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.
September 30, 2017 § Leave a comment
Beyonce’ may have had a hit with Put a Ring on It but there is a growing consumer trend among young adults who are not married, not living with a partner and are without children. These women are “single indies” and they are an emerging consumer segment buying their own rings – and everything else.
There are some 31 million “Indie Women” constituting about a third of all adult women; they tend to have more disposable income than other women, spending $1 trillion each year — $22 billion on vehicles (five times more than independent men), $20 billion on entertainment, and $50 billion on food; they over-index for television by 12%, watching 15% to 64% more late night programs than average women; and they are multi-screen users.
They are also more socially engaged online both as info seekers and as advocates, being 6% more likely to pay attention to online consumer ratings and reviews, and 12% more likely to say their friends ask them for health and nutrition advice. And they are 10% more likely to say they are pretty much first among friends to shop at a new store.
And they are successful, being the first generation of women to reverse the ceiling in school and at work. They are 57% of undergrads, 59% of masters degree holders, and 52% of managerial positions. The appeal of this market is beginning to grow among brands seeking to reach the younger audience.
2014 was the first year there were more single American adults than married ones in the U.S.
One of the interesting purchase trends is jewelry. A study on jewelry purchases by the market research firm Mintel, conducted in 2012, showed that more than half of the women who bought for themselves did so simply to treat themselves. Occasions for women buying jewelry for themselves include marking an important life event such as birthday, career success or certain occasion, a bonding experience with someone like a friend or child, or anniversaries like surviving cancer.
And back to Beyonce’ — it seems that women are really buying diamonds for themselves instead of waiting on a groom. The disposable household income of the independent women buying diamonds is more than $90,000.
The idea of “Treat Yo’ Self” was born out of a 2011 Parks and Recreation episode in which Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Donna Meagle (Retta) spend a day celebrating themselves by buying stuff like “clothes, fragrances, massages, mimosas, and fine leather goods.” When it aired, the “treat yo’ self” catchphrase immediately became part of millennials’ vocabulary. So now advertisers have used the phrase to connect with this self-purchase trend.
Marketers are developing new approaches and new language for self-purchasing women, trying to appeal to them.
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 § 1 Comment
We couldn’t believe it when Barbie stopped by to talk to us about her new curves. Was it Beyonce or Barbie? Oh well, her new dolls now strut four new body types and, even more skin tones and hairstyles. It seems her bosses at Mattel have been putting Barbie through a transformation in the past two years to make her more like real girls.
There has been a long-time criticism of dolls that do not portray accurate body images. Since her introduction in 1959, the Barbie doll has been at a center of debate because of her unattainable female image, seen as harmful to shaping children’s sense of ideal. Adult women still agonize over their shape and weight.
Barbie says Mattel has responded to create images of women that give girls and boys a better reflection of diversity and body types. She wants to move into a new era of body acceptance that is represented by not one but 33 different versions of Barbie – four different body types, 22 eye colors, seven different skin tones, different face shapes, and 24 hair styles. The original 11.5″ Barbie represents a woman whose figure measurements were 38-18-34.
The new debut is not solely a matter of cultural relevance. The once trendy Barbie powerhouse brand has suffered in recent years as girls have turned to other toys and electronic options. The brand has experienced double-digit declines in recent years. Yet, some 92% of American girls age 3-12 have owned a Barbie.
Children seem to understand and appreciate that the new Barbie dolls now look more like them with different types of hair and body shapes and feet that will fit into running shoes as well as runway shoes.
Mattel has been working to shape Barbie into realistic body standards including feet that are not perpetually shaped to fit into high heels.
Barbie told us the new shapes will be available for sale March 1, with some 33 new versions of the fashionista available.
Barbie says she hopes the new dolls will be a better reflection of what true beauty is. But Barbie says that even her new look is not without criticism. Some say that the doll is still focused only on appearance, fashion and stereotypical interests of women.
As I talked to Barbie, I thought about my own childhood. I never owned a Barbie doll but I did have lots of dolls, beautiful ones that did represent more normal shapes. Was my mother ahead of her time? I don’t know but I do know that self-esteem is shaped by more than a doll.