Monthly Archives: June 2012

Smart Phones Set To Increase Influence

Recently we’ve posted information about the increases in smart phone penetration.  With more people interacting with mobile devices, it’s only natural that smart phones will be an increasing influence on how people make purchases.  A report shows some surprising information on just how much influence smart phones will have in the coming years.

• Currently, smart phones are estimated to influence 5% of retail sales or nearly $160 billion in retail sales

• By 2016, that number is expected to increase greatly. Mobile influenced sales are projected to hit nearly $690 billion  or 19% of retail store sales

• The store category where smart phones are expected to have the most influence is in the electronic/appliance area.  Current influence is at 8% but is anticipated to grow to approximately 30%

• The other categories expected to see major growth are the general merchandise/department store segment, clothing/footwear arena, food & beverage business and the books/music area

What Does This Mean To You

Smart phones influence your business in many ways. From consumers searching and finding your location to researching & comparing prices to even posting and reading social comments about your company.  Is your business ready for everything that entails? Some questions to think about. Is your site mobile-ly optimized? Have you tested your site on a variety of mobile platforms? What is your mobile marketing strategy? Is your staff up-to-speed on your mobile offerings? Does your social media strategy have a mobile component?
The number of consumers relying on mobile for information is growing rapidly, having solid plans in place will help you leverage everything mobile can offer your business.  For more information on creating results with mobile technology, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte Consulting

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Email Is Consumer’s Top Contact Tool

Did you know that 90% of internet users receive at least one permission based email everyday from a company.  But email isn’t just a one-way communication from businesses to shoppers. It’s also the primary way that consumers interact with companies.

• 75% of internet users have provided feedback or contacted a business via email

• Over half say email is their preferred method of communication

• 66% have called a business and less that 40% have written a letter to a business

• Less than 30% have used Facebook or another social network to provide feedback to a company – but younger consumers are moving more towards social networks as a response mechanism

• Over one in four of 18-24 year olds have used Facebook to communicate with a brand or company – that is over twice the percentage of adults age 25-34

• The most active groups using email as a way to contact companies were 35-44 year olds and the 55-64 age bracket.  56% of both of these groups provided feed back or communicated with businesses

What Does This Mean To You

Whether consumers are venting, praising, complaining or offering suggestions – they prefer to communicate through email.  The question is, how do you respond? If a patron has taken the time to provide feedback, positive or negative, they are engaged with your business.  If they didn’t care they wouldn’t take the time.  Not responding to consumer gives the impression that you don’t care.  This can lead to negative postings through social media and other digital word of mouth.  Last year, we provided research that showed how comments through social networks can affect your business. Thanking customers for their positive feedback will help extend their loyalty to you.  Responding to negative comments can mitigate damage and may get that customer to return to your business.  One thing to remember is that tone is often lost through electronic communication.  Something innocuous could very easily come across negatively.  It’s a good idea to have another person review responses, especially responses to negative comments.  For more information on communicating with customers via email, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: eMarketer; Maritz

Why Consumers Don’t Complete The Sale

Last week, we had a post on what things online shoppers want to retailers to improve upon.  One of the biggest problems many online retailers are dealing with is shopping cart abandonment.  New research has been developed that shows why digital shoppers don’t complete the sale.

• 70% of consumers have add items to their online shopping carts but have not complete the purchase – the total cost to US online retailers is estimated to be over $18 billion

• Nearly 60% of those who abandoned their carts were not ready to purchase, but wanted to get an idea of how much shopping costs would be

• 56% were not ready to purchase but wanted to save the cart for later

• 55% did not complete the sale because they thought shipping costs were too high

• Just over half didn’t complete the purchase because their order was not large enough to qualify for free shipping

• Four in 10 said shipping and handling costs were listed to late

What Does This Mean To You

You’ve taken the time to develop an ecommerce solution and committed resources to driving traffic to your site.  Now you’ve put all this effort in and customers are not completing the sale – evidence is point to shipping being the main reason.  There are several strategies you can use to help sway customers into completing the sale.

• Offering free shipping may not be financially feasible for all businesses, but how valuable is a database of shoppers to your company.  You can offer free shipping to customers if they join a loyalty club or at least sign up for alerts for your business.  This not only gives them the free shipping they want, it helps your business keep customers engaged and forms a relationship with them

• Develop a shopping cart alert system.  If you’ve got the email address of  customers who have not completed a sale, contact them and offer a discount for them to finalize the purchase

• Investigate lower cost shipping alternatives or local pick-up options to help consumers save money

• Create a referral or social media program where shoppers can earn discounted shipping for directing friends  & family to your business

Your online business can be an important revenue stream – if customers complete the sale.  Take some time to go through the checkout process and make sure it runs smoothly.  Also do this with friends and employees.  You may find that there are hiccups in the process or those removed from the site may find it clunky or not user friendly.  For more information on developing online revenue, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: eMarketer; comScore; Listrack

Social Seniors

People are often warned about the content they post on social media.  Posts that could keep you from getting a job, pictures that might get you fired or posts that might cause problems in future relationships are just a few things that could happen.  Now there is something else to think about – giving your grandparents a heart attack.  A new research report has been released that shows how seniors are using social media, the implications can mean success for your business but also could mean lots of cat pictures in your news feeds.

• Nationally, half of adults age 50 to 65 use social networking sites, over one-third of age 65+ use social networking sites

• 31% of adults age 50-64 use them on a daily basis, as do 18% of adults 65+

• Since 2009, social media use among seniors has grown over 150%, faster than any age group

• In Palm Beach & Broward County, nearly one in three adults age 50+ have visited a social media site in the past 30 days – the vast majority use Facebook

What Does This Mean To You

Social Media gives your business another way to connect with seniors.  Not only does it provide an avenue to promote your goods & services, it also allows for these brand active older consumers to be an extension of your marketing campaign.   Seniors use social networks to reconnect with friends and they value the opinion of other seniors.  This digital word of mouth can have a huge impact on your business.  If your information is not correct, out of date or is filled with negative comments consumers, especially seniors, will likely pass you by for a competitor with a better social reputation. For more information on managing your social reputation and engaging seniors through social media, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project; The 2012 Scarborough Report, Release 1

Who Are Twitter Users

ast week, we had a post on the growth of Twitter.  Today, we’ll look at who Twitter users are and what might be some consumer groups that your business could capitalize on.  There are several segments of the population that are heavy twitter users or have seen great growth in Twitter use that might be currently untapped by your organization.

• Nationally, just over half of Twitter users are female (53%)

• Adults under the age 30-49 are the biggest group of Twitter users, but 26% of online adults age 18-29 also use the social network

• Over 30% of Internet users age 18-24 use Twitter

• 30% of Twitter users have household incomes of $75,000+

• Four in 10 have college degrees

• Nearly half of Twitter users live in the suburbs

• Nearly 30% of online African-Americans use Twitter

What Does This Mean To You

Younger consumers, diverse audiences and educated adults are prime groups to target.  Twitter and other social networks  can help you connect with these groups to grow your business and extend your brand’s influence. They also are in the market to make a wide variety of purchases over the next 12 months..  For example, in Broward and Palm Beach Counties:

• Adults age 18-29 are much more likely than the market to purchase furniture

• African-American adults are 35% more likely to plan to buy a computer

• Adults with college degrees make up over 33% of those who plan to buy a smart phone

• One in four African-American adults plan to buy a vehicle

• 18-29 year olds make up nearly one-third of adults who plan to buy a tablet

For more information on using social media reach target audiences that can increase your bottom line, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or: Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project; The 2012 Scarborough Report, Release 1

Seniors And High Tech Devices

Seniors are not known for being gadget collectors but recent trends are pointing to something different.  Recent research on older Americans point to more and more adults 65+ relying on high tech devices.

• 70% of adults 65+ own a cell phone, that’s up over 20% from 2 years ago

• Nearly half have desktops and approximately one-third own laptops

• The number of adults owning laptops has grown 25% since 2010

• Historically, seniors are heavy book readers, but it seems like how they read is changing.  11% of adults 65+ own e-readers, that number has jumped 40% in the past 2 years

• 8% of seniors own tablets

What Does This Mean To You

Technology allows you to target the lucrative senior population in ways you couldn’t just a few years ago.  While the majority of South Florida seniors are retired, half still have household incomes of $50,000+ and nearly one-third are in the $75,000+ bracket. Seniors are also a great consumer base.  In the past 12 months, adults 65+ have made a variety of purchases, including:

• One in four purchased a TV

• 40% made a home improvement

• Three-quarters made a purchase from a clothing store

• Over 20% shopped at a pet supply store

For more information on how you can engage and monetize seniors, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project; The 2012 Scarborough Report, Release 1

 

What Online Shoppers Want

We’ve had several posts on ecommerce and it’s expected growth this year.  New research that has come out showing what online buyers would like to digital retailers to improve upon.  This information could help you get a bigger part of the ecommerce pie.

• Nationally, nearly 60% of adults have made an online purchase in the past 12 months

• Nearly six in 10 online shoppers said that they wanted free or discounted shipping

• Over four in 10 wanted to see improvements in the ways online retailers handled returns and exchanges

• Nearly 40% were looking for a greater selection, the ability to track deliveries online and live customer service

• More than one-third were interested in an easier way of checking out and clearer return policies

• Over a quarter of online shoppers wanted more flexible shopping options and an easier way to create an account

What Does This Mean To You

Online shopping is often consumer’s first option when making purchases.  They are researching products online and with today’s hectic lifestyles, ecommerce capabilities give consumers the ability to shop when it is convenient to them.  In Broward and Palm Beach Counties, nearly 60% of adults had made an online purchase in the past year.  Not having an online shopping option could severely hinder your ability to compete.  If customers are researching products on your site, but can’t buy them – there is a good possibility they will move on to a competitor that allows them to digitally make the purchase.  For more information on how your business can create a competitive advantage through ecommerce, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager
954.425.1158
jotto@sunsentinel.com

Source: eMarketer; comScore; The 2012 Scarborough Report, Release 1