Gift Giving Benefits Retailers Two Times

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.

 

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Convenience is the New Currency

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.

Women and their Love-Hate Relationship with Brands

July 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

635948590805299733-1825250646_e451f-love-over-hate1New Research Study Will Be Revealed at Red Letter Day.  Here’s a Preview.

Women have always had an ambiguous relationship with brands. Why? Women expect things that brands don’t deliver.

In at time, where marketers wax poetic about brand love, we are on a mission to find out what separates the famous love couple. Well, as they say, it’s complicated.

Brand Wise and Lipstick Economy just completed a study of 3,390 women representing the three most active buyer generations – Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. We wanted to find out why 90% of women think brands don’t understand them.

And the results are fascinating. Women actually like to get information from brands. Only 13% of women are really annoyed at brands that are on social media. And more than 90% of women sign up for emails from brands.

Maybe women see shopping as part of their role in life. Women currently make 85% of all consumer purchases and they are the primary shopper for a myriad of expected categories like food and clothing. But women are the primary shopper of most categories, including 79% of healthcare decisions, 76% of travel and vacation decisions, 72% of housing decisions, 70% of restaurant decisions, 67% of financial decisions, and 53% of automotive decisions.

Our research shows that the biggest gap in this brand relationship tends to be over chronic issues: truth and accuracy, customer service, a realistic view of women, respect for women’s intelligence and an understanding of the multi-faceted lives women lead today.

I know this reads like a romance novel. The issues around trust run deep. Women expect deals, promotions, ideas and authenticity. So they seek out advice from their own experiences, friends and families and even online reviews.

To learn more about this research study and more ways that brands are hitting the market with women, sign up here for the Red Letter Day Marketing to Women Event, August 5 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Mall Shopping No Longer Cool

April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment

1110_macys-nyc_650x4551The 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

 

 

 

Rey from Star Wars is Our New Girl Crush

February 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

da821a3413019200569cccb82e2f84db88211185Disney 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.”

 

Marketing to Women in 2016: Ten Trends

January 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

Marketing to Women

Here are some insights that will help us navigate the New Year of Marketing to Women. They are less crystal ball thoughts and more practical information for the new year.

  1. Social is marketing. Women are embracing new platforms of social media and marketing needs to follow. Instagram is now larger than Twitter with more than 400 million users, with 59% using Instagram daily. Some 55% of online adults use Instagram, composed of 31% women and 24% men. On average, millennial moms have 3.4 social media accounts, versus the 2.6 for moms in general. (Weber Shandwick)
  2. Marketing to Moms means marketing to Millennials. Currently, one-third of millennials have children and that number will continue to grow in 2016. Millennials increase their smartphone usage by 63% after becoming moms, and they spend 35% more time on their mobile device than on their PC or laptop. Those numbers keep growing—a trend we expect to see continue in 2016.  Some 81% of millennial moms researched or purchased items via on their phones while shopping in-store this year. And one in four moms do more than half of their shopping online. (BabyCenter/IAB)
  3. Women expect to shop anywhere, anytime. The online shopping tipping point happened this holiday season proving the importance of omnichannel and smartphone shopping. Retail sales were up 7.9% between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, with brick and mortar sales down while online sales grew 20%. And Amazon seems to be the touchstone. A poll conducted by CNBC this holiday season found that about 49 percent of shoppers say they ‘‘always’’ or ‘‘most of the time’’ browse Amazon when they shop online. Amazon says almost 70 percent of its customers this holiday season shopped via a mobile device and the number of Amazon app shoppers more than doubled in the same period. Amazon set the bar high this year with their same day Prime deliveries. In Seattle, Amazon Santa delivered its final pre-Christmas package at 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Free shipping seems so yesterday in this last minute world.
  4. Generation Z cannot be ignored. While some are just catching on to Millennials, it seems that Centennials or Generation Z (anyone born after 1995) are a new consumer not to be ignored. Gen Z makes up one-quarter of our country’s population, and by 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers. Gen Z is exerting a powerful influence on their families’ spending. Indeed, 93% of parents say that their children shape their families’ spending and household purchases. Start studying this generation and see how they fit into your consumer world.
  5. Email is still relevant. The widely reported “death of email” was overblown. Research tells us that emails are hugely relevant for women, but they must be mobile-friendly. Best performing emails need to have a special offer, coupon or deal.
  6. The :15 video is the standard. Life is busy and women don’t have time to watch long videos. Consider how-to and product videos showing how the product is being used. Website videos still have a place as well as a source of buying information.
  7. The reviews are in. Nearly 70 percent of consumers and 82 percent of millennials seek opinions before buying, according to Mintel’s survey of 2,000 U.S. adults. Fifty-six percent of respondents said online reviews from people they don’t know help them decide which products or services to consider, and half said they would pay more for a product with positive online reviews. Women rely on reviews more than men. Top factors influencing women to purchase a product (84%) was a recommendation from family, friends or peers.  On average women research 10 sources of information before buying a product (versus two for men). Brands need to give women an opportunity to learn more about them and give them the tools to try, share and recommend. Monitoring your reviews and providing information to buyers is extremely important. Research has shown that 42 percent of customers who complain via social media expect a response within 60 minutes. In addition, 52 percent expect responses at night and on weekends, even if it is not during the business hours.
  8. Brand values matter. Women expect brands to be more open and transparent about their philosophy and values. Brands can’t just sell warmth and empathy in big splashy media but not deliver when they meet the consumer online or in-store. Women expect brand service and brand delivery to be warm and empathetic.
  9. Marketing to women is not marketing to gender or just showing women in ads. Brands need to consider the various multiple roles of women and focus on her areas of interest – children, health, business, shopping.  
  10. Bring back humanity. In a time of big data, programmatic digital and native experiences, the technology seemed to trump the message. In 2016, it is time for a return to the type of brand relationships that win over hearts and minds. We can no longer “sell”. It’s time for valuable content, engagement, personalized communication, and living experiences.

 

 

Marketing to Women: Eight Tips to Optimize Your Retail Layout

January 1, 2016 § 1 Comment

mobile-shoppingI 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.

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

 

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