“It's the most wonderful time of the year!” You probably remember the singing parents in the Staples ad. So funny, and true! And if your kids are college age, like mine, you may have wiped a tear when reading Beverly Beckham’s piece in the Boston Globe, “I was the sun, the kids were my planets.”
Back-to-School is as much about MOM as it is about kids (and teachers). While moms miss their kids, it’s also time for mom to learn and grow. Moms welcome the opportunity to do something for themselves for a change, and retailers can help. You don’t have to sell pencils or lunch bags to participate. Offer moms the opportunity and ability to learn something new themselves, or renew a prior hobby or sport. Consider what the following moms said they plan to do, once their children are back in school:
“I’m taking a drawing class!”
“We are expanding the 2nd floor, so I am picking out new paint and will be doing that.”
“I’d like to re-paint the bathroom and maybe re-decorate the living room. We’re having company for the holidays, and I want the place to look great!”
There is so much opportunity to talk to moms and help them achieve their short term goals, and maybe some long-term ones as well. Whether you’re a grocer, a paint store, a gym, or you sell yoga mats or tulip bulbs, engage moms by demonstrating how you can help them achieve something this season. They will re-pay you with their purchases, loyalty, and recommendations.
And don’t forget to also talk to moms about their kids – they’re #1 with them, and they want to explore and enjoy fall with their families. From leaf peeping and apple picking, to biking and soccer, moms look for ways to connect their families in the midst of busy schedules.
Kathy Ofsthun is an Account Director at CMB, specializing in Shopper Insights. Follow her on twitter @ShopperMRX, or find her at the mall, a SoHo boutique or the nearest estate sale!
Recently I wrote about our latest consumer pulse study – “How Smartphones are Changing the Retail Shopping Experience.” The report revealed several emergent consumer behaviors and received considerable media coverage, something that we’re all pretty excited about. From the consumer’s perspective, the tone of my post was mostly upbeat. And why not? One of the key conclusions of our study was that smartphones empower consumers to find the best products and the best deals from inside the store. What’s not to like?
As it turns out, maybe a few things. The study also showed that consumers have a few misconceptions about how privacy works on a smartphone. Take a look at this graph:
As you can see, more than two-thirds of consumers believe that application developers are mandated to institute privacy policies. That’s incorrect. Outside of the policies created by app marketplaces (maintained by Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc) there are currently no required regulations for smartphone apps and privacy. As a result, there have been instances of apps behaving badly – doing things like scraping personal data and sending it to China for “marketing purposes.”
Another issue worth considering is smartphone security when the device is connected to WiFi instead of the carrier’s mobile network. Over at GigaOM, Kevin Tofel wrote a great piece suggesting that retailers provide free in-store WiFi access to potential customers. If that happens, surfing the web in the aisle on your smartphone could become just as risky as surfing that unsecured coffee shop network on your PC. A little over a year ago, security researchers demonstrated that it was possible to “steal your passwords, personal info, and email credentials” from Apple, Nokia, and Android devices connected to WiFi networks.
Ultimately, consumers don’t yet see a fundamental difference between the risk taken while shopping on a PC versus shopping on a smartphone.
It’s hard to blame them. Even among security professionals, there exists a fair amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt around the idea of smartphone security. A panel on mobile security threats at last month’s RSA conference downplayed what has become an enormous industry issue. In sum: “It’s not nearly as dangerous out there as you might think. Not yet.” Very comforting.
For more info download our recent Consumer Pulse report on smartphones and the retail shopping experience.
Posted by Brian Neville-O’Neill. Brian is part of CMB’s marketing team and spends quite a bit of time reading and writing about market research.And now he's thinking twice about just how safe those apps are on his smartphone.
A quick note to retailers out there: according to our latest CMB Consumer Pulse report your smartphone-packing customers are doing their homework while standing in the store aisle (hopefully yours). The kind of homework they’re doing is largely dependent upon the types of variables and demographics you’ve come to expect, particularly age and gender. Men, for example, are more likely to use their phone to check product reviews while women are more likely to look for discounts. If the shopper has an iPhone, they are almost certainly using it to help them make a decision about their purchase – more than 70% of them said as much.
What this tells us is that gone are the days of 2008…when brick and mortar retailers merely had to worry about competing with online retailers when shoppers were in front of a PC. Once at the mall, comparison shopping involved walking (or worse, driving) to a different store, finding the right aisle & shelf, locating the item, and then checking the price. For lower ticket items, that’s an awful lot of hassle to potentially save a few dollars. For higher ticket items, it’s just a lot of hassle.
No more. Now, shoppers only need to fire up their phone’s web browser or one of the countless purpose built apps to do all of that legwork. Really. All of the legwork. Our study showed that shoppers were using smartphones in-store to do everything from comparing prices of products and services to making a purchase.
Over the last few years, analysts have warned retailers that stores may become product showrooms where the shopper uses the aisle for testing purposes and is agnostic to where and when the purchase is made. In fact, some have gone so far as to predict that this type of behavior will “lead to a new definition of the store; purpose, place and size are all up for debate
.” How it all pans out remains to be seen.
But it’s not all bad news for retailers. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. If shoppers are becoming agnostic to the in-store experience, it is incumbent upon the retailer to adjust the experience as necessary. And it’s worth noting the responsibility doesn’t fall just to retailers – product manufacturers need to connect with their distribution partners to “take advantage of opportunities [smartphones] provide for generating sales and improving the customer experience.” This type of partnership should address signage, packaging, displays, and smartphone based communication strategies that stop the shopper in their tracks. Going forward, we believe all of these tactics to be necessary elements of retail planning.
Download our latest Consumer Pulse report for additional findings around the impact of the mobile shopper.
Posted by Brian Neville-O’Neill. Brian is part of CMB’s marketing team and spends quite a bit of time reading and writing about market research. When he’s not busy doing that (or shopping on his smartphone) he is secretly anticipating the arrival of Battle LA, a soon to be released alien-robot invasion movie.