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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Five Things to Know About 2014 Back-to-School Marketing

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

UnknownBack-to-school is in full swing now.  The traditional back-to-school season has changed and marketers need to make note.  The reason for many of these changes are year-round school schedules, just-in-time shopping, online shopping habits and budgets.  The back-to-school season has become more of a pinnacle of an ongoing activity than a confined season.

How big is back-to-school?  The average family will spend $670 on shopping this year, up 5% from 2013 according to the National Retail Federation.   However, 21% of families with children in elementary, middle school or high school reported in a NRF survey they will spend less this year.

Did you know?  Combined school and college spending was estimated at $72.5 billion, making it the second-biggest season for retailers. Winter holiday ranks first at $84 billion and Mother’s Day comes in at third at $21 billion.

Here are five things to know about this year.

1.  Back-to-school shopping starts in July.  Americans began their search as early as June last year.  Google conducted a study during the 2013 season and found that 23% of respondents began back-to-school research before July 4, with nearly two-thirds (65%) starting by the end of July. In contrast, only 35% said they made a purchase by the end of July.  174621

BTS-Content-ConsumptionThe spending is spread out over several months, with traditional spending in August and September.  The early shoppers take advantage fresh merchandise, early bird sales and comparison shopping, while the later shoppers are necessity shopping and maybe taking advantage of end-of-season sales.

One difference in the early and traditional shopper may be their form of shopping.  The early shoppers are using their desktop and tablets to shop, while the more traditional are using mobile devices and shopping in-store.

During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012.  There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

2.  Just in time shopping.   The mall has been replaced by online and teens are constantly shopping for new ideas.  The world of disposable fashion has lead teens to take advantage of affordable retailers and wait to see what their friends are wearing.  Digital-native students are shopping constantly throughout the year, even if they’re not buying.

Just-in-time shopping also shows that as many as 50% parents only buy what is essential for back to school and then buy additional needs during the holiday season, when they expect the best deals.  It is a way of spreading out the shopping expense to make it more manageable for their budget.  And parents are saving money by buying store-brand items, shopping sales and using coupons.

3. Online is #3 destination.   eMarketer forecasts that digital sales for the back-to-school season will increase 16.0% in 2014.  One-third of all back-to-school shoppers will make an online purchase, and 45% of back-to-college shoppers will head online.  According to Deloitte, among top back-to-school shopping destinations in 2013, 36 percent of consumers shopped online, moving online shopping to the third destination behind discount and office supply/technology stores, a significant jump from the No. 8 position in 2012.

9754-1652-140701-Back_to_School-l4.  College Online Spending Big.  More than $3 of every $5 aimed at back-to-school clothes and supplies is spent on college-bound students.   A PM Digital report shows online shoppers stealing 37% of this market as the online college segment spends over $1,100 per family.  In fact, shopping expenditures are higher online – with 37.3% K-12 and 37.1% college students buying through e-commerce.

5.  Smartphone Tool for Shopping.  During back-to-school 2013, competitive pricing was the top use of mobile, with 66 percent of shoppers planning to use their smartphones to obtain price information and 60 percent to obtain discounts, coupons, or sale information–up 15 percentage points from 2012. There is a whopping 78% of smartphone owners using their mobile devices for shopping.

What should marketers do this season?

1.  Make sure your campaigns are live now and active through September.  To stand out, thing about using video and consumer stories to help tell the story.  Search should be already in place.

2.  Make sure content is available on tablet and mobile.  Don’t forget social. Hashtags like #stapleshasit and L.L.Bean’s #packmentality, which leapt from social media into display, email and print last season, will proliferate in 2014.

3.  Solicit stories from your customers to drive positive reviews.

4.  Time your sales (early-bird and end of season) to match buying periods.

5.  Differentiate between back-to-school and back-to-college.

 

 

Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.

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Marketing Back-to-School to Parents: What Social Media Tells Us

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Lipstick Economy is interested in Back-to-School this year and how this year might be different from other years because of trends such as year-round school calendars, just-in-time shopping, family and teen-age budgets and online versus offline.  The topic generated conversation among readers who provided some great information.

An online friend Kim Wilson of Ebro Foods shared this infographic on Back-to-School.  I was fascinated because it is based on Social Media research and it has some great take-aways:

Parents feel some worry about the school transition and like deals and sales that help them with stretched budgets. Moms are in charge – A recent survey revealed that 59% of shoppers say that mom makes the final decisions for back to school shopping.  And as the Chief Budget Officer, she is juggling.

Families still prefer to do back-to-school shopping together.  64 percent of shoppers prefer to shop with their child versus the 36 percent who would prefer to shop alone.  Don’t forget that many Moms have already done their research before they hit the stores and are comparing prices as they shop.  Some 71 percent of shoppers will use their smartphones to compare prices or download mobile coupons during their shopping trips.

Families tackle the most expensive purchases first and time them around deals and sales.  More than half (55%) of shoppers will make back-to-school purchases throughout the school year instead of purchasing everything at once.The cycles are changing and retailers need to be alert to these changes.

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Marketing to Women: Dove Self-Image Campaign Elevates Advertising

May 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Dove’s new Real Beauty campaign exposes the fact that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.  Their new campaign has a new tagline “You are more beautiful than you think”.  The revealing video has been viewed 42 million times! What is so provocative?  Take a look.

The video shows a forensic sketch artist drawing images of women based on their own descriptions.  After drawing the first sketch, the artist then draws a sketch of the same person from the description furnished by someone else.  The resulting sketches showed the difference in the beauty that others see in us versus our own self-image.  The truth in these spots revolves around the way women undervalue themselves and their looks.  The popularity of the sentiment is undeniable.  Tanzina Vega chronicled the popularity of the work in a recent New York Times article.

Dove has worked to communicate that real beauty is more than the waif-like models and celebrities that most beauty brands use.  Does this type of soul-searching grow business?  Evidently. Dove was a $200 million soap brand in the early 1990s that has grown into a brand that has been estimated to be nearly $4 billion dollars today.

Why do women value this approach?  The brand Dove has communicated to women that it understands and values them.  This approach is not only true to women’s emotions but it is differentiating from most beauty products that sell a more unattainable beauty.  The truth of the brand is the truth of women.  The brand speaks to emotional benefits that reward inner beauty, not just vanity.  This compelling message allows the brand to speak to all generations, to launch brand extensions, and to create meaningful programs with women and girls.  A similar approach was taken by P&G with their Olympic Mothers campaign.  It showed Mothers they were valued and important.

Brands that can speak to a higher truth that women value will win both marketing to women and the purchase war.

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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