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[13 comments]

Who Are the 'Digital Divas' and Why Are They Critical to Retail?

January 22, 2013

We all have friends who are more digitally engaged than we are and we know others who are more fashion forward than ourselves. Now, it seems, there is a group that is both — Digital Divas (DD).

A report based on a study of 7,000+ consumers from the University of Arizona and Demandware says there is a new segment of digitally engaged and fashionable consumers to be reckoned with. Sixty-four percent of these shoppers are 25-44 years old, 68 percent have kids and 71 percent are primary wage earners. Fifty-three percent are women, 47 percent men and they represent 27 percent of shoppers in the U.S. DDs are two-times as likely as average consumers to use mobile devices while shopping and five-times more likely to influence friends, family and colleagues. Their direct and influenced spend represent 69 percent of all fashion purchases in Europe and the U.S.

DDs value price and quality the most, but are also highly interested in service and a multi-channel experience. They are brand conscious and value style over function, enjoy shopping and know the trends — and they love to share experiences with those who seek and trust their advice. They utilize 3.7 technologies along their path to purchase while gathering information from 3.5 sources before they buy. And they have higher incomes than non-Divas while being more loyal to retailers.

In short, DDs would seem to be a "super group" of savvy shoppers who meet just about every criterion a retailer would want in a shopper. With above average income, engagement, influence, use of technology and social media, what else could one ask for? Perhaps they could wear badges in stores to identify their outsized influence.

Discussion Questions:

How can retailers identify Digital Divas so they can cater to them and leverage their power to influence others? Is it best to cater to specific groups like Digital Divas, even if they are important, or strive to treat all shoppers with one high standard?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Which characteristic of Digital Divas should retailers concern themselves with the most?

Comments:

If the "Digital Divas," as Demandware refers to them, are your target demographic, then by all means cater to them!

As with so many retail strategies today, identifying this target group is about being able to collect, manage and analyze the "Big Data" coming in from all channels. This is especially important for identifying digitally savvy consumers.

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Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief, Retail TouchPoints

Of course it's important to treat all shoppers with one high standard...after all there are aspirational digital divas, and there are their male counterparts too, the Dudes.

When I think about the best retailers, they're not just good because they know me, they're good because they SEEK to know me and my interests.

Every consumer-based study I have read shows an interest in edited, personalized assortments. Every retailer-based study we produce tells us retailers are focused on price. It's time to wake up and shift our paradigm. Price is just table stakes. What keeps customers coming back is service, and clean assortments.

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Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner, RSR Research

This piece may be an answer to the other item on today's RW—pertaining to why Target is launching brands only on Target.com. They're after the Digital Divas.

Seems to me there are two choices here. Go hunting for the Digital Divas by using digital analysis, etc. OR do something that draws them to you. The latter strategy might be the most fruitful.

So what "bait" do you use? Obviously you start with having real cool stuff. Hardly anyone has cool stuff it seems to me or maybe I just need to get out more. "Originality" is the key enticement that will lure the DDs to you. Truth is if you've seen one men's store you've pretty well seen them all. Do something different!

Second hire a sharp 20 something who has never been close to retail to design and implement your digital strategy. And for goodness sakes PAY him or her. You should never go to a doctor who's younger than you but the opposite is true when it comes to your digital advisor. NEVER hire one older than you!

The other question asked suggested that somehow DDs are unique. No so. What I've suggested above will work for 99% of customers. We ALL want to look cool and even if all we own is a Blackberry and a solitary laptop, we all Google.

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Ian Percy, President, The Ian Percy Corporation

I had hoped we could get through at least one month this year without another one of these mind-numbing taxonomies, but apparently, I was sadly mistaken.

So let me get this straight. This "new" group of most desirable shoppers is ... wait ... Stop the Presses! ... just like the old analog world's most desirable shoppers!

OMG! (as a Digital Diva might inarticulately shriek).

And ... what do they want from retailers? Everything! Well, that makes it easy.

Perfect!

What should retailers do? Ignore this and all other pseudo-segmentations and concentrate on serving real customers instead.

There ... I feel better now.

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Ryan Mathews, Founder, ceo, Black Monk Consulting

There is software that can track how connected individuals using social media are. If you know who the connected individuals are and if they are in your target market, you can focus your promotion on them and they will share your message with greater influence.

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Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D., President, Global Collaborations, Inc.

This is a very interesting segment that Retailers should look to engage with more purposefully. This is not to say they should receive special deals. All consumers should feel special. They should however be on the forefront of what is happening online and in-store. Smiley360.com (Declaimer: I have no affiliation) has built a large Blogger base that can help a brand or retailer build awareness. That said, it is more focused on general "power Bloggers" and not DD that are interested in your specific brand.

Some ideas: Give them an early bird notice on sales, Let them know about special in store or online events. Ask for their opinion on fashion and trends. Share that feedback with all customers and use it to drive your assortment.

Today's DD are no different than yesterday's loyal customers that spoke about your brand at cocktail parties and other social events. The big difference now is DD have the power to share their views to a much broader audience than yesterday's loyal customers.

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John Boccuzzi, Jr., Managing Partner, Boccuzzi, LLC

I see the Digital Diva as possibly the reason Target is introducing lines online only. Maybe this is the tie in? How to collect data might be the real problem for retailers. Possibly through knowing how active and how many contacts and friends they have in their network, retailers can begin to gather data.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

The Digital Divas must be among the 65% (or is it 75% of supermarket shoppers?) according to "surveys" who roam the aisles clutching a smartphone to check for coupons, nutrition information, brand and retail websites, and so forth. So store managers can easily identify these shoppers and cater to them in person in real time.

But here's the problem: I'm in grocery stores all the time. I have never—repeat, never—seen a consumer consulting a smartphone while shopping.

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John Karolefski, Editor in Chief, CPGmatters.com

Okay, I'm just going to say it. This is not a 'group' you target and identify. They are not even a particular demographic. They are folks from many walks of life that are digitally savvy and you, dear retailer, must be found by THEM. How do you get found? You give them what they want. Show them transparency, quality, a great customer experience in all channels, and excellent service. If you are in their target range, they will find you.

Lee Kent, Brings Retail Executives Together to Meet.Learn.Profit, RetailConnections

Once again the Pareto principal rules. We are told that a small segment of individuals who possess both the greatest consumptive needs and the greatest means account for a disproportionate segment of purchases and influence.

The news here is that the identified group is defined less by its demographics and more by its behavior—which is a welcome distinction so long as the logic doesn't get all circular.

The research draws a new dotted line around the most valuable shopper segment, by correlating smartphone, online and media use with purchases. Influence, newly amplified by the social-mobile revolution, looms as a much larger factor compared with just a few short years ago.

It remains for marketers to decide how best to cater to the "Digital Divas" segment. The moniker makes me squirm, but the call to action is fairly clear: how can we turn these people into more than mere consumers, into advocates for our brand?

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James Tenser, Principal, VSN Strategies

This article had 4.8 times as many stats as were needed. Haven't there always been small groups that account for a majority of purchases? I suspect this is no different, and this "digital" group is dominant in other attributes like—oh, maybe—income as well.

'notcom'

I would welcome the opportunity to survey among the Digital Divas to see who among them are "showroomers" and dig deeper into whether showrooming is a concern to retailers, or if it is a behavior that can be shaped to benefit brick and mortar retailers. So much could also be learned about preferences of communications channels. I recommend to survey, test incentives in various channels, and create panels among these groups.

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Bill Hanifin, Managing Director, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

This isn't complicated. Price and product can be copied by your competitors. Services that are hard to duplicate quickly will capture these or any other shoppers ... online or offline.

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Ralph Jacobson, Global Consumer Products Industry Marketing Executive, IBM

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