Marketing to Moms: Just-in-time Shopping Replaces Pantry Loading

February 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

What’s in your pantry?  Is it bloated or on a diet?

One of the lasting behaviors of the Great Recession may be “just in time shopping”.  I was thinking about Spring shopping the other day, and how we had to rush out in the middle of winter to ensure that we got the latest fashions for Spring. And how I had to have two or three stockpiled items of essentials in my pantry.  But the recession has reshaped how consumers and how retailers think.

Wall Street Journal called it “The Just-in-Time Consumer”. Taking a page from Wal-Mart logistics, it seems that women are buying closer to the real need, buying smaller units and refusing to buy in bulk when we don’t need it.  So, what that means is that name brand are seeing that consumers are only buying what they need for a specific period of time.  Gone are the days when my pantry might have six jars of mayo because I always buy several out of fear of running out.  Part of the reason for this new conservative mindset is the unemployment, loss of home values and plunging 401Ks that made many of us experience a new thrift mindset.

According to IRI data, the number of  items kept in American pantries has fallen about 20%.  P&G estimates that one-third of consumers have changed their pantry loading habits.  And the club stores like Costco are responding with smaller sizes of products.

Nielsen reports our shopping trips are segmented into four kinds

  • Immediate: low-value, instant -need driven baskets with an average basket ring of $15 per trip
  • Fill-In: slightly higher value baskets averaging $51 per trip
  • Routine: weekly, high-value shopping trips averaging $98 per trip
  • Stock-up: large trips averaging $242 per trip

Some 82% of our shopping trips fall into the small or “immediate need” category.  Larger basket trips are more important for the affluent, but smaller trips are important to all income groups. Each of these trips is different in importance to each retail channel, as reported by Nielsen:

  • Grocery – Immediate trips fell in importance by almost one percent as the channel saw minor gains in fill-in, routine and stock-up trips.
  • Supercenters – Immediate and fill-in trips have gained in importance over the past two years, while routine and stock-up trips declined.
  • Mass merchandisers (excluding supercenters) – Fill-in trips showed slight gains, while all other trip types posted minor declines.
  • Drug – Fill-in and routine trips were up, while immediate trips declined.
  • Warehouse Club – There was an up-tick in immediate trips, but the staple of club stores – routine and stock-up trips declined.
  • Convenience/gas – Immediate trips – the hallmark of this channel – have declined by more than two percent, most likely due to rising gas prices.
  • Dollar – Basket size increased, but the immediate trip type continued to dominate.

One of the phenomena of the recession is how affluents are shopping.  Dollar stores have seen an uptick in affluent shopping.  It seems that everyone is value conscious now.

And the fashion world has begun to adjust as well, assuring folks like me that they will have Spring fashions when Spring has actually has sprung, and swimsuits will still be in the store in summer.





Marketing to Moms: What Moves Moms to Holiday Shopping?

December 22, 2009 § 1 Comment

The practicality of the shopping season is seen in the results of a new survey that showed that coupons are the number one influencer in holiday shopping, followed by word-of-mouth, advertising inserts, broadcast TV, newspaper and direct mail.

The survey was conducted by Big Research on behalf of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, as they sought to understand what was inspiring shoppers to select a particular store.

However, the Ad Age article seems to indicate that only one media is involved in inspiring a consumer (read Mom) and that the human brain works in a very rational and logical way to make decisions.  The article also implies that likability of an ad is not important in the purchase decision process.

While I think the actual findings of the study have merit, the interpretation does not take into count the complex retail world we live in today.  Take for example my quest (Mom) to buy a purse for my daughter for Christmas.  She asked for a specific type of purse, one that she cannot afford.  The purse is from a brand name that creates a very distinct luxury image for itself in a variety of high fashion magazines, focusing on new styles for each season.  My daughter and I know and love the brand, and read the magazines regularly. Her friends love the brand and talk about it with a passion that men cannot understand.   Her request for the purse sent me to a variety of favorite Internet sites since the brand is not sold in Nashville.  I shopped several online sites I am known to frequent – Amazon, Nordstrom, Bluefly and Zappos.  I often see online and offline advertising for these sites, follow social media for the sites and receive e-mail advertising.  The site from which I chose to purchase had a sale on the bag and free shipping, which they had communicated in an e-mail on exactly the same day.

Did the brand advertising or the sale and free shipping cause me to buy the bag?  Well, both did.  Without the brand advertising I would not have been aware of the brand and been predisposed to a purchase.  Without the need (Christmas Birthday Daughter), I would not have sought out retailers that sold the bag.  And without the sale and free shipping, I might have chosen another online retailer.

Research on advertising typically focuses on the last step remembered in the purchase cycle.  In this case, a coupon or incentive is the last thing many remember as they try to be smart in their purchases.

And my purchase?  It was delivered free of charge, two days after I bought it online.  And it’s under the tree now.


Marketing to Moms: Women are Word of Mouth

December 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

A recent post by did a nice job of bringing together some new studies that reinforce the importance of women in social media.  It’s not surprising to see that women are more active on social networks than are men.

The latest research from shows that across 19 social media sites, there were more female users than men on 16 out of the 19 most popular sites.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Twitter and Facebook have approximately the same male-female ratio:  Twitter is 59 percent female and Facebook is 57 percent female.
  • The average ratio of all 19 sites was 47 percent male, 53 percent female.
  • The most female-dominated sites are Bebo (66 percent female users), MySpace and (64 percent female users).

The three sites with more male users are functional, news related sites – Digg, Reddit and Slashdot.

So why is this female user important?  She’s the consumer, the connector and the decision maker for most of the purchase decisions in the family.

But more important to marketers, women are three times more likely to share personal stories with a friend than men.  Evidently, women are hard-wired that way – with more actual brain activity for bonding and connecting with others.

When we need a recommendation, we tend to ask our friends for their hairdresser, the dentist they go to, their favorite stores and what book they read last.

The multiple effect of a women’s Twitter or Facebook account has important implications for marketers.  The average Facebook user has 130 friends.  The more followers you have on Twitter, the most Tweets per day.  Twenty-one percent of online women tweet.

But remember, marketers, women want information that is important, authentic and personal to them.  Their age, their lifestage and their lifestyle are important indicators of how to address them.


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