Posted in BlogPosted in BlogJuly 16, 2012
This morning’s news of the settlement between Visa/MasterCard and retailers nationwide may have you paying more. If you choose to pay with a credit card, that is.
Visa and MasterCard settled a seven-year dispute by paying $6 million to retailers, including big names like Publix, Kroger as well as smaller boutiques. Merchants began filing price-fixing law suits against the credit card companies in 2005, claiming the credit card companies prohibited merchants from charging customers more for credit card transactions.
The action affects consumers because it could potentially raise prices for some goods and services for consumers who prefer using cards to cash and checks.
Retailers have always been given the option of offering a discount to consumers not paying with a card – an option that only gas stations have chosen to offer in the past. But now, with the settling of this law suit, more merchants are allowed to charge more for credit card purchases, and many retailers couldn’t be happier.
Merchants pay roughly $25 billion each year in “interchange” fees, which allow them to accept credit card payments. Some retailers are looking to levy these charges with higher prices – think 2.5 – 3 percent up-charges.
So, shop smart and be on the lookout for varied prices in the upcoming months. Although 2.5 percent doesn’t seem like much, it adds up.
Will you continue paying with credit, or will the surcharge motivate you to start carrying cash?
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogJuly 6, 2012
A coffee-making kiosk. Not so strange.
But a pizza-making kiosk? Hmm…
Although informational kiosks have been around for years, retailers are jumping on the service-oriented kiosks, now more than ever.
Consumers are demanding what they want and don’t want to wait. So, retailers are combating the issue with kiosks – machines that take up very little room, leaving room for little human interaction. There’s the immediate gratification: in less time than it takes for an employee to take the order, you can have a “freshly”-made pizza pie coming right up – all with just the push of a button.
Another way stores are finding kiosks useful: loyalty programs, sampling and tracking customer activity.
Just think of it as the “Big Brother” in stores.
Bottom line: Convenient, but a little creepy.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogJune 27, 2012
“. . . Not all customers are created equal. Not all customers deserve your company’s best efforts. And despite what that tired old adage says, the customer is most definitely not always right. Because in the world of customer centricity, there are good customers . . .and then there is everybody else.”
- Peter Fader, Author of Customer Centricity
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogJune 18, 2012
With the average American spending $117 on Father’s Day gifts this year, you’d think the gadgets and ties given to Dads around the country were pretty pricy. And you’d be right – although Mother’s Day spending dwarfed dads’ special day, Father’s Day spending in 2012 increased from 2011 spending by 10 percent.
Check out this infographic on the specifics of Father’s Day gifts. Gifts for massages increased, as well as the internet search for “personalized golf balls” – up 50 percent from last year.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogJune 8, 2012
Although retailers still aren’t opening stores as often as they were pre-recession, the good news is they’re increasingly improving current locations. In fact, The Boston Globe is reporting retailers spending more now than they have since pre-recession days.
Stores such as Express and Finish Line are spending $35 billion this year on store improvements, up several billion from the $29 billion spent in 2009.
This remodeling is a sure sign that customers are beginning to flow back into stores, a much-needed sign to prove the end of the recession.
What’s more? Stores aren’t just tweaking their current set-up, but rather asking for overhauls and trying to create “the store of the future.”
No matter how you look at it, this remodeling is a good sign for today’s market. And who isn’t ready for the store of the future?
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogMay 24, 2012
The daily deal site first established in 2008 showed enormous signs of growth and quickly garnered more than 7,000 employees. But, when the company went public in 2011, it’s first earnings release as a public company (in the fourth-quarter of 2011) showed a loss of $9.8 million on an adjusted basis.
And yet, the site is still churning out daily deals.
This infographic takes a closer look at Groupon’s financials, along with the potential problems the company faces.
Can the mother of all daily deal sites rebound, or is it time for Groupon to close shop?
We think the root of Groupon’s problem may just be the economy. During the tougher times of the recent recession, many consumers were looking for deals anywhere they could find them– hence the growing popularity of a site that offered a discount of about 50 percent. But, with the economy slowly recovering, consumers aren’t as keen as they once were on discounts.
Regardless, Groupon has pulled in a revenue of $312 million– and we say that isn’t too bad.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogMay 16, 2012
April marked the 22nd consecutive month of growth for the retail industry, the National Retail Federation announced this week.
And, with the summer season coming up, it looks as though this positive trend might continue.
Total retail sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Because Easter was earlier than normal (and so was the warmer weather), consumers increased spending earlier, accounting for higher growth in February and March, and less growth than expected in April.
Regardless, we can’t help but get excited about the 22-month growth spurt.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogMay 7, 2012
More and more brands are encouraging shoppers to log-in via Facebook, Twitter or another social network before shopping. Why? The numbers show the more you share,the more you sell.
Take a look at the infographic below to see the stats on social sharing in relation to e-commerce.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogApril 26, 2012
…And they’re raising their expectations.
From coin-operated vending machines to credit cards, brands have been giving more power to the consumer until, well… the consumers are now pushing for more, always more.
With heightening expectations and more brand awareness (substantially supported by social media), it’s no wonder that the consumer-brand dynamic has changed.
Take a look at this infographic that highlights the changes in consumer empowerment through the years.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogApril 20, 2012
Consumers base a whopping 93 percent of a purchase decision on visual appearance – and 85 percent of those consumers say color is the most important reason for why they buy a product.
Suffice it to say that color makes a difference. And not just in branding. Interestingly, colors connote different meanings in different cultures. The infographic below shows the importance of color in the North American culture – and market.
Take a look. We bet you’ll be surprised at all the decisions made based on color.