May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
Gift giving is an important part of retail sales. It also represents an emotional bond made between the giver and the recipient. Retailers should recognize the dual rewards in growing their gifting business because you are touching two targeted consumers at the same time – the purchaser and the recipient. Gift giving strategy can provide exponential results for marketers if done correctly.
Unity Marketing estimates that $1 out every $10 spent in the typical retail store, (general merchandise, apparel, furnishings and others) is spent to buy a gift. Gifts represent approximately $128 billion in spending in 2017. Consumers are typically buying a gift every one to two months.
So what’s behind the science of giving? The act of gifting is typically meant to communicate feelings for and with another, fostering stronger social relationships. New research by the Wharton School looked at what type of gifts build deeper personal relationships, a material gift or an experiential gift.
Experiential gifts win over material gifts
Despite gift givers’ tendencies to give material possessions, material gifts do less to foster meaningful relationships between gift givers and gift recipients. The researchers report, “Experiential gifts, in contrast, make recipients feel closer to the person who gave them the gift, regardless of whether the experience is consumed together with the gift giver. Experiential gifts have this effect because of the emotion they evoke when consumed, particularly when the emotion is shared.”
“Our findings demonstrate that giving experiential gifts is more effective at fostering closer relationships, and therefore implies that gift givers should feel happier as a result of giving an experiential gift compared to a material gift,”
What are experiential gifts? An experience could be providing services like a meal, spa outing, horseback riding, or vacation. But don’t dismay – material gifts can offer experiential aspects – candles, music, books, toys, food and drink items and even things that are nice to the touch – a furry throw, a cashmere pillow or silk pajamas.
Even the actual event of purchasing the gift can be experiential in a story setting or online by telling a story, allowing for touch and feel, and conjuring up warm feelings.
February 27, 2018 § Leave a comment
We do a good bit of research on what drives purchases in retail. Our research among female retail consumers points to the truth that convenience is today’s currency. In fact, it is so important that it might be the most powerful force shaping our lives and economy, according to a recent New York Times article called it “The Tyranny of Convenience”.
Just think about the types of convenience that exists today – mobile banking, Amazon shopping, grocery pick-up and delivery services, all kinds task apps, movie apps, on-demand movies, ride-sharing, meal services, clothing services and more.
While conventional wisdom might think that women spend more time shopping,; men spend three hours shopping, versus women spending two and a half, and men are twice as likely to visit more stores than women do.
For your business to have cultural relevance today, it is imperative to understand what convenience means to your customers. What is convenient for your business may not be convenient for the customer. To your customer, their need may be same-day pick-up, self-checkout, more convenient hours or online chat to facilitate online shopping. It may be omni-shopping with the ability to shop online and pick up at the store.
A new research study by Catalyst, a marketing agency specializing in the retail sector, found that the top five motivators for brick and mortar shoppers were convenience, efficiency, good customer service, and product quality, with value important to all.
Time Well Spent. It seems that if shoppers are going to take the time to come to your store, you need to provide them with an experience that equates to value and convenience. Think about an Apple Store with its live demo of products, workshops, informed sales representatives, and iPad checkout.
Do a convenience audit of your business. Talk to your customers about what they value in the shopping experience. Don’t be afraid to make changes.
April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment
The mall is no longer the cultural center of consumerism. The crown jewels of mall shopping like Macy’s, J Crew and Sears are suffering. Some predict 15% of malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next ten years. In 2015 major retailers saw sales move away from brick and mortar stores while online giant Amazon increased sales 97%.
There are many reasons contributing to this decline but most importantly, there is a new savvy shopper out there who wants or needs new experiences.
- The mall as a hangout or destination is no longer necessary. Young people used to go to the mall to see and be seen. Today, social media, text messages and video chats replace some of that social activity. Movies can be downloaded. And goods are accessible online. So, the number of retail visits continues to fall. Time saving is paramount for many.
- The middle class shopper has moved on. Only upscale shopping centers are surviving. The affluent are keeping luxury brands in business, but middle class shoppers have left semi-luxury brands in favor of cheaper alternatives. The middle class shopper is less financially able to shop malls. Upscale malls in “super zip codes” are doing well, but the middle class mall is suffering. Middle class shoppers are seeking out dollar stores and stand alone retailers like Walmart and T. J. Maxx.
- Savvy shoppers are in control. Educated shoppers know where to get the best deal. Shopping decisions start online with price comparison. Some 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use a mobile device for shopping activities according to a Nielsen report. While 59% said online shopping was actually their favorite way to shop, many still prefer going to a store after checking prices online. Purchases are moving online, particularly with the prevalence of free shipping at many online retailers. Purchases are going to mega sellers like Amazon, department store online shops, boutiques, designer sites and buying clubs like Gilt and RueLaLa. With this type of price scrutiny, retailers have moved to heavy promotional selling.
- Fashion is moving to more year-round clothing. Traditional seasonal shopping has been replaced by just-in-time shopping to more closely follow current weather patterns. Year-round shopping and the prevalence of discount fashion like H&M has changed patterns and total expenditures.
- The retailer options have continued to grow. Premium outlet centers has replaced the mall for many bargain seekers and sales continue to grow. But discounting by major retailers and the continued growth of online shopping may make outlet centers less attractive for savvy shoppers in the future.
February 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Disney seemed to think that only boys want action figures so our new crush Rey was left out of the toy line-up for the newest Star Wars movie. Guess those toy makers forgot who buys toys for their children. The dominant toy shopper is female. A social media campaign brought the omission to light, so now you can buy Rey toys.
We asked Girls To The Moon founder Courtenay Rogers her take on the Star Wars Rey and here’s what she offered.
“I’m extremely late to the Star Wars bandwagon. Like, over 30 years late.
My brother saw all of the movies when we were kids but I had no interest in watching movies so I missed the excitement the first time around, though we had every toy imaginable in our house. I never really got around to watching the famous movies until I realized my daughter wanted to see them so we decided to spend some quality time understanding what the fuss was all about.
The “original” three movies were very intriguing to watch, especially from an 8-year old’s perspective. She couldn’t stop talking about how old fashioned they were and even at 37, the difference between cinematography in the late 1970’s and 1980’s amazed me. The plots were interesting and the stories were compelling, but I didn’t end up a huge Star Wars fan. But then we saw the 7th film, The Force Awakens.
This movie is exceptional and my absolute favorite part is the addition of Rey, who is basically the main character (in my opinion) and made such an impression on me that I want to watch all of the movies again. Rey is a badass. Plain and simple. She is strong, intelligent, driven, powerful and independent. She is everything I strive to be and everything I want my daughter to strive for as she grows up. Yet, when merchandise started appearing to promote the movie and even after it was released, Rey was nowhere to be found.
A set of Hasbro figurines that were created to coincide with the release of the film didn’t include the heroine and fans took to social media to express their outrage. The #WheresRey hashtag on Twitter took off, targeted at figurines that includes Chewbacca, Finn and Kylo Ren but excludes Rey, the female protagonist of the film played by Daisy Ridley. The film’s director JJ Abrams even joined the conversation saying that this was “preposterous and wrong” while addressing the Television Critic’s Association in early January.
Forbes reports that “the assumption underlying each of these promotional choices discounts women’s buying power. Earlier this year, the MPAA released its annual breakdown of movie audience demographics, revealing that women constituted 52% of moviegoers in 2014. This trend, the study further explains, has prevailed since 2010. And though the highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada skewed 59 percent male with Guardians of the Galaxy, the second-place position went to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, whose audience was 57 percent female. And the movie was fronted by a woman. Since Star Wars — also featuring a female lead — is expected to break all kinds of records in a year that’s seen more than a few flops, it’s a fair guess that women will be a large part of the audience.” Read the full article here.
I’m officially a Star Wars convert solely because of Rey and I hope to see many more characters like this one on the big screen. She’s a wonderful role model for young girls and older girls alike, and she deserves the same amount of fanfare as the rest of the characters in the film. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, get some friends together and make a girl’s night out of it. You will leave feeling like you can save the universe, all by yourself.”
January 1, 2016 § 1 Comment
I have worked with retailers for most of my career and sharp retailers know that every single foot of store space needs to work hard. Spend some time in your store observing customers and what they are doing. And then try some tried and true store layout tips gleaned from retail consultants Kizer & Bender that might help get your stores optimized for the best selling environment.
- Allow for a “decompression zone”. When consumers enter a store, 90% will typically turn to the right. Shoppers typically don’t notice merchandising displays within 15 feet of the entrance. The first thing that customers are noticing is your general decor, your brand statement about your store – walls, flooring, accent colors, fixtures, pleasing smells and comfortable aisle widths. Your checkout should never be in the right front of your store.
- Check your Vista. According to Kizer and Bender, stand inside your front door just beyond the Decompression Zone (about 5’ inside the store) and spread your arms out at shoulder height with your index fingers extended. The space you see is called the Vista – the area that builds a shopper’s first impression of your store. The space inside the Vista needs to be clean, uncluttered and full of not-to-be-missed product. This is where you should place your Speed Bump displays. Speed Bumps are just past the decompression zone and are the place for those attractive items. Speed bumps can be special fixturing or small tables for display.
- Color is important. Neutral colors are used in 80% of all stores, with strong accent colors used sparingly. The wrong colors can change the whole shopping experience.
- Choose a story layout that fits your business. There are three types of store layouts– the Grid Layout typically used in supermarkets and big box stores, the Loop (Racetrack) layout that creates a clearly defined path through the store, and the Free Flow Layout, typically used by specialty retailers, where they find new merchandise displays at every turn. Make sure you are always leading a customer somewhere. Most stores use a circular path to get the customer to walk through the store and back to the front. But keep “merchandising outposts” in their path so they can discover items as they walk through the store.
- The Power Wall. Walk inside the front door, stop just past your decompression zone and turn right. That’s your Power Wall, the place to display important departments, new and seasonal items, high demand and high-profit items.
- Where’s the Bananas? Every store has a high volume necessity item like bananas or motor oil that customers always look for. Put them in a back place along the shopping loop that encourages your shopper to shop the entire store.
- Store Fixturing is a tool. Keep in mind the purpose of the fixture. You aren’t supposed to see the fixture. You should see the merchandise.
- Check out should be placed at a natural stopping point in the shopping experience or path you have created. Have a counter big enough for shoppers to place their bags and/or personal belongings. Last chance for encouraging impulse or “last minute” items.
And don’t forget technology in today’s world. The technology can include digital screens, iPads to aid shopping and online helps. Does your store have WiFi? It should because shoppers are using their smartphones in-store.