Should retailers be more creative during Mother’s Day sales?

Mother's Day is yet another event where retailers compete with each other to drive sales. As the rivalry heats up nearer to the occasion, creativity and innovation of products descends into the midst. Just how important is it when making sales?

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Mother's Day

Retailers have long capitalised on Mother’s Day. It’s common to see reports of upticks in wine, balloons, clothing and perfume sales – but as competition heap to drive sales around the occasion, creativity and innovation tend to slip.

Consequently, retailers could lose on sales and footfall if they begin to replicate each other. Millennials are looking for something new when buying something special, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, many high street brands need to find ways of standing out in an increasingly homogeneous market.

Erica Wolfe Murray, director of Taxo’d, told Retail Gazette that her favourite Mother’s Day gift – which featured a limited edition print of the “juggling mother” arrived to her via newsletter from online retailer Donna Wilson.

“Having a dedicated Mother’s day aisle in store or category online with Mother’s day gift options would work well”

“It not only made me smile but is something I’d have love to have received,” she said.

“It just takes a bit of thought and imagination, rather than the same old, same old.”

Indeed, new data from The Co-op revealed that shoppers are increasingly looking to “do something a bit special” for their mums by buying gifts.

The grocery retailer’s research also showed a large spike in sales on the morning of Mother’s Day itself, which may suggest that sons and daughters are waiting until the very last minute to make a purchase in case a better deal is found.

According to Jeremy Hinds, sales development director at British jewellery retailer F Hinds, retailers often target the “easy gifting” market when trying to be creative. He believes that personalised products is definitely an area where retailers could be more creative.

Another tactic that’s available to retailers when driving sales is placing all themed products together, which provides staff and customers an easy choice of products in one area.

Hinds said this “helps those who struggle for ideas and that would work well especially in larger department stores”.

The Customer First Group founder Martin Newman agreed: “Yes, having a dedicated Mother’s day aisle in store or category online with Mother’s day gift options would work well as would the opportunity to effectively cross in-store and online to consumers who had primarily come into to make a purchase for themselves.”

“Segmenting products into ‘gifts for her’ or ‘gifts for Mum’ provides a simple way to encourage sales”

However, Murray said retailers would not benefit from placing themed items in the same aisle.

“People choose such different gifts for their mothers from all around the store,” she said.

“Some may like chocolates, others a bottle of wine, or flowers – so a dedicated aisle would be problematic and time-consuming to set up and then dismantle.”

Kathy Allen, senior marketing strategist at ecommerce marketing agency Visualsoft, said gift guides can be broken down in number of different ways.

“Segmenting products into ‘gifts for her’ or ‘gifts for Mum’ provides a simple way to encourage sales, whilst breaking gift guides down by price bracket helps customers to quickly and easily find something within their budget,” she said.

Furthermore, retail marketing agency Savvy found that customers are “shrugging off” the Brexit blues and forecast that they will spend a total of £1.23 billion on Mother’s Day. This could suggest that creativity and innovation is a futile initiative for retailers as shoppers will purchase regardless.

However, Savvy found that 61 per cent of shoppers agreed that Mother’s Day products in shops are “boring and lack inspiration”. It also found that if better products were available – online or in-store – 49 per cent would be prepared to spend more.

As customers scurry to find the best deals in-store and online, retailers are lowering prices for a limited time as well as luring customers in with custom and personalisation offers.

Hinds told Retail Gazette that the demand for personalised products is increasing.

“Personalised products suit some retailers’ offer and not others, so it really comes back down to how well they know their customer base”

“This is an area of opportunity especially for those with smaller inventories of products, you can target multiple markets throughout the year without investing too heavily in stock,” he said.

However, personalised products aren’t possible for all customers, especially those last-minute shoppers. This means that much as retailers attempt to be creative, they cannot target all consumers.

Murray said: “There will always be customers who plan ahead for whom personalised products work, and those who do everything at the last minute and want to ‘grab and go’.

“Personalised products suit some retailers’ offer and not others, so it really comes back down to how well they know their customer base and whether they have the turnaround/fulfilment capability.”

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