Retailers Use Visual Channels to Attract Last-Minute Mother’s Day Shoppers

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Spending on Mother’s Day is expected to reach $25 billion this year, with consumers flocking to department stores and florists in search of the perfect gifts for Mom. The bulk of that spending will happen in the next few days, as foot traffic data from the location platform GroundTruth reveals that Americans tend to wait until the very last minute to shop for Mother’s Day gifts.

What are retailers around the country doing to prepare for the onslaught of last-minute shoppers?

More than ever before, retailers are leaning on visual marketing opportunities to drive last-minute sales. Social media, in particular, is being put to use as national retailers look for new opportunities to bring shoppers into physical stores.

One retailer making a big push this Mother’s Day is Lush, the cosmetics company known for its colorful bath bombs and other organic beauty essentials. Lush is running a Mother’s Day campaign on Facebook, with colorful imagery designed to promote a limited-edition set of bath bombs made for moms. Lush’s social media strategy ties in with additional visual content on the company’s own blog and e-commerce website.

Kraft is going big for Mother’s Day this year as well. The grocery manufacturing conglomerate is running a visually-focused campaign dubbed “Mother’s Day Away” with highly edited videos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, along with a standalone website where moms are encouraged to submit their “babysitter bills,” to be reimbursed by Kraft. Social media videos are a major part of the Kraft strategy, as the company looks for new ways to bring female consumers into its fold.

Eighty-six percent of Americans are expected to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, and GroundTruth’s data reveals that the holiday is one of the first big gifting moments of the year. Consumers between the ages of 35 and 44 are expected to be the biggest spenders, spending an average of $224 on Mother’s Day-related items. GroundTruth’s data also found that department stores and greeting card stores see as much as a 37% difference in physical foot traffic the day before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Fifty-three percent of shoppers say they are “digitally influenced,” meaning they look up or research products online before making their gifting purchases, whether in-store or at home.

A growing number of those “digitally influenced” shoppers are turning to visual channels like Pinterest to research potential gifts. Pinterest lets users search for gift ideas by keyword or category. Retailers like Shutterfly are boosting their chances of getting noticed on the platform with paid advertising strategies that involve “Promoted” pins. These promoted pins showcase personalized gifts made from Shutterfly products.

Of course, online-only retailers, like Shutterfly, are at a disadvantage given how many shoppers wait until the last-minute to make their Mother’s Day purchases. GroundTruth found that foot traffic peaks at gifting destinations like department stores, jewelry stores, electronics stores, and greeting card stores on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. That means that it’s not too late for retailers that have been sitting on the sidelines to jump into the fray with targeted social media posts.

As they look for new ways to capitalize on last-minute gift givers before both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, GroundTruth Vice President of Marketing Dan Silver says retailers should be focusing on convenience and making the buying process as streamlined as possible for customers who might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available.

“Our Value of a Visit research study shows that the two most important factors that make in-store shopping better, are quick check out and good customer service,” says Silver. “Staffing up during these last minute times, along with streamlining the checkout process, would be an easy win for brands and their customers.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.