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Research Identifies New Shoppers Who Are Transforming Retail

Research from Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies, Retail TouchPoints and CashStar Reveals that Brand Mavens Have Enormous Purchasing Power

CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, in conjunction with Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies and Retail TouchPoints, today released the results of new research that identifies a new and highly influential segment of shoppers. Based on a survey across more than 1,300 consumers, the research shows that this segment, described as “Brand Mavens,” are digitally engaged and brand loyal shoppers who have strong peer influence. Brand Mavens have significant purchasing power and connecting with this segment is critical to the long-term success of retailers.

Brand Mavens actively motivate consumers in their circle of influence to try new brands and purchase more, initially through the use of gift cards. When combined with loyalty rewards, coupons and promotional offers as a way to manage all purchasing interactions with a brand, gift cards become a form of branded currency and are even more desirable to Brand Mavens. Branded currency is the foundation of their digital engagement, brand loyalty and influence, and makes it easy for them to shop a brand. In fact, 68% of Brand Mavens said they would like to utilize one card for completing payments, accessing loyalty points, and redeeming coupons and promotional offers.

Representing 53% of U.S. shoppers, these brand loyal consumers are predominately female (60%), financially responsible, in committed relationships and educated. They also have huge purchasing power and influence to generate significant increases in revenue and loyalty. The average Brand Maven spends approximately $1,100 on gift cards annually and redeems an average of $700 in cards – a total direct annual purchasing power of $1,800. Their purchasing power rises exponentially as they indirectly influence others to buy and redeem gift cards, and become loyal brand purchasers.

Analysis also shows that Brand Mavens are:

  • Pervasive: Brand Mavens have influence across all major retail verticals. They shop with gift cards and influence purchase and loyalty most frequently with restaurants (85%), department/big box (73%), and fashion and apparel (64%) retailers. They also frequently shop and influence purchasing decisions with health and beauty, home goods and furnishings, and outdoors and sporting goods retailers.
  • Omnichannel: Brand Mavens are cross-channel shoppers. While they redeem gift cards in the store and on the website most frequently, they also redeem via mobile and social channels. Their most-visited channel is the physical store (90%), with the retail brand website not far behind (79%), as well as mobile (37%).
  • Informed: Brand Mavens are voracious consumers of information, seeking out content before they make a purchase. They diligently gather product information and 66% read product reviews before completing a purchase. Their network is also important, with 61% consulting friends, family or co-workers before making a purchase.
  • Social: Brand Mavens are active social media users, enhancing their position as opinion leaders and influencers. Analysis of the survey data shows that Brand Mavens have a well-connected social network and broad presence on social media, which they use to inform, educate, advise and influence others. Close to one third (28%) share feedback about experiences via Twitter, Facebook, Google and other social channels.

“It’s clear from our research that Brand Mavens are an important segment with significant purchasing power and tremendous peer influence,” explained Retail TouchPoints Editor-in-Chief Debbie Hauss. “Understanding how to identify and engage these ultimate brand advocates will be core to the success of every consumer-facing brand.”

Additional findings include:

  • 75% of Brand Mavens are more likely to re-shop a brand if they can use their gift card for payment
  • Of those using mobile wallets, 54% use retailer native mobile apps to manage and redeem gift cards with brands; 48% use third-party mobile wallet apps, such as Apple Passbook, MCX CurrentC and Google Wallet
  • 55% consider joining a brand’s loyalty program and 51% are interested in tying their gift cards directly to a retail loyalty account
  • 47% encourage friends, family and co-workers to join retail loyalty programs, which is significant because 90% of consumers trust peers when making purchasing and loyalty decisions
  • 55% influence others to purchase gift cards and 56% want to re-load a card, which will result in additional sales and long-term loyalty

Findings from the report will be shared today at CashStar Innovate during the session, “Brand Mavens: Who Are They and Why Should Retailers Care?” led by Hauss and Lombardo.

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About Texas A&M Center For Retailing Studies
The Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies was created in 1983 to provide the retail industry with a pipeline to talent, continuing executive education, and new industry knowledge. Housed in the Mays Business School, the center is also one of the nation’s largest retail educators. Our programs and curriculum develop young, ethical leaders who possess the business acumen and passion to drive sales, lead teams, and spearhead business innovations for a global society. Driven by the outstanding research expertise of our faculty, the center is also renowned as a source of new insights and thought leadership for retailers. 

About Retail TouchPoints
Retail TouchPoints is an online publishing network for retail executives, with content focused on optimizing the customer experience across all channels. The Retail TouchPoints network is comprised of a weekly newsletter, insightful editorial blog, special reports, web seminars, exclusive benchmark research, and a content-rich web site featuring daily news updates and multi-media interviews at www.retailtouchpoints.com. The Retail TouchPoints team also interacts with social media communities via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

About CashStar
CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, enables the world’s top retailers and restaurants to grow and innovate in the rapidly evolving retail environment. CashStar provides best-in-class capabilities, revenue-optimizing risk management and a client success model based on aligned growth, to optimize digital gifting and prepaid commerce experiences. CashStar powers more than 300 leading brands worldwide including Best Buy, Brookstone, Coach, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gap, lululemon athletica, Nine West, Office Depot, Petco, Pottery Barn, QVC, Sephora, Staples, Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, The Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma. To learn more, please visit www.cashstar.com, follow @CashStar or e-mail .

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