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The ‘Alpha Mom’ Argument

Analyzing shopping data streamlines tasks for harried moms

I recently heard a statistic that 80% of consumer-spending decisions are made by women. This doesn’t surprise me, especially being a member of a growing group called “Alpha Moms.”

For readers who are not in the know, an Alpha Mom is described as an educated, tech-savvy, “seemingly” in control Type-A mom. She is family-centric, is often part of the work force, and makes most purchasing decisions for the household.

She is also wired—and not just by adrenaline or caffeine. A recent article in USA Today reported that Alpha Moms are online for an average of 87 minutes a day, and they spend at least 7% more than the typical Internet shopper.

They also want more than online promotions and discount coupons. That’s why brands such as Pampers, Similac and Huggies feature networks where moms can gain lifestyle information and health tips, and even blog on bulletin boards. I know this firsthand.

As I started to write this column, I was days away from delivering my second child. Although homebound (doctor’s orders), I was still working full-time, caring for my 3-year-old daughter (and coordinating her social calendar), and running the Amato-McCoy household.

I relied on a wireless network to communicate electronically with colleagues, family and friends. My laptop and Motorola Q were my best friends. These tools were also my gateway to fulfilling a few pending shopping obligations, including buying a christening gift, presents for my friend’s twins’ first birthday, clothes for my daughter’s return to pre-school and of course, the holidays.

While the mall was off limits, my favorite retailers weren’t worried. They were clearly using data analytics to monitor my shopping patterns and create ways to make shopping easier for me.

For example, Hallmark.com enabled me to input all of my important upcoming events, dates and birthdays. Besides sending me e-mail alerts reminding me to buy cards, Hallmark.com also features easy-to-send e-cards.

Gap Inc. also kept me top of mind. As a loyal Gap Card credit-card holder, I am entitled to 10% off all purchases made the first Tuesday of every month—either online or in stores. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call a couple of months back reminding me that the next 10% Tuesday was only days away. (It worked by the way!)

And just last week, Gap.com sent me an interesting e-mail. The subject line said, “Long Time No Shop. Here’s An Exclusive Offer For You.” This should come in very handy as I complete my first-birthday party shopping, and buy Daniella’s new school clothes.

More impressive than these discounts is that Gap and Hallmark are really focused on my needs. And they do this by analyzing my shopping history, buying patterns and other details that are stored in my customer profiles. They’ve renewed my faith that some retailers are actually putting their data analytics and customer-relationship-management investments to good use.

During the sleepless nights of maternity leave, I didn’t shut off my PDA. Rather, it kept me connected to family and friends—including my favorite retailers. Whether they deliver e-mail reminders or online support groups, I know they’re already proactively working to get this Alpha Mom back into the stores.

P.S. We had a girl—Cristiana—and I’m back a work full-time.

© 2014