Shoppers’ purchase paths have changed, thanks to the recession and the increasing role of digital media which is impacting every aspect of moms lives. I have to open with a quick mom anecdote… my 65 year old mother recently moved. She and my stepdad retired to Chattanooga, TN. Pretty soon after moving, my mom figured out that the small town of Chattanooga had limited furniture options. She would spend hours, if not entire days, looking at various stools and other furniture options on various websites. Then, she would consult blogs, expert interior designers, friends, family, and her reluctant husband. After this thorough pre-approval process, she would have a piece sent to their condo. At which point, according to my stepdad, she would engage the furniture piece in an extensive, what he called, “interview” process. The interview process included unpacking the item, setting it up, seeing how it looked in various places, trying it out, and seeing it in various light throughout the day. Most of the pieces didn’t pass muster and she ended up sending back, since shipping and returning were often free. This home decorating, or interview, process went on for months.I know what you’re thinking… my mom is crazy! Well that’s what I was thinking until I observed similar patterns in our global consumer research. What’s exciting from a business perspective is that there are key areas of influence for moms and we can work together to really assess how media and in-store experiences can be carefully considered for mom’s needs to maximize results.
We set out to understand global consumer behavior, consumers purchase paths and what influences them. The study was done in two phases by UK-based Essential Research, and was commissioned in partnership with Carat. 1) A qualitative study composed of diary entries, interviews, and shopper observations was fielded in late fall 2009. 2) These insights led to an online survey in March 2010 which questioned shoppers about their most recent purchase. Conducted across 17 countries and with 19,000 shoppers,this was one of the most extensive studies undertaken in the retail sector. To better understand the patterns, we focused on five retail categories: Apparel, Fast Food, Grocery, Home Electronics, and Home Improvement. The findings that I will present today are based on insights from the mom’s in our US survey respondents. About 1,400 US Moms were included in the research.
Before we get into the mom’s insights, I wanted to set the stage with the global themes that emerged from the study:We could see clearly in the data that as a result of the recession there was an increased interest in fact-finding and price and product comparison shopping – and these trends have lasted. Consumers have learned to navigate in order to get the information they need. Further analyses reveal that many of these new behaviors will continue as shoppers have discovered the ease in which essential information can be accessed through the Internet.
The moms in the study turned out to be key purchase decision makers and a highly loyal bunch. They averaged in their mid-thirties, and had a mean income of $60,000. When asked whether they’re the main decision maker in their household, Moms responded affirmatively—90% of survey respondents reported being the decision maker for grocery. Even for categories less associated with moms—home electronics and home improvement—more than half make the final decision and have significant influence for all home decisions.Interestingly, moms are intensely store loyal. Moms answered almost unanimously, across categories, that they “always or nearly always buy from the same store/website” and they “tend to have a defined set of different stores/websites that they buy from.”
So that’s the static view of moms, but when you dig in deeper, their shopping paths are far more involved… From large to small purchases, the shopping process that moms go through has forever changed. The journey is now far more complex and multifaceted. The journey is not a straight line but rather a dynamic process characterized by reiterations in product consideration and research. Compared to all shoppers studied, moms’ purchase paths are especially dynamic and progressive. Digital is used at each stage of the purchase journey; and this will only increase… ¾ of moms expect to buy online or use the internet to assist a purchase in the future. 2 in 3 moms are interested in online services that can help them save money. and half of moms are open to the idea of mobile payment.
Not just for moms, but for all shoppers… the purchase path paradigm has new touch points and stages for marketers to plan around and consider. Traditionally, the research process was used to narrow choices.Today, moms are using research to widen their number of choices. The research phase is far more dynamic with more options and better access to information, with digital media being a key enabler. Digital Media is also enabling the Post Purchase stage more than ever before by making it easier for consumers to share their purchase experiences and opinions. This loop has a strong influence on future purchases.
Within this new shopper paradigm, we noticed that shopper patterns break down into three basic types: habitual, impulse and research. (How we determined the types.) I bought on impulse and did not research or think about the purchase The item(s) are things that I normally buy, I didn’t need to think about what product or brand to buy or which store or website to get it from Before I bought the item(s) I did some research to decide which product and brand was best and which store or website was the best place to buy it from I would have liked to have spent time researching this before I bought but I needed it immediately so didn’t have time.
Moms exhibited research, impulse, or habitual shopping patterns based on the specific purchase. For example, the majority of moms shopping for groceries were on a habitual journey. Versus home electronics purchasers, who had researched.This chart has really interesting marketer implications that can directly inform media investments….For example, Moms exhibit high habitual patterns for grocery and fast food (likely due to time efficiency, since they know what that want, where to get it, etc). For marketers, we might want to think about how to move moms into a habitual state? And then, once there, we might want to think about how to increase value and loyalty?And then for the electronics researchers, as marketers, we want to make sure moms have easy access to product information when they’re looking into a new purchase.So let’s dig in a little deeper…
We’ll return to the new shopper paradigm we looked at a few minutes ago… We’ll stop at each stage of the purchase path to talk about some mom observations from the study.
Starting with need state, the need states differ by category. For Grocery and Fast Food purchases, the biggest motivators for moms was necessity—having run out of something they need or needing something to eat. For Home Electronics and Home Improvement, moms most frequently said that they were purchasing a specific item for the family home. Moms bought Apparel items most commonly as a treat for themselves. Despite differing need states, moms shared a common conviction… Before researching or purchasing, moms had already made 3-4 different decisions about their purchase, such as how much to spend, what types of products to buy, which brands they were considering, and location of the store.
But, those decisions might or might not stick… Richsources of information have fundamentally changed the traditional purchase funnel. Rather than merely refine choice, research provides the opportunity to expand choices as more information is readily available. The research stage is powerful as Moms will make multiple decisions based on the findings of their research. When we analysed what moms were researching, we noticed that moms are price sensitive and researching for deals, which can influence brand choice – both positively and negatively.Those moms that research their grocery shopping, for example, have on average 7 separate sources of information including the internet,store circulars, and coupons as the most common sources. In the other sectors, Moms have on average 5 sources of research.Between 70-80% of moms changed something about their planned purchase as a result of their research. On average 2 aspects were changed– the price, retailer and brands were the likeliest to change. Just a side note observation, moms with younger kids were more likely to research products in the grocery and apparel categories.
For the purchase phase, moms chose place based on price and proximity. They chose online places of purchase by price and speed of delivery. But, just because they have decided on some aspects of the purchase and despite perhaps having researched in advance, still moms may change their minds. 1/5th of moms changed their minds about their purchase at the point of purchase. And even though women were less likely than men to use their cell phones in store,up to a quarter of moms reported using their mobile while in store to help inform their purchase decision – a number that will surely only grow over timemoms with younger kids change their minds at purchase stage more often than moms with older kids
The majority of moms were satisfied with their purchase. Perhaps surprisingly, researcher moms were slightly less satisfied than average (though they are still overwhelmingly satisfied) – perhaps because they are judging their purchase on stricter criteria. The purchase journey does not end with the purchase itself. 4 in 10 moms did something after they bought their items. Likely to only increase with ease / seamless integration of communication tools and social outlets.Moms with young kids had higher index of word of mouth activity compared to moms with older kids and moms overall. Brands and retailers should consider that they need to ensure that a positive relationship extends beyond the sale, particularly with word of mouth being so prominent among moms. Build and engage their mom’s community. Moms are significantly more likely to talk to people about purchases they make in each category with the exception of home electronics, where they are as likely to as the average shopper.
There are significant differences in frequency of purchasing for the different categories across region. Europeans on average grocery shop nearly 3 times a week – much more frequent than the other regions. Conversely, Europeans purchase fast food least frequently. Moms are likelier to like to talk to people about purchases they make in each category. WOM is most important among Asian moms in each category except for fast food, where moms in the Americas are more likely to like to talk.Asian moms (and Asians as a whole) are more likely to be researchers in grocery, fashion and fast food. All markets are high in research for home electronics. European moms are the biggest impulse shoppers, with USA close behind.At the global level, the differences between moms and all adults in impulse and habitual purchases in the fashion sector is statistically significant at the 90% level
US and Americas Moms are less likely to treat themselves, but Asian and American moms both like to purchase to look or feel good.US moms aside, moms are driven less by necessity and more by their children’s needsAsian moms have the widest variety of influences, citing twice as many as both European and US momsAsian moms have over twice as many different sources of information as US and European moms doOver 3 in 5 moms use the internet as a source of information - in grocery a quarter of moms use internet advertisingThe majority of Moms engaging in WOM do so digitally – in Asia, 98% of moms engaging in WOM do so digitally – 78% via their mobilesMore than half of Moms do something after they have completed the purchase – Moms in Asia and the Americas are the likeliest, with recommendations common
While moms may represent the mainstream, digital has evolved to the extent that there are opportunities at each stage of the purchase journey to provide information to moms that can influence their decision-making process. The internet and mobile represent powerful, frequently utilized platforms across every moment of moms’ shopper journeys. The usage and influence of the internet and mobile will only grow over time. Need states vary by category – can be: 1) replacement, 2) treat, 3) special occasion, and 4) trial. Marketers can use digital to get sophisticated about segmenting offers based on need state, demographic, geographic, and purchase path. Digital tests can optimize in-store and offline offers and are critical for word of mouth.For clothing and groceries, the purchase journey among researchers is shorter – the best point to intervene is a couple of days prior to purchaseA subtle plug since I do work for Microsoft… Microsoft Advertising can reach a significant proportion of Moms across different services and screens throughout every part of the purchase journey. We can help facilitate a more empowered, and more satisfied, mom consumer.
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Moms’ shopping trends<br />Today’s purchase path and what influences moms<br />Lindsay Jurist-Rosner<br />Microsoft Advertising<br />
Moms’ purchase decisions are no longer linear,they’re more dynamic than ever.<br />
Word of mouth feedback loop<br />Needstate<br />Research<br />The new shopper paradigm<br />Purchase<br />Post <br />purchase<br />In-store experience<br />‘Pre-tailing’<br />Retailing<br />‘Post-tailing’<br />
3 core shopping patterns emerged<br />Habitual<br />Research<br />Impulse<br />Source: Which of the following best describes your initial reasons for making this purchase?<br />
Purchase patterns differ by purchase type<br />
The new shopper paradigm<br />Word of mouth feedback loop<br />Needstate<br />Research<br />Purchase<br />Post <br />purchase<br />In-store experience<br />‘Pre-tailing’<br />Retailing<br />‘Post-tailing’<br />
Moms on a mission<br />Necessity<br />Item for home<br />Treat<br />Needstate<br />Moms have made 3-4 different decisions about their purchase before they start their research. <br />Budget, product, brand, placeare the key inputs. <br />
70-80% of moms changed something about their planned purchase as a result of their research.<br />Price, retailer, brand: 3 most likely to change.<br />Huge impact of digital marketing, circulars, coupons, word of mouth.<br />Research<br />Moms change their minds after researching<br />
Moms at the point of purchase<br />Place is selected based on priceand proximity. <br />Online choice is about price and delivery speed.<br />20% of moms changed their minds about their purchase at the point of purchase.<br />25% of moms used cell phones in store to inform their purchase decision.<br />Purchase<br />
Moms talk<br />Word of mouth feedback loop<br />Needstate<br />Post <br />purchase<br />Moms are significantly more likely to talk to people about purchases they make in each category—with the exception of home electronics.<br />40% of moms engaged in some word of mouth activity post-purchase.<br />
More frequent shoppers<br />Most impulse shoppers<br />Heavier researchers<br />Most WOM<br />Moms more likely to buy apparel on impulse<br />Shopper paths around the world<br />
Most likely to purchase a treat (grocery)<br />98% of WOM is digital; 78% on mobile<br />More likely to be influenced by advertising<br />Twice as many research sources<br />Most likely to engage in post-purchase action<br />Driven less by necessity and more by kids’ needs<br />Purchase triggers, globally<br />
Shopportunities for marketing to moms<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Get to know the touch points and triggers along the shopper path to purchase<br />Understand the role of digital especially for researching purchases<br />Recognize and leverage word of mouth as a key driver<br />Success requires an integrated approach to media and in-store experiences.<br />Online, mobile, social communication are critical to your results.<br />