Hey there. My name is Lyle Currier, and I love trends. Call me a culture nerd. My passion is staying in tune with every little drift, tendency and movement that comes and goes. Man buns? Dad bods? Saw those coming years ago. With that in mind, I was honored and thrilled to have been offered an opportunity to work with the redpepper team as a Marketing and Research Intern.
I arrived on my first day to my perception of what a picture-perfect advertising agency should look like. A ping pong table and basketball hoop in the main lobby! What? An invitingly peaceful library, and a bar? All of this inside a well-designed and aesthetically pleasing work space. I felt like a kid arriving at the Chocolate Factory. However, the attractive office space and games couldn’t hide the productive creativity that was taking place. Around each corner I noticed “redpeppers” intensely firing off ideas and planting notes across sprawling whiteboards. As I met my fellow summer interns, the culture nerd within me immediately realized I was among my own kind.
Within my first few days, I got the chance to get my hands dirty when my manager, Samara, gave me a project. My objective was to research and identify the key trends and insights that drove 2014 holiday retail campaigns. The material gathered would be used to prepare a presentation on 2015 predicted retail trends to potential clients. The next step was meeting with members of the New Business and Strategy teams. After a slew of “tankfilling,” - redpepper’s unique way of brainstorming and researching - we identified seven key holiday retail trends:
Holiday Shopping Season Shifts: We discovered that holiday shopping doesn’t revolve around Black Friday anymore. The shopping season starts earlier and lasts longer . The single best sales day of 2014? December 26.
Holiday Spending Habits: People are going to brick-and-mortar stores less and less as e-commerce is rising more and more.
Shopping Behavior: Shoppers buy online because of price and convenience, while they buy in-store for reasons exclusive to the physical store. Also, social media sales are rising at a tremendous rate. Finally, “webrooming” is becoming a prevalent theme in holiday shopping.
Gifting: Gift cards were the most popular gift of the holidays, and 93 percent of people said they’d rather receive a $25 gift card than a $25 gift. People love the freedom of picking their own gift. Furthermore, “self-gifting” is now a popular habit.
Media Consumption Habits: Across all age groups, social media is now a fixture in our lives.
Mobile’s Increasing Importance: Mobile traffic made up nearly half of all online traffic during the season (almost a 25% increase from the previous year!). Mobile devices are now crucial for considering purchases. Almost half of shoppers research their products and/or compare prices with competitors on their phones before buying.
Social Shopping: People love sharing their shopping habits on social media. Facebook is, not surprisingly, the giant when it comes to social purchases. However, Pinterest sales are on a steady rise.
As I dove into my research and began putting the puzzle pieces together, I got this strange sense of exhilaration. I was legitimately excited to be working. What’s wrong with this guy, right? But seriously, I was exercising all the principles and practices that I had been learning in college (Geaux Tigers!) for the last few years as an advertising major. The fact that I was studying and applying trends to actual business solutions gave me a real feeling of accomplishment. And here’s the kicker - rather than just being another dang intern whose job was to stay out of the way and take people’s lunch orders, I felt valued.
This was just the first of many projects I’ll be working on as an intern. I’m excited to see what else I’ll learn and what trends I’ll discover as the summer goes on. And if you’re not sold yet, redpepper has its own line of coffee and it’s phenomenal.
Stay trendy, my friends.
Lyle Currier, New Biz Intern