It’s almost Mothers’ Day, and I remember driving down to the Short Hills Mall in New Jersey when I was in high school to pick out the best, most beautiful gift pack in the fragrance department at B. Altman or Bloomingdales. Fast forward to the complexity of shopping choices today!

At MakerSights, we operate in a world that captures product insights through data, helping our brand partners to understand their customers’ preferences. Our brands often ask how they can grow their business by appealing to customers whose attention they don’t already have. Often, they want to build loyalty among a younger customer base, while protecting the loyalty of their existing (often older) customers.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we spent some time talking to mothers and daughters about how they live & shop. Sometimes, the best data comes from personal conversations. Here’s what we learned…

Q: how do you shop today?

Mothers and daughters both told us they do a significant portion of their shopping online, and some daughters shop almost exclusively online. This includes all categories, even food (click & pick up)! Reasons they cited were convenience (everyone mentioned how busy they are) & confidence that you are getting the best price, as well as a lack of interesting & inspiring stores.

Q: do you buy for specific seasons or do you prefer to find “seasonless” items?

Mothers and daughters both love seasonless items. Shoes (sandals, boots) were mentioned as the most seasonal items. Both mothers and daughters want to minimize the complexity of their lives, and modern fabrics, which are often lightweight, breathable, and comfortable all year long answer their quest for simplicity. Fewer, better, functional pieces is their goal.

Q: what is your ideal brick & mortar store experience?

Mothers mentioned a well curated assortment as being something they appreciate. Sue Britton, founder of Britton Marketing, considers herself a “gifter,” and loves finding a special store, like she did in Louisville, that inspires her to spend more money and time than she would online. We also heard that the personal experience and relationships that customers build with staff is a significant reason to shop in stores. Daughters agreed, and mentioned shopping on vacation as something they enjoy. In line with what we are hearing in the news….no one loves shopping at malls. Our mothers and daughters cited the lack of original retailers and length of time to commute to stores as the main detractors.

Q: how do you discover new brands?

Although mothers still enjoy magazines, the personalization offered by Instagram and Pinterest is appealing to both mothers and daughters. Instagram paid advertising can work: beautiful photography is great and captures our mothers’ and daughters’ attention; while annoying ads are a turnoff, especially flashing lights or sale prices. Times have changed — celebrity endorsements don’t carry as much weight as they did in the past. Customers want to have actual conversations about products, with real users.

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