One of the more fun and simple ways of showcasing your love for a particular series, movie, game, or your decorative and creative side is through merchandise. This can be any product, from stickers, neon lights, and posters to t-shirts, bags, and phone cases; the options are truly endless, and can be displayed through your wardrobe, your office, or even your car, among other places and objects. A massive store in Redbubble was created in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia where independent artists can share their creativity with the world by uploading and selling their custom designs and art prints on display through a massive variety of products (Redbubble, n.d.). From the get-go, Redbubble had a clear target market in mind: creators and creative individuals with an enthusiasm for expressing their interests.
According to Mindy Lilyquist (2020), a target market is a specific group of potential customers for which your products and services are positioned. This target market may be segmented into smaller groups, including four common segmentation types:
- Demographics — Focused on features such as gender, marital status, education, race, age, and religion (Lilyquist, 2020). Redbubble is primarily driven by its independent creators who for the most part encompass a significantly broad demographic. The products cater to both male and females in the age group of 14 to 35 who are full-time students or employees, or a mix of both. This includes younger parents who may want a custom designed unicorn one-piece for their baby, for example. A quick search for any religious figure will also bring in a high number of products. It is ultimately up to Redbubble in deciding what art designs to allow. They are quite flexible in allowing artist expression for their products so long as nothing is offensive, disrespectful, or hateful towards anyone or any group of people, and adheres to their policies.
- Psychographics — “Considers attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles” (Lilyquist, 2020, para. 7). Redbubble’s art-oriented products are targeted at creative individuals: the buyers who like to express themselves and their interests through graphic t-shirts, wall art prints, car decals, and any product which can display a custom design, and the sellers who are artists looking to share their creations with the world and make money off them. The products are intended for those who value art, creativity, expressiveness, and customization. They can be used to decorate bedrooms, offices, laptops, cars, instruments, consoles, etc. However, they may encompass a variety of lifestyles, such as runners who want to place a “Star Wars” sticker on their water bottle, dog lovers who want a cute dog design on their coasters, or students who want a “Friends” backpack.
- Behavioral — Focused on the benefits that customers receive and how they choose to use the products (Lilyquist, 2020). Since Redbubble is art-driven, their target behavioral segmentation are buyers looking to display their love for their main passions, interests, and forms of media through decorations and everyday products. Redbubble has larger potential when it comes to behavioral segmentation as its customers are looking to interact with brands for the products the store sells, and not with the Redbubble brand itself. A lot of potential buyers looking to buy fan art-related merchandise visit the store to find more uniquely designed fan art products as well as to support independent artists, as opposed to settling for mass-produced cheaper products from other major e-commerce stores like Amazon or Wish.
- Lumen (n.d.) includes purchasing power in defining a target market, and Redbubble’s prices are quite reasonable, staying relatively the same for each type of product, only increasing by more than a few dollars depending on the change wanted for a product, such as choosing a more expensive material for a poster or a larger size. The products are very accessible when it comes to price and can be afforded by middle-income groups. Young teens with low purchasing power as well as adults with full-time jobs and higher purchasing power can buy anything from stickers, mugs, posters, sweatshirts, large canvas prints, or bedding products.
- Geographics — This is based on location, which can be city, state, or country (Lilyquist, 2020). Redbubble collaborates with a global network of third-party printers and ships from countries including the U.S.A., Canada, the Netherlands, the U.K., Australia, Germany, France, and Spain (Redbubble, n.d.). Redbubble (n.d.) sells its products through worldwide shipping; however, the store states that their products are not available for Iran, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea due to third-party printer locations as well as international shipping registrations. The fan art-related content can also be limited due to the store’s rightsholders partners setting certain country restrictions at times, prohibiting some items from being sold in some countries (Redbubble, n.d.). Regardless, Redbubble has a strong international presence and as long as there are individuals anywhere wanting to buy custom design merchandised such as a poster of their favorite anime or fun and creative artist-designed pins online, the store will be one of their first options as it will most likely have available shipping for their region.
Ultimately, Redbubble takes the most advantage of its fan art-related content for its targeted marketing as it is their strongest unique selling point. The possibilities for their fan art content are endless and rely largely on the store’s independent artists interests and hobbies.
Having broken down the segmentation types for target markets, Redbubble’s target audience can be defined as anyone between the ages of 14 to 35, with a strong passion or “fandom” for practically any interest, unafraid to express their love for said interests through merchandise, decorations, or accessories, from any kind of lifestyle, and of any regional, cultural, or religious background. The store will only grow stronger as geek culture and pop culture continues to grow and be present in our daily lives, as opposed to maybe even a decade ago when donning such apparel was looked down upon or judged. All of this applies not only to the buyers but to the creators as well.
As far as the store’s social media strategies go, they have maintained brand consistency throughout their social media channels, and a consistent strategy in focusing on their target audience through short video advertisements on YouTube and through Instagram and Facebook product advertisements with call-to-action links. User-generated content for the store is abundant not only through artists sharing their Redbubble profile and store but also for bloggers writing and sharing how-to pieces for eager artists wanting to sell and advertise their designs on the store, and Redbubble publishes their own blogs as well from time to time. The store makes sure to manage their strategies timely throughout the year for larger, specific holidays or events depending on the region. These can include romantic or cute Valentine’s Day designs, the recent St. Patrick’s Day, or strong text visuals focused on female empowerment for Women’s History month, from hats and graphic t-shirts to mugs and pet toys. The store also does well in running two Instagram accounts: one for the store itself and another one for sharing and promoting their independent artists’ work (Redbubble, n.d.).
Suggestions on Redbubble’s target audience
The store has a lot of potential when it comes to increasing their target market strategies. They could focus more priority on marketing the profitability of creating and selling art on their store for users on art-related niche social platforms such as Deviantart, which is an online art community where artists upload and share their creations (Deviantart, n.d.). The store could also allocate more of their marketing budget towards improving their SEO. While the store has major unique selling points, the strongest being their fan art content and independent artists, it still has some strong competition in other websites which may pop up before them on Google or Yahoo searches. The store has some major competitive advantages; however, there is much room for growth and improvement. Nevertheless, they understand and cater to their target audience efficiently, and as their consumer and creator community continues to grow daily, so does the business.
Deviantart. (n.d.). https://www.deviantart.com/
Lilyquist, M. (2020). Understanding and defining a target market. The Balance Small Business. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/target-market-defined-1794389
Lumen Learning. (n.d.). The purpose of market segmentation and targeting. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/marketing-spring2016/chapter/reading-the-purpose-of-market-segmentation-and-targeting/
Redbubble. (n.d.). About. https://www.redbubble.com/about
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Redbubble. (n.d.). Fan Art. https://www.redbubble.com/g/fan-art
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