The ‘Alpha Mom’ Argument
I recently heard a statistic that 80% of consumer-spending decisions are made by women. This doesn’t surprise me, especially being a member of a growing group called “Alpha Moms.”
For readers who are not in the know, an Alpha Mom is described as an educated, tech-savvy, “seemingly” in control Type-A mom. She is family-centric, is often part of the work force, and makes most purchasing decisions for the household.
She is also wired—and not just by adrenaline or caffeine. A recent article in USA Today reported that Alpha Moms are online for an average of 87 minutes a day, and they spend at least 7% more than the typical Internet shopper.
They also want more than online promotions and discount coupons. That’s why brands such as Pampers, Similac and Huggies feature networks where moms can gain lifestyle information and health tips, and even blog on bulletin boards. I know this firsthand.
As I started to write this column, I was days away from delivering my second child. Although homebound (doctor’s orders), I was still working full-time, caring for my 3-year-old daughter (and coordinating her social calendar), and running the Amato-McCoy household.
I relied on a wireless network to communicate electronically with colleagues, family and friends. My laptop and Motorola Q were my best friends. These tools were also my gateway to fulfilling a few pending shopping obligations, including buying a christening gift, presents for my friend’s twins’ first birthday, clothes for my daughter’s return to pre-school and of course, the holidays.
While the mall was off limits, my favorite retailers weren’t worried. They were clearly using data analytics to monitor my shopping patterns and create ways to make shopping easier for me.
For example, Hallmark.com enabled me to input all of my important upcoming events, dates and birthdays. Besides sending me e-mail alerts reminding me to buy cards, Hallmark.com also features easy-to-send e-cards.
Gap Inc. also kept me top of mind. As a loyal Gap Card credit-card holder, I am entitled to 10% off all purchases made the first Tuesday of every month—either online or in stores. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call a couple of months back reminding me that the next 10% Tuesday was only days away. (It worked by the way!)
And just last week, Gap.com sent me an interesting e-mail. The subject line said, “Long Time No Shop. Here’s An Exclusive Offer For You.” This should come in very handy as I complete my first-birthday party shopping, and buy Daniella’s new school clothes.
More impressive than these discounts is that Gap and Hallmark are really focused on my needs. And they do this by analyzing my shopping history, buying patterns and other details that are stored in my customer profiles. They’ve renewed my faith that some retailers are actually putting their data analytics and customer-relationship-management investments to good use.
During the sleepless nights of maternity leave, I didn’t shut off my PDA. Rather, it kept me connected to family and friends—including my favorite retailers. Whether they deliver e-mail reminders or online support groups, I know they’re already proactively working to get this Alpha Mom back into the stores.
P.S. We had a girl—Cristiana—and I’m back a work full-time.
CompUSA may get a new look
ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.
According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.
The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.
Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.
While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.
“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.
CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.
The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.
Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.
Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.
Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:
“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.
“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”