Picture this: A new mom arrives home from the hospital. Dad returns to work the next day, and mom starts maternity leave. She's psyched, but she has to serve time on house arrest after a C-section. Even if she was strong enough to get out with her newborn, she couldn't on this coldest day on record. It's 20 below. As mom sits on the couch nursing, she gazes at her child. He's a sight, but after awhile mom gets a little restless. She tries to read, but she finds she can't hold a book and baby. Newspaper pages are a mess to manage. And forget eating—two hands are required. Just as isolation and sunshine deprivation are about to make her a little loony, she spots her iPhone on the coffee table. Lightbulb. This handheld (read: one hand) device is her ticket to the outside world.
She surfs the web to learn more about when her child is likely to crack a smile—at her.
She connects with friends on Facebook.
She finds a swaddle blanket to help her baby sleep better, and click—sold!
All while cradling baby.
Far from the mom of the future, this image was me just a few short months ago. And I'm not alone. According to BabyCenter's new "21st Century Mobile Mom Report," 51 percent of moms say they are "addicted" to their smartphones. These mamas spend an impressive 6.1 hours a day surfing the web on their mobile devices. They spend more time using smartphones than watching TV. Even if moms don't have smartphones, they spend an average of 5.4 hours a day surfing the web on their computers—must be naptime for baby! (For the record, I do hope I spent more time staring at my child than at the iPhone screen.)
What does this mean for retailers? If you want to reach these women who are America's top consumer group and spend more than $1.7 trillion each year on products and services (according to the book Trillion Dollar Moms), you need to get mobile and social ASAP. I know you've heard this advice before, but how do you target this audience specifically? Here are three easy ways to captivate moms and turn them into lifelong customers:
- Twitter weekly deals on baby products and post coupons on Facebook. According to global market research firm Mintel, 60 percent of moms (and I'd bet even more!) are spending more time looking for sales, discounts and coupons. When baby products go through checkout, make sure employees tell the moms where to find your store on social networking sites.
- Hire a mama blogger to test products you sell and make recommendations. Mintel reports that moms trust advice from other moms and from the Internet more than print advertising. So just because your store employee recommends a product doesn't mean it will sell unless your staffer happens to be a mom.
- Work directly with baby-product manufacturers on deals. According to the BabyCenter research, most mamas have their smartphones on hand when out shopping. When a mom "checks in" at your store with Foursquare or another check-in program, have her automatically receive an e-coupon for a baby product from the manufacturer you partnered with.