What Mother’s Day gift-buying data can tell retailers preparing for Father’s Day.

It’s that time of year again, when we officially honor our parents, caregivers and friends and show them our appreciation and affection. We told Mom how special she is last month by giving her gifts on Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is right around the corner. Have you ever wondered why the two holidays are spaced just a month apart? If you’re curious, you can learn more about the history of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day here.

This year, total spending on Father’s Day, which falls on Sunday, June 17, is expected to exceed $15 billion, representing an enormous opportunity for retailers. To help them make the most of it, we analyzed data from GiftNow® Insights, GiftNow’s premier source of data, to see what consumers’ spending behavior for Mother’s Day could tell us about how they’ll approach Father’s Day this year, and we’ve identified three key insights for retailers.

  1. The Returns are Coming

At least 25% of the gifts brought from your store will be returned.

We know–the truth hurts.

Based on our data, 9% of Mothers returned their gifts citing that they received something they did not want. Gifts that are the wrong style, size or color will make up the other 16% of returns. And our data indicates that although moms are a picky bunch, dads can be even more so. Based on last year, close to 50% of Father’s Day gifts were returned or exchanged!

So, what can retailers do?

For retailers partnering with GiftNow, this isn’t that big of an issue, since our platform allows products from retailers’ sites to be digitally delivered prior to landing on the recipient’s front porch. That means dad can make any changes to his gift—like choosing a different size or color—before the product ever leaves the warehouse. He can even return it for another product or store credit before it’s shipped, saving the retailer unnecessary picking, packing and shipping costs.

Father's Day.001But what can retailers that haven’t yet partnered with GiftNow do to maximize sales, minimize returns and gain an edge this Father’s Day? With less than a week to the special day, it’s difficult to make any significant changes, but we do have some suggestions, based on our data:

a. Get merchandising and product descriptions spot-on
Look at previous Father’s Day data and take note of which products have the highest propensity to be returned. Then, ensure you’re not prominently merchandising and promoting them. Of course, this doesn’t stop your shoppers from finding them, so be sure to revisit those product descriptions and revise them to be as accurate as possible.

b.Make the returns process easy
Sometimes gift givers do get it wrong, so make returns simple and convenient. Is your return policy clear? Is information on the return/exchange process easy to find? Is the process smooth? Since you know returns are coming, aim to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation. An easy and smooth return process is likely to leave customers with a positive brand experience, despite the need for a return.

c. Be a tollbooth, not a cul-de-sac
What is your current return policy for gifts? Are you issuing a refund to the buyer via the original method of payment? Or a gift card to the gift recipient? Many retailers are guilty of the former, and it actually throws a huge wrench into the works. If the person who is receiving the refund is the gift sender, it is unlikely that what was refunded will be spent again in your store. If you have a high return rate, those lost sales can be massive. The bottom line is that money spent by gift senders in your store should remain in the store. A gift return/exchange should be a means for the gift recipient to get from one product to another, not a dead end. So, in terms of your return and exchange policies, be a cul-de-sac, not a tollbooth. Your margins will thank you.

2. Men May Actually Be Your More Valuable Shoppers

The traditional thinking is that women are more apt to give gifts than men are, that women are more open to the idea of gifts and more likely to embrace the experience of giving and receiving. But our data indicate that that line of thought is, well, outdated.

Men were just as likely to buy gifts for Mother’s Day as women were this year, according to our data. But what really surprised us was that men spent an average of $149 on Mother’s Day gifts, compared to the $106 spent on average by women. That is an average of 40% more spent by men than women.

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Is it likely that this trend will continue for Father’s Day? And, if so, should retailers be doing something different in light of it?

Yes, and yes. Instead of having a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign, retailers should consider connecting with men and women as two distinct shopper segments. That would increase the likelihood of really striking a chord with both audiences. Also, if your typical customers are men, and you therefore target all your marketing efforts towards them, remember that women buy for dads too. If you’re not used to marketing to women, think about how you can reshape your efforts to better cater to them during these critical few days leading up to Father’s Day.

3. Last Minute = Mobile Shoppers

A Forbes article recently stated that 35% of all e-commerce purchases were made on mobile in 2017, with that number looking to jump to nearly 40% in 2018.

For Mother’s Day this year, 50% of all orders on the GiftNow platform were made via mobile device. That is incredible! One in every two people bought their Mother’s Day gift using GiftNow on their smartphone. If you didn’t, chances are the person next to you probably did.

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This could be due, in part, to the fact that 50% of purchases made within two weeks of Mother’s Day were made in the last four days leading up to the holiday. As the occasion drew nearer and the urgency to get Mom’s gift to her in time rose, many shoppers likely just turned to the most convenient way of buying a gift—through their smartphone.

If you’re guilty of focusing too much on your desktop site and not enough on your mobile site, it’s good time to review your priorities. With mobile payments becoming ever more simple and secure, your mobile site might just grow to be your most important digital channel in the very near future.

Are You Ready For Father’s Day?

Beyond what we’ve shared here regarding shoppers’ habits when buying gifts for Mom and Dad, retailers should also be looking into their own data to develop further insights. Once you uncover these nuggets, use them to inform your strategy and decisions.

Father’s Day is June 17, so, hurry! There’s no time to waste.

All the data above is retrieved from GiftNow Insights, GiftNow’s premier source of data gathered from our network of the market’s leading retailers including Target, Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more.

Find out more about how GiftNow can help your business here


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