How to help shoppers increase spend this Mother's Day

Mother's Day shopping means big sales for retailers. In fact, the NRF expects the average person in the U.S. celebrating the holiday to spend $152.52 on gifts, up from $140.73 last year. Total spending should reach $18.6 billion. That's a lot of flowers and jewelry.

Or is it? Retailers would be remiss to push only the standard "mom" gifts this year, according to a recent survey from buy.com that found that the "Gadget Goddess" mom ranked first among gift-giving categories.

In a survey of more than 25,000 Buy.com customers, respondents were polled to categorize their mom's interests and potential favorite gifts for Mother's Day. The largest number of Buy.com customers (nearly 40 percent) saw their mom as a "Gadget Goddess," because of her love of tech toys including cell phones, cameras, cloud computing devices and tablets.

"It's important to understand what your customers are shopping for in order to meet their needs," said Buy.com CMO Bernard Luthi. "We believe it's a common misconception that moms just want flowers and jewelry for mother's day. Our survey showed that moms want to capture, share and stay connected with friends and family, therefore gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, digital frames and cameras and camcorders would be the perfect gift this year."


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The survey also identified the following mom shopping categories:

  • The Trendsetter Mom: 24 percent of respondents consider their mom a trendsetter because of her love for high fashion.
  • The Fitness Fashionista Mom: Nearly two in 10 respondents said their mom is a fitness queen as her must-haves include running shoes, a yoga mat and a medicine ball (18 percent)
  • The On-the-Go Gal: Finally, 18 percent of Buy.com customers think their busy alpha moms just want to be pampered this holiday with her favorite movie or book and an at-home spa day.

Creating gift categories similar to the ones listed in Buy.com's survey is a great way for retailers to help consumers shop, said Barbara Pantuso, director of strategy for global digital agency Huge Inc.

"Create lists or collections of the 'Top 5 gifts for the mom who loves to cook' or 'Help mom discover her inner tech geek,'"she said. "This can be done in-store or online. Also, bundle products to create a bounty of gifts for mom. This reduces the risk of getting something she doesn't like, and it makes it easy to grab and go. It can also spice up old standbys like flowers."

Another way retailers can encourage higher spending is to use a "one-for-mom, one-for-me" strategy. Using those types of special offers encourages splurging on mom and the shopper, which translates to more money spent.

While Buy.com found that gadgets are the go-to gift this year, NRF's poll, conducted by BIGinsight, ranked electronics as the fourth most popular option, with consumers spending $1.6 billion on them. It predicted that flowers will still be the most popular gift this year, with two-thirds of its respondents planning to spend a total of $2.2 billion. Dining out and giving sweaters or blouses also both scored higher than electronics.

"While still very mindful of their finances, consumers will open their wallets a little more this year to ensure Mother's Day is extra special for the women in their lives" said BIGinsight executive vice-president Phil Rist. "Many will use the opportunity to comparison shop and research products to save a few bucks, utilizing their mobile and tablet devices at home and in stores as they look for gifts and other ways to celebrate."

Shopping with and for electronics

Mobile and tablet owners will keep a keen eye out for deals this Mother's Day as nearly four in 10 (39.3 percent) smartphone owners and 51.2 percent of tablet owners plan to use their devices to research products/compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information and purchase gift items, according to the BIGinsight study. Specifically for tablet owners, nearly one-quarter (24.4 percent) will purchase a gift for mom, 35.7 percent will research products and compare prices, and 19.6 percent will look up retailer information such as store hours and location. Tablet owners ages 18-24 and 25-34 will make the most of their device as 40.4 percent and 40.9 percent, respectively, plan to shop and purchase gift items for mom via their tablets.

"Electronics may not be the first department people think about for Mother's Day shopping, but there are some great electronic gifts for mom. Intercept the customer in more traditional 'Mother's Day gift' departments, like beauty and bath, with displays for electronic products that go along with those products, like a Kindle to read in the bath," Pantuso said. "Also, tout the lifestyle benefits for mom and her kids with new electronics. Emphasize how they can connect more easily, video conference, share photos and entertainment, and more. It's a gift for the whole family, it lasts longer, and it's worth a higher-than-average Mother's Day gift spend."

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