August 15, 2017

By Bethany Christie

Named for an uptick in the post-WWII birth rate, this is the generation of optimism, exploration and triumph. Encouraged to achieve the “American Dream,” Baby Boomers are ambitious, but also materialistic. Since they grew up with parents that fought through the Great Depression, Boomers value the finer items in life – brand names included.

Continuously interested in prosperity and ownership – this is the “me” generation. Baby Boomers have more authority, are extremely loyal to their children and trust no one under 30 years of age. Therefore, marketers must appeal to the consumer-side of Baby Boomers.

Many Baby Boomers will pay the extra money for products with a “luxury” tag. Boomers view money as a status symbol. While they love a good discount (who does not?), they are the generation that you should target for luxury goods. After all, this group controls approximately 70% of all U.S. disposable income. In fact, this group spends approximately $120B annually on leisure travel; 99% of Boomers planned to travel in 2016.

Some areas of interest?

Fitness and health. There is a high demand (expected to increase!) for pharmacy prescriptions, vitamins, fitness clothes and accessories, gym and studio memberships, and other health-related products.

Pets are another area of high spend; Boomers fuel growth in the pet industry. They spend more on pets each year compared to other generations.

Entertainment. Boomers spend about 40% more on cable and TV/ surround sound products than other generations.

Lastly, they are the most interested in home improvement. They spend more annually on their homes (renovations and décor) than any other generation. Bingo. This is your sweet spot.

You can reach Boomers with more traditional direct marketing tactics. Catalogs, creative and email are all ways to get onto Baby Boomers’ radars. In fact, Baby Boomers appreciate direct contact more than anyone. “Personal touch” and the opportunity to have a relationship with someone (or a company/ brand) remains top of mind for Baby Boomers.

All in all, this is a generation to continuously target. However, the population is in fact aging and therefore, spending less on luxury items. This fact echoes some of the challenges luxury retailers are facing today – Gen X and Millennials are less willing to pay up for status. This means retailers must reconsider their marketing position to this group as well. As always, we are happy to help!

August 8, 2017

By Bethany Christie

Of these 65.7M individuals, 75% earn more than Baby Boomers did when they were at this age, but only 36% have more wealth than their parents due to debt. Therefore, their perceptions (and realities) revolve around economic stresses such as middle age, retirement, work/ life balance and family responsibilities.

Being raised by Baby Boomer parents, they were taught to “take care of themselves” and they will exert that sentiment for their entire lives. In fact, 55% of startup founders are among this generation. They were the first families to enroll children in day cares to pursue intense careers. Second-wave feminism permitted women to be included in this ambitious population; it is the first generation with impactful dual income numbers.

With determination and discipline in the workplace comes the same consumer mentality for Gen Xers. Even the most affluent have middle class spending values; they are extremely conservative with money. What does this mean for marketers? Offer as many promotions and sales to these individuals as possible. However, this may be the most important takeaway: They are extremely brand loyal. Therefore, even though they have a “save, save, save” attitude, this group is more willing to pay higher prices for products and brands that they trust. Did we just crack the code?

Gen Xers are so in-tune with brands and what they want (dare we say, creatures of habit?), they use product information to make consumer choices; they research new products using online reviews and vast search engines.

We can reach Gen X with traditional marketing tactics – catalogs and creative but also with digital media, including both email and social as opportunities.

Keep the promotions coming, but realize the importance of brand loyalty. These are your avid users, frequent buyers, loyal consumers. Pull out all the stops – print and digital marketing along with celebrity endorsements, holidays and events.

August 1, 2017

By Bethany Christie

The largest generation to-date: Millennials. Currently, Millennials overtake Baby Boomers by nearly 4 million – and the population is growing. The millennial generation is expected to grow to 81 million over the next 20 years and therefore, this population is coming for us…and our products. We must study today’s generations to market our products accurately and efficiently.

Overall, one-fourth of this whopping 79.4M generation are new moms living in a child-centric world; 67% of these new moms are multicultural. Moreover, this group has $200B in spending power. On the business front, Millennials avidly look to generate power and “turn the world around.”

Wondering how they might manage this? Well, they have the numbers…and the degrees. This is the most educated generation thus far (Bachelor’s degree and above). They are very focused on socially responsible brands and concerned about services and experiences rather than products (stay tuned for how Gen X feels about this notion…). Aside from wanting to change the world, Millennials are deeply into extreme fun, technological advancements and achievement.

From a marketing standpoint, it is more important than ever to reach consumers via social media. We can do this through ads, sweepstakes, photoshoots, chats, brand partnerships, music, and events. Lucky for us, Millennials have an “earn to spend” mentality. They are eager to spend their paychecks, and even savings. With a “me, first” attitude, this generation spends the most on comforts and conveniences rather than necessities. For example, 60% of Millennials spend more than $4 on a single coffee, 79% will splurge to eat at a popular local restaurant, 69% buy clothes they do not need and over 50% spend money on taxis and Ubers.

Therefore, Millennials are willing to spend – but you must first get their attention. Marketing is all about multiple touch points. Therefore, we recommend you continue with direct mail campaigns and creative pieces, but expand and transition over to digital and social media as well. It is not really a choice anymore, it is a necessity. More to come on how to reach Gen X and how this group differs from Millennials.

July 27, 2017

By Polly Wong

While virtually all e-commerce players and almost all big retailers have moved to free shipping all the time (many with no hurdle), in our world of specialty retail we continue to discuss the impact of flat rate shipping and free shipping with clients on a regular basis. What is the lift in sales? The impact to margin? The impact on conversion rates? We are fortunate to have visibility to test results across our client base. What we have observed is that a reasonable flat shipping rate can increase sales up to 10%, and free shipping with a reasonable hurdle can impact sales up to 15%.

Here are some additional insights:

  • Some clients have found that if you make the AOV threshold 15-20% higher than your average order size, you see people buying more products to hit the threshold.
  • Also, by having a higher threshold on an everyday basis, it still allows you to use free shipping as a promotional lever at lower thresholds, and that can drive big lifts in sales.
  • On the flip side, for clients with a high AOV and high price point products, lowering the hurdle can help drive sales of lower price point items that are otherwise burdened with high shipping costs.
  • Consistently, we see free shipping with no minimum driving 15% plus in sales, but some clients have noted that the margin impact from low value orders makes this difficult to do.
  • On rollout, lifts can be lower at the company level for factors like loyalty programs, etc.  For example, if a good majority of customer purchases come from customers already getting free shipping as a benefit to having a private label credit card, then the overall lift is only on the non-loyalty-card customers.
  • We have also seen our home décor and furnishings clients give free shipping on certain décor categories because furniture makes it difficult for them to do free shipping on everything. Even non-home brands could take this approach on certain categories that have higher margins and/or lightweight items.

As consumers, we know the list of retailers that offer free shipping is long. When thinking about your own business, you must ask the question: Would I as a customer be willing to pay $12 in shipping for this item? At Belardi/Ostroy, we often argue free shipping is the price of doing business online, especially in a world where we must compete against Amazon, a company continuing to drive huge increases in revenue with good deals and fast, free shipping. As always, we are happy to be a sounding board if this is something you are testing or exploring as a company.

July 25, 2017

By Bethany Christie

Our fabulous Creative Team is fresh off a shoot with our client, United States Olympic Committee (USOC). You might be wondering: What does a photo shoot entail? The team gathered shots for the catalog and social media; see the latest @TeamUSA Instagram below.

Social media is incredibly important when it comes to marketing and advertising. In fact, there is about a $16B opportunity for advertising products via mobile, according to Kleiner Perkins’ latest report. Moreover, there is a $73B total internet ad spending opportunity. What does this mean? Consumers shop on their mobile devices, computers, tablets…and of course, continue to shop in brick-and-mortar stores.

Instagram posts are not only aesthetically pleasing, but the app allows users to have an interactive experience and thus, “shop the look.” Our friends at USOC have figured this method out – thanks to the Creative Team at Belardi/Ostroy. Specifically, our team encourages clients to focus on engagement and acquisition, plus shopping.

Conversion is another story, for another day. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to our Creative Team:…and in the meantime, follow @TeamUSA on social media to check out more of their magnificent products.