purchases. The ability to make a purchase and not be tempted by the array of products offered in a store makes online shopping preferable for keeping a budget.    A report from Fashion Week says women are making “curatorial purchases” this year, adding a fashionable bag, blouse or sweater to update their wardrobe rather than buying whole outfits.  The ability to shop for individual items that fit into what you already have makes online the perfect match.

Critical Issue #2  Women will be using their smartphone as a shopping aid this year. With the smartphone being the mobile tool for shopping research, marketers must place more importance on their mobile web presence.  According to a June 2010 survey by web performance monitoring firm Gomez, a third of mobile internet users in the US say their most common problem when browsing the mobile web is site formatting. Slightly fewer complained of slow load times, and nearly a fifth said the worst problem was with functionality.

This chart from eMarketer clearly shows the problems. It’s all about speed and readability.  Some important things to check — look at your website on a variety of phones to see if it is optimized appropriately and has the necessary information.  Also make sure that the site provides for quick download.

Smartphones are already a quarter of all mobile phone users, and 90% of all phones sold now have web browsers.  One out of three users will access the web through their phone.

And here’s the distressing part:  Only 12% of the top internet retailers have sites optimized for mobile phones.

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