Last week we were contacted by a research company to talk about children's clothing. Focus Forward sent us an email and flattered us by calling us 'experts' in this area (we are Moms, after all!) and asked if we would participate in a phone survey, to which we replied, "Of course!" (we hope you are paying attention here, dear readers... might YOU conduct some market research via phone, if you do not have the software to do so?)
When the call came in, we were momentarily confused-- it was one of those days when Jane was multi-tasking, despite that report from weeks ago where we told you that multi-tasking will make you stupid. We were writing something important, we were replying to emails, we were also doing laundry and shopping online for our granddaughter's birthday. Naturally, the phone was an interruption, but when the young woman on the other end pleasantly reminded Jane that we had agreed to participate in this interview, what could we do?
We heartily complied!
What ensued was a marvelous testament to the power of Moms online. This research firm was hired by a children's clothing manufacturer (we don't know which one...) to find out what its customers want. The questions were not focused on how to improve online marketing but-- you know Jane steered them in that direction. Since we were approached as 'experts' in the subject, we wanted to make sure we spoke to our expertise.
"What would you suggest a merchant do to its website to improve the experience for Moms?" the young woman asked.
Notice her language...'what would YOU suggest...to improve the experience.' We mentioned sizes...making them relevant to the children. Children do not come in a one-size fits all model. A size 2T on your child may be too large or too small for my toddler. A size 4 at the GAP is not the same as a size 4 at Limited Too. Just as with adults, children come in all shapes and sizes.
Jane suggested that, "Manufacturers show the product ON a child...and then, have the child standing in a room with relevant furniture to show the mother how big or small that size garment really is." In fact, Jane suggested using Avatars that Moms could dress and place accordingly.
Several times throughout the interview, the young woman we spoke with (and we apologize, we got so caught up in the interview, we forgot to write her name down) mentioned that since we're "considered an expert in this field," our opinion on these matters counted a great deal. Jane was flattered-- not only to be thought of as an expert, having dealt with women and shopping for such a long time now-- but also to be told more than once that our participation in this research counted for something.
You don't get that with a survey. Surveys are fine. We heartily approve of them. But the connection via the phone, the ability to ask questions off the cuff, yet still keep them focused on the topic at hand, was valuable in ways the written word cannot compete.
During this interview, Jane mentioned more than once that-- Moms don't buy exclusively for their own kids. They, like all women, shop for others more than they shop for their immediate family.
This means that Moms are buying children's clothing and/or gifts, for friends as well as family, before, during and after holidays or other special occasions. When a Mom is shopping for clothes for a friend's child, or even a relative's child, one who is located across the country or the world, merchants need to be able to SHOW that Mom how that shirt or skirt or pair of pants will look on that child.
The Mom-shopper needs an easy way to communicate with the child's Mom-- an "email this page" offer-- to make sure they're not only purchasing the right size, but the right color and style. Who better to answer that question than the child's own Mother?
Jane offers you this information to help you reflect on your own marketing to Moms. We concluded the interview with the expectation that we would be privvy to the results. When we learn the conclusions, we will most certainly share them with you, dear readers.
What's not to like about that?