retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kate McMahon

As any parent (or teacher) scrambling to get dinner on the table while rushing off to back-to-school night can tell you, September is a very stressful time of year.

So it’s not surprising that a recent survey found mothers with school-age children agreed and 87% reported that having a smartphone definitely eased the strain of organizing family schedules, communicating with others and shopping during this hectic time.

The report, entitled “Moms Go Back-to-School with Mobile,” also found that smart-phone owning moms of pre-schoolers are the most active users of the technology, followed by mothers with kids in elementary and secondary schools.

Among the other findings relating to the retail sector:

• Twenty-five per cent of these “millennial moms” use their phone to find coupons and store discounts.

• Some 21% use smartphones to build and check shopping lists.

• One in five uses her smartphone for mobile shopping.

In short, the respondents go mobile “to pursue the information they want and need, everywhere they go, every time of the day.” In every category, the younger moms were the more “mobile-intense.”

And the business takeaway on this is clear – retailers, brands and service providers who want to reach these power-purchasers of diapers, cereals, milk and more must be thinking mobile along with other social networking and digital marketing strategies. This crowd is not clipping coupons or perusing circulars in the Sunday paper.

It should be noted that while the national survey focused on mothers, marketing strictly to moms is short-sighted. In more and more American families moms and dads are sharing shopping, cooking and parenting responsibilities.

And that’s where forward thinking apps such as such as OurGroceries come into play. This application allows you to share your grocery list with your spouse or other family members. The list can be specific to one or several stores, or different categories. Anyone in the app’s “joint account” can make a list or add an item (or delete if you happen to be shopping at the same time). Every change is visible with in seconds. It also keeps track of ingredients for “favorite meals” so if one person is assigned to shop for lasagna he or she won’t forget the ricotta. And everyone has to share responsibility when you run out of milk.

Interestingly, the survey asked the mothers “if you could download a ‘magical app’ for your smartphone to help you with back-to-school, what would you choose?”

Thirty-one percent of moms wished they had an app that could make dinner for a week. More realistically, 26% wished for a homework assist in app form.

If only. I’ll settle for a smartphone synchronized joint effort on the grocery shopping list for now.

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