Although my own children are no longer students, I have certainly noticed that it’s back-to-school time. I’ve also noticed something interesting about the barrage of emails, store signage, and even news stories related to this shopping season: most of the messages are about saving money. This is a perfectly valid advertising tactic. But money is not a parent’s only pain point, and marketers can do much more than offer discounts to improve the shopping experience.
Millennial moms and dads around the world are a growing and desirable target segment. These younger parents are ambitious and acquisitive. They are also stressed, and look to technology for solutions, including when they shop. But will this generation of digital natives avoid stores altogether in favor of online alternatives? Probably not. A recent GfK survey of Canadian parents indicates that Millennials plan to spend more than other parents on back-to-school shopping, and they plan to do most of this shopping in stores.
The kids are likely to join them on these trips. Most (83%) Americans with children under age 6 go shopping with their children frequently or fairly often, as do 80% of those with children age 6-12 and 73% of those with teens age 13-17, according to recent GfK Consumer Life research.
Shopping with little ones is no walk in the park, though. Retailers can consider many ways to improve the experience:
Once the kids are older, shopping attitudes and behavior shift somewhat. GfK Consumer Life has found that middle-aged Gen X parents are more likely than Millennials to agree that it’s fun to browse in stores and that shopping is something for family to do together. For parents of teens and tweens, marketers can offer back-to-school shopping fun in the form of funky products and events.
Yet Gen X parents are also more likely than others to say that crowds and lines are the worst thing about shopping in stores. In other words, they appreciate streamlining too. And they will continue to appreciate it after the kids turn 18, because parenting doesn’t end there.
Bed, Bath & Beyond offers a Pack and Hold service so college students can order what they need for their dorms and apartments ahead of time and have it ready to pick up in the town where they’re attending school. In the college town where I shop, this is no small matter of a few boxes sitting in the back of the store. Here’s how the parking lot looked on move-in weekend – a row of shipping containers filled with labeled boxes.
Inside the store, it was entertaining to watch the young adults – every single one of them accompanied by well-meaning parents intent on navigating their offspring through this transition to semi-independent living. I heard one earnest mother say, “Maybe you should get a teapot. Your girlfriend drinks tea.”
That snippet of conversation held a world of meaning. Today’s parents are often accused of being over-involved in their children’s lives. But the kids don’t seem to mind. The young man with the tea-drinking girlfriend certainly didn’t. After all, he might have been getting the teapot, but he wasn’t the one buying it.
The transition to adulthood takes longer than it used to, which means that active parenting is a long haul these days. Baby Boomers are nearly past this stage of life, but Gen Xers are still in the midst of it, and Millennials are just starting out. Make it easier for them every step of the way by understanding the role that children play in their budgets, schedules, and most importantly, their hearts.
Diane Crispell is a Senior Consultant with GfK Consumer Life. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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With strong sales of smart TVs come new opportunities for brands and advertisers to communicate with a growing and engaged audience. But to monetize a channel, we need reliable measurements for reach, ad performance and engagement. At Germany’s dmexco, one of the most important global conferences of the digital economy, we’ll be discussing our passive monitoring approach to tracking content and ads across all devices, including the smart TV, at an individual level.
Smart devices are dominating sales in the TV market. Let’s take Germany, where four in ten households have a smart TV, as an example. In the first six months of 2016, 61.5% of all sets sold in Germany had smart TV functionality. Although TV isn’t a new technology, the new features of smart TVs and ultra-high-definition TVs (4k) are driving sales in the market (in addition to important sporting events, such as the Euro Cup this year).
There’s clearly a growing opportunity for brands, retailers and content providers to reach consumers through smart TVs and, in particular, through apps on smart TVs. The key question is: can smart TV apps be monetized through advertising? If this is to happen, two aspects are critical.
Monetization will only work if apps are used. And apps will only be used if user experience and content are meeting consumers’ needs. We now know that you can’t simply transfer content from your website to mobile and have it appeal to visitors. It needs to be adapted. The same is true of smart TV apps.
As we’ve seen with other new technology, advertising spend on a new media channel will only reach a critical mass once advertisers can measure the medium and thus understand the ROI of that spend. That’s why we’re investing in tools to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of advertising on smart TV apps.
In my session at dmexco, I’ll share how to develop successful smart TV apps, and how we plan to passively measure the reach of smart TV apps for those who want to build brands, sell advertising, serve content and sell direct to viewers.
Register for GfK Expert Talks at dmexco