Tag Archives: retail

Mobile Technology and Retail Staff

Over the past couple of posts, we’ve looked at how many consumers are “showrooming” and the reasons why they use a mobile device in-store.  Today, we’ll look things from the retail associates point of view.  At the end of the day, most of your staff wants to help shoppers and for you to be successful.   It could be that they know that if customers are not satisfied they will shop elsewhere and that could jeopardize your ability to keep them on.  A recent report looked at how retail associates viewed mobile technologies and the impact it could have on shopping.

shutterstock_87422684• Almost half of shoppers said that they have a better experience when sales associates use technologies to
assist them

• Two-thirds of surveyed retail associates recognized the positive effect of mobile loyalty account access on the shopper experience

• Over 80% of retail associates thought that improving in-store communication between managers and staff would have a positive effect on shopper satisfaction

• Nearly 60% of retail associates think that mobile point of sale promotion made for better shopping experience

• More than six in 10 retail managers agreed that they need more real-time information to ensure that customers are satisfied

What Does This Mean To You?

As we embark on a new year, it’s time to take a fresh look at how your company utilizes technology.  Many small companies cannot afford to outfit their sales staff with mobile devices, but would it be worth it to install free wi-fi and stipend customer service staff for part of their data plan?  While this investment might be tough during budget conscious times, it could end up saving you money and customers in the long run.

• Over 70% of shopping-related walkouts resulted in lost sales

• Each abandonment occurrence resulted in an average loss of $118

• Retailers can recover 69% of out-of-stock incidents if retail associates can offer in-store ordering and home shipping

A strong mobile strategy will not only help engage consumers but also help you generate more in-store sales and stay connected with your staff.  For more information on becoming more mobile-ly enabled, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Research Manager

Source: Motorola


Holiday “Showrooming”

“Showrooming” is becoming a problem for many retailers – especially the big box variety.  Best Buy in particular felt an impact this holiday season.  Best Buy estimated that upwards of 40% of their physical store traffic has no intention of making a purchase – they are there to “showroom”.  According to a recent study, there are some interesting comparisons on how consumers used mobile devices this year vs. last year.

b7_cart_concepts_2011_b5v2• Nearly three-quarters of smart phone owners made a holiday purchase on their smart phone this year, that’s a jump of over 25% year over year

• Almost eight in 10 tablet owners made a holiday purchase this year, a slight increase of 7% from last year

• There was a slight decline in the amount of desktop machine owners making purchases – evidence suggests that they switched to a mobile device to make a purchase

• Nine in 10 smart phone owners have “showroomed” with their devices; over half of tablet owners have done the same

• Men were 17% more likely to “showroom” than women

What Does This Mean To You?

Mobile devices are a part of our everyday lives.  Every day, new apps, new functions and improved user experiences push consumers towards mobile.  While you can’t stop people from using their devices in stores, you can harness the power of mobile and use it to your advantage.
Mobile enabled loyalty programs and in-store mobile experiences can keep you competitive and your store top of mind.  Excellent customer service is also something that can give you the advantage over another store or an online competitor. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll look at why consumers use mobile in store and how some retail executives plan to use mobile to make a better experience for their customers.  For more information on creating effective mobile strategies, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: TechBargains; Best Buy

What Shoppers Want

Many businesses are worried about the “showrooming” affect.  “Showrooming” is when consumers shop for a product in-store but wind up making the purchase digitally.  New research on the wants of holiday shoppers can help you create innovative digital tactics that will help keep shoppers spending money in your physical location.

shutterstock_50109352• Seven in 10 shoppers agreed that stores need to do more to enhance the in-store shopping experience

• Nearly 80% said they want the ability to make a purchase in-store, but have it shipped home free

• Nearly six in 10 wanted interactive kiosks or displays that offered addition product information or product recommendations

• 56% wanted exclusive in-store mobile offers

• Nearly 60% wanted an easy mobile payment option

What Does This Mean To You?

From yesterday’s post, we know that digital shopping is only going to increase.
In fact, almost six in 10 smart phone owners reported that they “showroomed” this holiday season.
While some of these customer “wants” may not be feasible or technologically possible for many small retailers, but they do point to some things you may be able to provide.

• Shipping options – Free shipping may not be possible for every purchase, but you may want to investigate free or reduced shipping for purchases made over a certain dollar amount.

• Customer service – While digital kiosks are something that would be great – it’s really about customer service.  A recent study showed that consumers want your store personal to be knowledgeable about the products you sell and the offers you have.   A great customer experience can turn a consumer into a loyal customer.  Ensuring your staff is well trained is a cornerstone of great customer service

• Discounts and Offers – Mobile coupons and exclusive mobile offers are very popular and can help you increase sales.  More important than the coupons and offers is a loyalty program that includes them. Loyalty programs can help you create targeted offers that have value to the shopper and turn your messages into something they find important

• Mobile payment – This is one to watch.  Making payments, including point of sale, could be the next big thing consumers rely on their mobile device for.  It will all depend on the user experience.  When evaluating vendors, pay attention to the ease of use.  Stay away from anything that seems too clunky.  If a solution is not quick and easy consumers will not use it

For many businesses, keeping shoppers in-store is an imperative and there are digital tools and programs that can help you.  For more information on creating success from digital, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; GfK Roper; SapientNitro

Digital Drove Holiday Sales

As we turn the calendar to January, we’ll take a look at the first data back on shopping this holiday season.  Much of the research pointed to how big of an impact digital devices (computers, tablets or smart phones) would have this season – particularly how consumers used them to save money.

shutterstock_85671796• Over 80% of smart phone owners used a digital device to research or browse holiday purchases this year – that’s a jump of 22% over last holiday season

• Nearly three-quarters said they made a holiday purchase via digital device, that’s an increase of 35% from last year

• Over 60% used an email offer from a retailer.  Usage of email offers increased close to 40%

• One-third used a mobile coupon this holiday season.  Consumers redeeming mobile coupons grew more than 80% compared to last year

What Does This Mean To You?

While the holidays are a once a year happening, they (on average)
account for upwards of 40% of total retail sales nationally.  The reason
behind the growth in digital shopping this year was convenience –
Nearly 40% of shoppers said they shopped online because of the
convenience and ease of it.
The trend towards online shopping  continues to rise – over four in 10 consumers said they shopped more  online than in physical stores this year compared to last year.
One of the things every business needs to do is stay relevant with its
customers. Making sure that it’s convenient to buy from your store vs.
the competition is part of staying relevant.
Just having a mobile site or ecommerce solution is not enough.  Part of your due diligence should be to continually look at the experience your digital and mobile
presences offer.
Are there things that the competitors have that you don’t?
How intuitive is the navigation?
Is it easy to find and buy products from your site?
Are you effective promoting your digital and mobile capabilities?
It’s easy to launch and forget, but if consumers have a bad experience –
it’s a good bet they will not return.  In tomorrow’s post, we’ll look
at what improvements consumer’s want to see from businesses.  For more information on creating digital presences that drive results, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; GfK Roper; SapientNitro

Maybe They’re Just Not Into Your Social Brand Anymore

The relationship between consumers and brands may be just like any other
relationship. They have ups & downs and sadly, sometimes they end
(Believe it or not, some recent studies found that consumers might be
more loyal to the brands they follow than their significant others). The
reasons these social brand relationships end are very similar to real
life relationships as well.   The brand may get too clingy, the brand
might not be who the consumer thought they were or maybe they brand and
consumer just grew apart. Like real relationships, knowing where things
went wrong can help you make better decisions in the future.

shutterstock_82998790 copy• Nearly 40% of online adults say
they have rarely ended connections
with brands on social media. 24%
say they have never ended a social
brand relationship

The top reason that consumers have ended a relationship with a brand on social networks do so is too many updates. One in three consumers who ended a relationship indicated this

• 22% said the brand’s value was different from the initial perception

• One in five consumers who ended a social brand relationship didn’t see any value in staying connected

• Less than 10% signed up after seeing an ad but didn’t want to stay socially connected with the brand

What Does This Mean To You?

Breaking up might not be hard to do on social media – it’s as easy as clicking a button – but it can be expensive to your company. 17% of adults who follow a brand on social media check their updates on a daily basis; nearly one in four did so at least once a week. That is a great deal of potential sales that your company could be losing. It all comes down to value and targeting. A consumer may say that they are getting to many updates – but they are often saying they are getting to many updates that they really have no interest in. The top reason consumers follow brands is to receive discounts and offers – so leverage that to get more information. After they “like” or follow you, offer them a significant discount if give you more information. This will allow you to tailor information to their wants and needs . It will help ensure that your social message to consumers is not “spammy” and that you are continually bring value to them. Without sounding like Dr. Phil, the most important thing is not to take advantage of the relationship. By giving the consumer what they want, you will continue to get what you need. For more information on how to maximize you brand through social means, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: SocialVibe; eMarketer

How Consumers Want You To Get Involved

No matter what holidays people celebrate, this time of year brings out the best in them.  While the holiday season may be coming to a close, there are things you can do to keep the warm holiday season with you all year long.  Recently, we’ve published several posts on how social causes drive sales and how consumers view businesses that are involved in purpose related organizations.  Getting involved with local charities doesn’t just help out your community; it provides awareness for your business and opportunities to create positive social reputation.  A recent study looked at the types of things consumers want businesses to do in order to help their communities.

shutterstock_118181794• Roughly half of consumers globally want businesses to donate a portion of their profits to worthy causes, donate products to charitable organizations, create new products & services to help out purposeful organizations or develop educational programs on admirable causes

• 45% want businesses to work with local governments to help charitable institutions and form programs for their employees on purposeful causes

• More than 40% of people wanted companies to work with non-governmental organizations to help social causes, give employees the ability to volunteer with groups or organize events that can help charities

• 36% of consumers worldwide want businesses to work together to solve social problems, 28% want social entities to help promote causes and over 25% would like to see businesses institute employee fundraising programs to help out purposeful causes

What Does This Mean To You?

Every community has needs that have to be met. Your business can be seen as an agent of positive change by helping your community meet those needs.  Consumers don’t mind if you also make money while helping out. Over three-quarters of consumers said it’s ok to make a profit while supporting good causes.  Over the past five years, those views have increased by 33%. In fact, nearly 40% of US consumers were willing to pay more for items associated with a social purpose.
If you are going to get involved with charity or cause, do your homework and make sure it is legitimate.  There are several web sites that rank national charitable organizations.  On a local level, you may need to do some digging.  For more information on how to get more awareness while helping your community, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Edelman; eMarketer

The Importance of Gift Cards

A few weeks ago, we had a post on the types of gifts shoppers plan to give this year.  Gift cards came out as one of the top presents people plan to give. Knowing what types of gift cards people plan to give can help you create a gift card strategy for your business or what gift card vendor your business should do business with.

shutterstock_112219064• Gift cards are going to be a major purchase this year – reports show that roughly half to three quarters of consumers will buy a gift card as a present this year

• Four in 10 consumers plan to give 1 -3 gift cards this holiday season

• A quarter of shoppers plan to give 4 to 6 gift cards

• Gift cards to discount retailers will be the most purchased – 36% of consumers expect to buy cards to that store type

• One in four consumers gift cards purchased will be for a restaurant

• One in five cards bought will be for a prepaid multi-use card such as a prepaid Visa or an online only retailers such Amazon or iTunes

• 17% of holiday gift card buyers will buy a card for a regular department store

• 15% of gift cards purchased will be from a specialty retailer or from an electronics retailer

What Does This Mean To You?

If your company doesn’t have a gift card available for itself, it might be something you wish to explore. Partnering with a vendor who sells cards for other companies may also be something to think about.
Not only are consumers buying them as gifts, they are the type of present the most consumers want to receive.  Gift cards make a great point of purchase sale – especially during the holidays.  Shoppers are in a hurry and gift cards are a clean, easy purchase to make.  If your business sells greeting cards, that is another place to locate them.  For more information on how to make your company more profitable for the holidays and beyond, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte