March 2010: Retailers Connecting with Moms Online

Mothers control an estimated 80% of all household spending, and they are increasingly exercising their spending power online. Motherhood changes a woman’s shopping behavior, product needs and purchase criteria. New and experienced moms alike rely heavily on the Internet to learn about the products they need, save on purchases and connect with other moms to exchange opinions about retailers and products.

Moms are at the forefront of a consumer revolution that, spurred by the power of the Internet, has given them greater control over their relationship with retailers. In this new era, moms are as likely as marketers to define a brand’s image and how its products should be used.

Moms want to do business with retailers that are respectful and responsive to their needs and concerns. Retailers that understand this meet mothers on social networks and talk honestly with them about a variety of topics, including the safety and health aspects of their products. Some use Twitter to quickly resolve customer problems, and others engage moms and their children through contests and parties.

Mothers, especially millennial moms—those between the ages of 20 and 34 in 2010—expect retailers to customize their products and business procedures to fit customers’ individual needs. Moms band together on social networks to share coupon codes and information about special product deals. And a disgruntled mom can exploit the viral effects of the Internet to pressure a business to fix a problem. In the future, smartphones will increasingly empower moms by enabling them to shop in a store and, at the same time, compare prices and products on other retailers’ Websites.

In this new consumer era, moms reward the retailers that show they really care about their customers and explain how their products enrich people’s lives. But such caring retailers do not stop there. They take pains to ensure their products are safe for children to use and that their business activities are eco-friendly. These retailers know not only how to speak respectfully with their customers but also how to listen to their concerns and suggestions. They do not hide behind corporate-speak or try to push their messages at moms. When they make a mistake, they move quickly to admit their shortcoming and fix the problem. They may bear higher costs related to some of these positions, but they believe that in the long run they will be rewarded with customer loyalty.

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