Move over, flowers—when it comes to getting the right Mother’s Day gift, moms want some fashion, too.
Bluecore, a retail-oriented email personalization and marketing firm, tapped into 2018 data from 3.8 million orders worth $468.4 million across 30 retailers that sell jewelry, high-end apparel, beauty products and specialty gifts online. The company wanted to find out what people buy for the annual May holiday, when they shop, and how successful transactions can turn one-time purchasers into high-value repeat buyers in order to help ready merchants for May 12.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects spending around Mother’s Day to reach $25 billion this year, up from $23.1 billion in 2018. NRF projects that the average shopper will spend $196, or $16 more than in 2018, and that 38 percent will purchase apparel and accessories totaling $2.3 billion.
Moms still appreciate the customary floral arrangement to fete their special Sunday but gifts like jewelry, high-end fashion and beauty products are playing a larger role in marking these celebrations. Once Easter’s a wrap, retailers often begin beating the Mother’s Day drum but Bluecore found that consumers begin shopping and buying in earnest an average of 12 days leading up to the holiday.
People out to gift high-end apparel, which Bluecore defines as carrying an order value of $85 or higher, drove a steady rise in transactions in the two-week run-up to Mother’s Day, culminating in a 77 percent increase in orders less than a week (six days) before the big day. That’s the largest spike across any sub-vertical; purchases of flowers, books and wine—classified as specialty gifts—saw a 55 percent increase two days prior to Mother’s Day and a 27 percent bump on the actual day. For jewelry gifts, five days before the holiday proved to be the sweet spot, leading to a 56 percent rise in transactions. Behavior around beauty purchases showed a more unusual pattern with three smaller upticks of 29 percent at nine days, 28 percent at six days, and 29 percent at three days ahead of Mother’s Day.
More than just an isolated holiday, Mother’s Day can serve as a fruitful opportunity to convert one-off buyers into repeat customers and boost average lifetime value in the process. Bluecore’s data shows that 19 percent of people who made a high-end apparel purchase went on to buy again, ahead of jewelry shoppers (15 percent) and specialty gifters (10 percent) but trailing beauty buyers (24 percent). Those buying high-end apparel usually convert again 91 days, on average, following the initial purchase.
Noting that people purchasing a second time are 130 percent more valuable than one-time buyers, “leveraging a first-time Mother’s Day purchase is an extremely valuable retention strategy for retailers,” Bluecore said in the data insights report.
Consumers browsing high-end apparel on average viewed products in this category 7.8 times before pulling the trigger, indicating how many different options they need to consider before settling on “the one.” Even when they discover the right product, shoppers will revisit it 5.1 times on average before clicking the buy button, Bluecore found.
When crafting an email marketing strategy, retailers can pull any of a number of levers to nudge prospects farther along the purchase funnel. Email messaging could focus on the customer’s affinity for a category (eg, sweaters) or a targeted product, based on what that shopper has purchased previously or browsed recently. Or they can couple someone’s product affinity with their chance of converting, and offer up an incentive like free shipping or another perk to sweeten the deal.
To derive these insights, Bluecore scrutinized 128.8 million shoppers engagements, which includes everything from searching by keyword and adding products to a shopping cart, to looking at product pages and completing checkout.