How Do Shoppers Bring Digital into Physical Stores?

By Staff
Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:00 AM About four in ten shoppers report checking sales and promotions available to them on a retailer’s mobile app while shopping in-store, according to the 10th annual Retail Info Systems News study.  According to Statista.com, the report found that several different online consumer behaviors bled into the physical retail experience including, checking sales and promotions, comparing prices, and researching products. Shoppers were also looking to their screens to cut out some of the tasks a salesperson would perform, such as checking inventory and scanning bar codes.

Despite Challenges at Home and Work, Most Working Parents Say Being Employed Is What’s Best for Them

By Staff
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 8:00 AM Balancing work and family responsibilities brings many challenges for working mothers and fathers with children younger than 18. Roughly half say being a working parent makes it harder for them to be a good parent, and about as many say that at times they feel they can’t give 100 percent at work. Despite these challenges, many working parents—including about eight-in-ten full-time working mothers—say their current employment situation is what’s best for them at this point in their life, according to a new Pew Research Center survey

When asked about some specific challenges they may have faced at work because they were balancing work and parenting responsibilities, about half of working mothers say they’ve needed to reduce their work hours (54 percent) or that they’ve felt like they couldn’t give 100 percent at work (51 percent). Smaller but still substantial shares of working fathers say the same.

Consumers Are Influenced by Brands on Social

By Staff
Monday, September 16, 2019 10:30 AM eMarketer’s Rimma Kats observes that more brands are using social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to encourage consumers to not only discover new products, but also buy them. That approach seems to be paying off, she notes, citing a July 2019 study from rating and review marketing company Yotpo.

“Unsurprisingly, younger consumers are more likely to take to social commerce,” says Kats. “More than 55 percent of Gen Z U.S. internet users—who do half of their fashion shopping online—said their most recent fashion purchases were inspired by social media browsing. And nearly as many millennials said the same.”

Internet Users Cite Autoplay Video Ads With Sound as ‘Annoying’

By Staff
Friday, September 13, 2019 10:59 AM In an effort to determine consumer perception of online advertising, research firm eMarketer recently worked with the customer experience analytics firm Bizrate Insights to survey its panel of U.S. digital buyers. The objective was to find out more information about their ad avoidance habits and the types of ads they found useful or annoying.

The results of the survey indicated that about two-thirds of U.S. digital buyers thought autoplay video ads with sound were annoying, making them the most annoying type of online ad, according to eMarketer. “Autoplay videos without sound, which irked 55 percent of respondents, was No. 2,” the research firm noted. “Perhaps surprisingly, the third-leading response was audio ads on music streaming services or podcasts. Almost half of respondents said they found them annoying.”

“It's not surprising to see another piece of confirmation that consumers don't like autoplay video,” eMarketer principal analyst Nicole Perrin said in a research note about the survey’s findings. “They tend to prefer less intrusive formats and contextually appropriate creative. Most also know they need ad support in order to enjoy the media they want, but want advertisers and publishers to be respectful of their attention.”

The research firm noted that the panel that was surveyed is not representative of all U.S. internet users, and that more than half of the respondents said they used an ad blocker as of July 2019. The respondents also skewed older, female and affluent. “Still, there’s no reason not to think this group’s opinion of specific ad types isn’t representative of groups that are relatively likely to block ads,” eMarketer noted.

The Robot in the Room

By Staff
Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:00 PM Whether it’s automated assistants in their homes, smart devices in their hands or virtual experiences in the store, consumers are actively embracing the role of technology in their everyday lives. And they are sending early signals in terms of what this means for their shopping behavior and expectations.

Consumers’ choices in terms of where, how and why they buy are redefining retail and creating a new playbook for the industry. For the Summer 2019 Consumer View, the National Retail Federation surveyed consumers to understand the role technology plays in their shopping decisions. More than three out of five consumers recognize the role retailer investments in technology have played in improving their experience across online, stores and mobile. They're also eager to embrace new solutions that will further streamline how they browse and buy.

Millennials Stand Out for Their Technology Use, But Older Generations Also Embrace Digital Life

By Staff
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 4:00 PM Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has been significant growth in tech adoption since 2012 among older generations—particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

More than nine-in-ten Millennials (93 percent of those who turn ages 23 to 38 this year) own smartphones, compared with 90 percent of Gen Xers (those ages 39 to 54 this year), 68 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 73) and 40 percent of the Silent Generation (74 to 91), according to a new analysis of a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted in early 2019.

Similarly, the vast majority of Millennials (86 percent) say they use social media, compared with smaller shares among older generations. While the share of Millennials who say they use social media has remained largely unchanged since 2012, the shares of Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents who use social media all have increased by at least 10 percentage points during this period.

Self-Driving Cars and Moral Decisions

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:00 AM In a recent posting on Robotics Business Review, Giles Kirkland noted that although fully autonomous cars are still only in development, “potential users are starting to think about how an artificial brain will make life and death choices in case of an accident.” 

Kirkland observes that if a collision was about to occur, we only have a split second to react (and rarely make a conscious choice at all). But in case these decisions can be made, people do not have the same opinion. Based on gender, age and professional background, our views on the morality of self-driving cars differ. 

The Rewards of Membership

By Staff
Monday, September 9, 2019 4:00 PM Brands are increasingly turning to membership programs in order to attract repeat customers and build an engaged, loyal audience. In fact, many of them are working; Nike reports that NikePlus members spend three times more overall than non-members, while Ulta members are responsible for an incredible 95 percent of the beauty retailer’s sales

Loyalty programs are popular. 62 percent of consumers feel that they add value, according to the brand marketing agency Stella Rising. That said, engagement needs work, with Mintel noting that over half of memberships are inactive. Consumers are seeking flexibility with their programs and expect an excellent experience. Notably, 76 percent of younger consumers will give brands only two or three chances before ceasing the relationship.

Point-of-Sale Touchpoints Are Key Element of Marketing for Health Care Brands

By Staff
Sunday, September 8, 2019 8:00 AM It’s widely recognized that the marketing of health care products and services is different across national boundaries. This is true, in part, because the products and the media channels available to market them differ, as well. Government regulations on this type of marketing also plays a role, as media agency Zenith noted in its recent Global Intelligence report.

What the media agency found in reviewing research related to the marketing of health care is that while mass media touchpoints are as important for health care brands as they are for brands in general, other marketing tactics can play an even larger role for health care brands. For example, advice and recommendations are “much more important for health care brands than general brands, as are point-of-sale touchpoints,” the report noted. 

In reviewing “paid media” channels, Zenith said the most influential ads are those that appear in stores and waiting rooms. “These have become even more influential over the last few years and are now ahead of TV, though this remains an important channel,” the Zenith report note.

Majority of ODs See a Point of Differentiation in Their Practices

By Staff
Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:00 AM Nearly all of the respondents (90 percent) to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll said that they believe that they have a point of differentiation in their practices. Sixty-six percent said that they definitely do, while another 24 percent said that they think that they do. Sixty-one percent of participants said it takes constant reinforcement to maintain this level of differentiation. 

 What makes their practice different from the next? Eighty-three percent of respondents said it's the OD. Sixty-three percent noted that their level of service is a stellar separator, and 58 percent said it's the exam room encounter and technology. Other top responses included staff (55 percent), pretesting technology and services (50 percent), convenience of appointment scheduling and reminders (45 percent) and website and social media (43 percent). Participants were able to select as many answers as applied to their practice.

10 Facts About American Workers

By Staff
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:00 AM More than 157 million Americans are part of the U.S. workforce, and many of them (but not all) will spend the Labor Day holiday weekend away from their desks, assembly lines and checkout counters, according to Pew Research Center. As we mark the day, here’s what we know about who American workers are, what they do and the U.S. working environment in general. 

Over the past 35 years, the share of American workers who belong to labor unions has fallen by about half.  Union membership peaked in 1954 at nearly 35 percent of all U.S. workers (excluding the self-employed), but in 2018 the unionization rate was just 10.5 percent. 

Analyzing the Back-to-School Spend

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:00 AM As children across the U.S. head back to school, it’s instructive to look at the results of an annual survey released this summer by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics, which predicted that families will spend less this year than last year on back to school expenses. Total spending for K–12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s projected $82.8 billion, according to an analysis of the survey data by Coresight Research. The decline in the overall number is due largely to a decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school. Those households that do have children in school, however, plan to spend more on average in 2019 than last year.

Consumers Will Share Personal Data, If the Price Is Right

By Staff
Monday, September 2, 2019 11:07 AM More than half of U.S. consumers surveyed in June 2019 by RIS News said they’d let a retailer digitally identify them in-store—through location-based technology—in exchange for special promotions and offers. 

“Consumers appear more knowledgeable and skeptical about sharing location data, but they haven’t changed their behavior yet,” said Yory Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the company’s “Location Intelligence 2019” report.

“Many consumers are willing to share their location data with marketers in exchange for some type of value,” he said. “Others may want to reduce data sharing but don’t know how. Regardless, it’s likely that consumers will demand more control over their data in the future.” 

Poll: Job Satisfaction Climbs to Highest Level in Over Two Decades

By Staff
Thursday, August 29, 2019 8:00 AM As Americans head into Labor Day weekend, a nationwide survey reveals they’re feeling better about their jobs than they have in years. Conducted by The Conference Board (a member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead), the survey shows that about 54 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their employment. Satisfaction climbed by almost three percent from the prior year, which marks a near-record increase in the survey’s history. Workers also report being much more at ease about their job security. And Millennials have experienced a surge in confidence regarding their wages.

The results, however, include some cautionary signs for management. Amid a strong jobs market where individuals can more easily find new work, survey participants gave weak marks to the most important driver of job satisfaction: their current job’s potential for future growth. In addition, over 60 percent feel dissatisfied with their organization’s recognition practices, performance review process, and communication channels. Also noteworthy, men generally feel better than women about multiple financial components of their work, including wages and bonus plans. 

The Most Hated Office Jargon

By Staff
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 8:00 AM Most people working in an office have come across at least one of these at some point, and most will have cringed inside upon encountering them. It might be a British thing, but hearing the following word combination is not a pleasant experience: touch base. Indeed, 24 percent of respondents to the latest Glassdoor survey in the U.K. said that they were annoyed by this particular example of office jargon. Quite far behind in second place was the classic 'no-brainer' with 14 percent. 

Further down on 9 percent, and getting a tad more niche is 'lipstick on a pig', meaning to try to improve a bad idea or product with only superficial changes. On 8 percent is 'let's get our ducks in a row', a needlessly abstract way of saying you need to be prepared for something.