Holiday Marketing to Women: Online Shopping Rules!

November 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

wanders_target_bullseyeThe stores are already decked in Christmas decorations.  Santa has shown up in some malls.  The holiday television spots have started.  And retailers are planning moving up the selling season from Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.  The holiday reports point to a holiday shopping season that will start online and continue in full force through December.

 eMarketer says the US holiday season online retail commerce spending will be up 15.1% over last year and will reach $61.8 billion.  November and December spending will account for nearly one-fourth of all retail ecommerce spending for 2013.  Total holiday sales are expected to top $602 billion, up 3.9% from last year.

Deloitte‘s annual report shows that 47% of internet users expect to shop online this holiday season and 38% of respondents said they would spend at least half of their budgets online.  Where are they shopping if they are not online:  some 44% said they would shop at a discount or value department store, 28% planned to shop at a traditional department store, and 21% anticipated going to an electronics, office supply or computer store.

The National Federation of Retailers says that online holiday shoppers expect to spend 20 percent more than other shoppers.  The online shoppers expect to spend a net average $884.55 on gifts, decorations, food and more this holiday season, compared with an average $737.95 among all holiday shoppers.

The Google 2013 Holiday Shopping Intentions Study reports that  64% of women, compared with 56% of men, are more likely than men to start shopping early and purchase on the big days.  But some 41% will still be shopping in December.

And shopping has already started.  More than 40 percent of holiday shoppers said they started their shopping in October or before.   Two-thirds of online holiday shoppers started early to help spread out their budget. Another half want to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and the crowds.  This holiday season will continue to highlight the importance of  smartphones and tablets in shopping.  Shoppers will use them to research products, compare prices, look up retailer information, and redeem coupons.

Value will continue to be important.  Many say they are focusing on what they need and will be making practical purchases this year.  Google finds that 81% of shoppers will rely on discounts, 76% will take advantage of free shipping, and 60% will act on purchase incentives.


Marketing to Women: Third of Purchase Conversions Occur on Mobile

September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

ipad_1791235bWhether we have the latest smartphone or a second generation tablet, we are all using them to shop!   A recent study by AOL showed that the conversion rate for mobile purchases grew 28%.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that people actually made a purchase while on their mobile device.  A whopping 31% of conversions across four verticals occurred while using a mobile device.  And the industries with the highest conversion rates were telecom, retail, auto and travel.

Mobile Device Share of Online Conversions (% on Smartphone and Tablet; August 2013)  The findings are based on analytics from more than 500 billion online ad impressions and 100M conversion events across all devices, such as mobile phones, desktop computer and tablets.

Telecom – Purchase of a new plan or device – 37%

Retail – Make a purchase – 35%

Auto – Find dealer, request info, configure, travel – 22%

Travel – Book hotel, flight or car reservation – 20%

There has been a misconception that mobile really means only mobile – that we are using devices only on the go.  But actually 25% of our digital is spent at home and that is where we are viewing and purchasing many things.  And 75% of all mobile ad impressions were viewed within the home.  A lot of that has to do with the amazing adoption of tablets, iPads in particular.  

“What we’re learning is that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices in much the same way they do with their computers when they’re at home,” said  Chad Gallagher, director of mobile for AOL networks.  “Looking at holistic impression volume, 25 percent of all digital impressions are consumed on a mobile device at home – which speaks to why users are performing complex functionality on their mobile devices. The data means that companies must understand mobile tracking and enable technology that can run across all platforms to account for the massive business opportunity on mobile devices. Net-net, we need to re-think how we market through the tablet. Marketers are realizing that they can’t afford to run desktop-only campaigns anymore.”

Historically, advertisers focus on branding or driving the purchase of mobile-centric offerings.   The AOL points to an opportunity to drive conversions for a much wider array of products and services through mobile.


Marketing to Women: Cheerios Win! Racists Lose!

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Have you seen the new Cheerios spot?  The one with the adorable little girl who is part of an interracial family?  The spot drew the attention of YouTube racists who flooded the YouTube channel with comments not in step with most of the country.

Americans like the ad. In fact, according to data from Ace Metrix, “Good for Your Heart” (called “Just Checking” on YouTube) tested the highest of six new Cheerios ads this year and garnered attention and likeability scores 9% and 11% “above the current 90-day norm for cereals.”  The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi,  “appealed to all age/gender demographics with the exception of males over 50.” Don’t worry, that’s not a racism issue.  It seems that ads with babies tend to perform poorly with this demographic regardless of the race of the child.

In fact, if you look on the YouTube channel now, there have been 46,172 like the ad, while only 2,171 disliked it.

Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, told, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”

And let’s face it, General Mills is not trying to make a societal statement.  They are just reflecting the diversity of America.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. households that included interracial or “interethnic opposite-sex married couples” grew by 28 percent between 2000 and 2010 and now stand at 10 percent of all married couples.  Among infants younger than 1, there are 17 mixed-race children for every 100 infants whose parents said they are black alone. A decade ago, there were nine.

More than half of US babies born last year were non-white.  

And while we are still trying to figure if we are black or white, or both, white is a diminishing color.  Yes, we have crossed the tipping point.   The Census Bureau says that for the first time, most babies born in the U.S last year were non-white.  Among young people today, diversity is so prevalent that one hopes that racism will quietly recede.  Minorities increased 1.9 per cent to 114.1 million, or 36.6 per cent of the total U.S. population, lifted by prior waves of immigration that brought in young families and boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years.  The growth in the US has stalled some during the recession, but we can certainly look forward to a day when the minorities become majorities in the US.


Marketing to Women: Mobile Advertising Yet?

April 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

Smartphones now comprise 57% of the mobile market in the United States.  By next year, there will be more mobile devices than there are people in the world and more mobile phones than desktop PCs.

mobile-adsWith all that mobile action, why then is mobile advertising not growing as fast as smartphone adoption?  According to IAB, some 53% of agencies say they don’t have experience in mobile advertising.  And 70% say they would purchase more if clients understood it better.  Translation:  Agencies and clients need to go to school on mobile.

The Google Factor

mobileimage2So here’s a tip for all the late adopters:  Mobile ads work!  Or at least that’s what Google says.  Mobile ads appear to be the most effective paid method of driving page likes, and Google reports that smartphone users are unusually responsive to advertising. Forty-two percent of users click on mobile ads they like, found the Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users survey. Of those, 49 percent go on to make a purchase, while 35 percent visit the advertiser’s site, and 27 percent call the business in question.  A lot of that clicking is on local sites;  95% of people look for local info on their smartphone.

All that smartphone usage leads to smartphone shopping. While strolling the aisles, 49% of us compare prices, 44 percent read reviews of stuff while we shop, and 34 percent are using their phones to check the store’s inventory.

Gender differences in shopping:  In a new study by Millennial Media and comScore, findings show men are more likely to use phones to check product availability, compare prices, find deals or make online purchases. Women are more likely than men to use phones in stores to text or call friends about products, send pictures of products, or research product features.

Mobile-Optimized Sites and Apps Necessary

Those that will win in mobile will have sites that are responsive and won’t have roadblocks like Flash.  I was working with a client recently, and I tried to view her website on my iPad.  Because her site was built in Flash, it was not at all accessible on any Apple devices.

Right now, people spend more time on apps than mobile websites.  Tablets seem to be the online shopping tool of choice.  Important features include side-by-side product comparison, 360-degree zoom, customer ratings, and an easy checkout process are most important to shoppers.

So let’s go mobile!

Marketing to Women: In 2016 44% of Retail Sales Impacted by Web

April 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

iStock_000018760804SmallWhether we buy online or research online, all retail is going to be impacted by online activity.  Not ten years from now, but just a couple of years from now.  How can that be, you ask, when only 5.4% of retail sales were reported as e-commerce in the fourth quarter of 2012?

Well, here’s the news bulletin.  While online retail sales are a smaller portion, many of today’s sales are web-influenced.  In fact, 70% of consumers research online before they make an in-store purchase.  And the average shopper may be using 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase decision.   Social media and mobile continue to become important  influencers in this shopping behavior.

Moms continue to be the heavy shoppers and one-third of all moms own a connected device.  Moms spend 6.1 hours per day on average on their smartphones – that’s more than magazines, TV or radio.   62% use shopping apps and 46% took action after seeing a mobile ad.  Mobile usage is growing among moms.  It’s  40% higher today than in 2009 for these mobile moms.  The statistics for moms shopping on tablets are off the charts – 97% made a purchase using their tablet in the last month.  And 46% actually want to receive information while they are in a store.

Warning to Retailers:  many retailers have been shown to be slow to adapt, and are without tablet websites or iPad sites.  When you don’t keep up, you are giving the competition the edge and giving iPad shopping startups a shot, like Pickie or or others.

For more statistics on shopping, read more here.

Marketing to Women: Women Still Dominate Retail Shopping

April 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

A new report from Nielsen confirms that women still control the spending power in the US.  Some people estimate that we control $5-15 trillion annually.  Now, I know that saying women still dominate retail shopping is like saying that it still snows at the North Pole, but there are some shifts going on that are interesting.

The report points out that men are taking a more active role in the shopping process than they have in the past. Woo-hoo!  Between 2004 and 2012, U.S. women reduced the number of trips they made across most retail channels, while men increased their visits to all outlets except grocery and drug stores.

1364480712730However women are still spending more money per trip than men in all shopping channels.  Women drive the larger stock-up or planned trips and outspend males by $14.31 per trip in supercenters and by $10.32 per trip in grocery stores.

So basically, women are still doing the majority of shopping, but the data tends to suggest that men are beginning to assume more shopping duties beyond the trip to the convenience store for beer and chips.

Talking to the female shopper is more important than ever.  So those  at Nielsen are concerned, like we are, about the emotional and rational content of marketing and advertising messages.

Women remember more and differently than men do, so talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her attention to detail. Layering emotional decision-making opportunities with rational information will increase purchase intent and will have strong “sticking” power. According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.

In other words, women form value opinions based on both emotional and rational reasons to buy.  That’s why the Darth Vader spot for Volkswagen was a game changer.  It spoke to both men and women about the special moments of family life yet focused on a buying feature of the car.  And yes, women are the buyers of most cars too.

Marketing to Moms: Four Things to Consider Before Developing an App

April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

iStock_000020962728XSmallConsidering 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.

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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+.

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