Babes with Babies: How Millennial Moms Shop Part 1

Posted by: Cherryh Butler

Our millennial marketing conference, Share.Like.Buy, is in full swing today in New York City. We just from Stephanie Sladkus, publisher of People StyleWatch, about how millennial moms shop differently from millennial women without children, which the magazine defines as “emerging professionals.”

Within the next 10 years, 80 percent of millennials will have families, and 83 percent of today’s “new moms” are already in that age range. To attract those moms, retailers must cater to their new shopping habits, which include faster, easier experiences that also help them stay fashionable.

Although 87 percent of new millennial moms said that having a baby has changed how they approach their style, they still care about fashion.

Finding the style balance

The goal of a millennial mom is to look stylish, but she doesn’t have time to jump on every trend and looks to trusted authorities for advice. She reads fashion magazines, blogs and seeks her friends’ approval. She’s also starting to invest in more expensive items to create a more long-term wardrobe, while the emerging professional is still creating her “adult style” and wants versatility and is often more daring with trends.

To balance the demands of motherhood and style, millennial moms plan purchases online, spend less time in the store, often shop alone and embrace technology to get feedback before making purchases. Non-moms are more likely to make an event out of shopping and are often on the hunt for the best deals.

The shopping journey

The People StyleWatch study identified three shopping patterns of millennial women, which include:

  1. Webrooming
  2. Showromming
  3. Webounding

Webrooming: Millennial moms are most likely to use this technique, which starts with shopping online. They virtually check out styles and prices and then drive to a brick-and-mortar store to try on items and make final purchases.

Showrooming: Emerging professionals often engage in showrooming in order to find the best prices. The customer will find an item she likes in a store but will then look it up online to make sure she can’t get it cheaper somewhere else.

Webounding: This new shopping technique combines webrooming and showrooming and is ideal for both groups of millennial women, according to the People StyleWatch study. Like showrooming, the consumer begins shopping in the store but leaves and later gets more information about an item online. She then travels back to a brick-and-mortar location to get a better look but leaves again without buying. She’ll later make the purchase online.

Pulling the trigger

Although both groups are price conscious, moms will spend more on higher-quality items because they shop less and will wear the items more frequently. Emerging professionals, on the other hand, treat finding deals as a game they must win. They spend their money on a higher number of items that are trendy and less-expensive and will be out of season sooner than later.

A couple of factors are at play, however, for both groups when it comes to making a purchase. They include justification and social validation.

When it comes to justifying purchases, all millennial women weigh emotions, rationalization, levels of satisfaction and consideration.

For example, in-store shoppers may feel pressured to buy since they can “run out of time” but may also try on the outfit, so purchase confidence may be higher. Satisfaction is also immediate, but that means buyer’s remorse may set in faster, too.

Online shoppers, however, have no pressure to buy since they can always come back to their carts. They also read product reviews and are generally unhurried when it comes to purchasing. Satisfaction, however, is delayed because they must wait for items to ship.

Social validation is also important to both groups who want to feel like they made smart purchases. Moms want to know they are on trend and will share options with friends before buying, while non-moms want to make sure they found the best deal.

Retailers who understand the difference between the two millennial female groups can learn how to best market to them.

Part II of this blog will share strategies with retailers to help them reach both groups.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Orin ZebestCaius Gracchus & Ed Yourdon

About Cherryh Butler

Before joining Barkley this year, Cherryh spent her career as a journalist writing for a variety of publications, including American Fitness magazine, The Kansas City Star and Her 4-year-old son makes her a "Millennial...See Cherryh's full bio.