Research identifies 'Brand Mavens' transforming retail
Connecting with "Brand Mavens," shoppers who are digitally engaged and brand loyal with a strong peer influence and significant purchasing power, is critical to the long-term success of retailers, according to a CashStar/Texas A&M Center for Retail Studies study that polled 1,300 consumers.
"It's clear from our research that Brand Mavens are an important segment with significant purchasing power and tremendous peer influence," Retail TouchPoints Editor-in-Chief, Debbie Hauss, said in a statement. "Understanding how to identify and engage these ultimate brand advocates will be core to the success of every consumer-facing brand."
Brand Mavens actively motivate consumers in their circle of influence to try new brands and purchase more, initially through the use of gift cards, according to the study. When combined with loyalty rewards, coupons and promotional offers as a way to manage all purchasing interactions with a brand, gift cards become a form of branded currency and are even more desirable to Brand Mavens.
Branded currency is the foundation of their digital engagement, brand loyalty and influence, and makes it easy for them to shop a brand. In fact, 68 percent of Brand Mavens said they would like to utilize one card for completing payments, accessing loyalty points, and redeeming coupons and promotional offers.
Representing 53 percent of U.S. shoppers, these brand loyal consumers are predominately female (60 percent), financially responsible, in committed relationships and educated. They also have huge purchasing power and influence to generate significant increases in revenue and loyalty. The average Brand Maven spends approximately $1,100 on gift cards annually and redeems an average of $700 in cards – a total direct annual purchasing power of $1,800. Their purchasing power rises exponentially as they indirectly influence others to buy and redeem gift cards, and become loyal brand purchasers.
Analysis also shows that Brand Mavens are:
Pervasive: Brand Mavens have influence across all major retail verticals. They shop with gift cards and influence purchase and loyalty most frequently with restaurants (85 percent), department/big box (73 percent), and fashion and apparel (64 percent) retailers.
Omnichannel: Brand Mavens are cross-channel shoppers. While they redeem gift cards in the store and on the website most frequently, they also redeem via mobile and social channels. Their most-visited channel is the physical store (90 percent), with the retail brand website not far behind (79 percent), as well as mobile (37 percent).
Informed: Brand Mavens are voracious consumers of information, seeking out content before they make a purchase. They diligently gather product information and 66 percent read product reviews before completing a purchase. Their network is also important, with 61 percent consulting friends, family or co-workers before making a purchase.
Social: Brand Mavens are active social media users, enhancing their position as opinion leaders and influencers. Analysis of the survey data shows that Brand Mavens have a well-connected social network and broad presence on social media, which they use to inform, educate, advise and influence others. Close to one third (28 percent) share feedback about experiences via Twitter, Facebook, Google and other social channels.
"Brand Mavens are a group that certainly cannot be ignored," CashStar Vice President of Marketing, Gary Lombardo, said in statement. "The research supports the idea that retailers need to enable gifting and prepaid commerce experiences across channels and devices throughout the customer lifecycle to capture the attention of this important segment."
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