A Mother’s Day Conundrum

Mother’s Day growing up was always a special day. I have fond memories of this Sunday in May, often the perfect time of year – beautiful, sunny, and the ideal temperature.  We’d spend time together as a family over brunch before we’d head out to visit my grandmothers.  We’d treat my mom like a queen – presenting her with beautiful flowers, cards, and gifts wrapped in brightly colored tissue/wrapping paper/ribbon.  In hindsight, more than half the fun was the opening itself — even before seeing what was inside.

Fast-forward 20 years. Many of my peers (including myself) no longer live in the same cities as their mothers.  This unfortunately means that Mother’s Day isn’t a holiday we typically get to spend together in person, and necessitates that gifts be sent in advance. I’m clearly a huge online shopper, so finding/selecting something to send wasn’t the problem, but this year I was still faced with quite a conundrum: do I ship the items directly to my mom from the retailers, or do I ship them to myself in Brooklyn, wrap them beautifully/with a personal touch, and then ship them to my mom in Michigan from here?  Even though it’s probably more expensive and time-consuming, I ultimately went with the latter. I wanted to re-create the excitement of years past, so my mom will hopefully have a special moment when she receives and opens the gifts.

Mothers Day Gifts

Herein lies a potential opportunity for retailers: give consumers a way to order online, but still create that wow, emotional gifting moment.  Instead of offering the same basic gift options used the rest of the year, cater the wrapping (paper/ribbon) to be more holiday-specific. Even if just for holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, make it more special for the woman receiving the item. I understand there are numerous executional/operational challenges that would accompany such an offering, but this could be a novel way to differentiate. A very simple approach could be to simply give consumers the choice of ribbon color, even if continuing to use a simple box. If I knew my gifts would arrive with a bit of pop/uniqueness, it would have pushed me over the edge.


One thought on “A Mother’s Day Conundrum

  1. Great point! I remember how department stores used to offer wrapping stations with customizable/interesting wrapping paper, etc. Seems that bringing that model online would make a lot of sense. Maybe an opportunity for a 3rd party to somehow power this for various retailers? I imagine the logistics would be complicated though.

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