The back-to-school shopping season is winding down. Parents are completing purchases that include must-have items for the school year, such as notebooks, paper and electronics. However, students venturing off to college have different and more expensive items on their shopping lists. In fact, parents of college students expect to spend approximately $907 this year, according to survey results from Deloitte. But to help stretch their budgets, 88% of parents said their college students will buy more used textbooks or rent textbooks. This infographic, courtesy of Deloitte, shares other "back-to-college" shopping trends and predictions for 2013.
I was in line at the grocery store checkout. Five minutes to close and an entire uncooked BBQ dinner sitting in my cart. The person in front of me—with her groceries checked through—had run off to ask the manager for special bread from the back. I began a simmering frustration that was sure to build to boiling. I was going to have to wait to checkout while the other patron ran around the store with the manager.
That’s when Checkout Clerk 2 stepped in. She instructed my Checkout Clerk 1 how to “temporarily suspend” the other patron’s order and start processing mine. I was incredibly impressed. Not just that Checkout Clerk 2 saw her colleague’s issue (he really didn’t know what to do), but also that the store had thought ahead. They had a solution to ensure a great customer experience.
Everything went fine with my order. But as the other patron paid and started off with her groceries, she noticed an item that she no longer wanted (it was the “not special” bread that she must have taken before deciding to upgrade). She asked Checkout Clerk 1 for a credit. She had made her purchase 30 seconds earlier.
He couldn’t do it. Not that he didn’t want to. He flat out couldn’t. The system or store policy (I don’t know which) precluded him from taking returns. She would have to leave her groceries and head back to Customer Service to get her cash back.
This didn’t affect me, of course. But as a watcher of customer service, it seemed that someone had failed to track the entire customer experience in the store. While they had gotten part of it right—the “temporary suspend” that allowed me to check out—they hadn’t figured out how to let someone conveniently return an item 30 seconds after purchase
A continued dialogue that extends beyond closing a sale with a customer is paramount to any successful company—that so much is obvious. However, many businesses tend to hear what their customers say, as opposed to listening. Now you’re thinking, ‘“hear” and “listen” are synonymous, what gives?” Not true! The company that listens immediately acts on a customer’s feedback , being genuinely concerned about what issues the customer may present, whereas the company that hears, and does not act, is nearly paying the ear’s equivalent of lip service. In some cases, companies not only act on customer feedback, they actually incorporate that feedback into their product strategy. The customer, as well, has the responsibility of being a genuine partner, offering unadulterated feedback and not simply treating the vendor as a “whipping post” to offset any internal issues.
Americans would far prefer to lose $1,000 rather than gain 20 pounds. That is just one of many interesting findings from a 2013 Food and Health Survey. It’s important farmers and processors understand the consumers of the food they produce. This survey contains valuable insights into the psyche of the American consumer, who, for instance, only gives a “B-minus” to their overall diet.
The vast majority of Americans believe it’s possible to have a great deal of control regarding their level of physical activity, the healthfulness of their diet and their weight, yet far fewer are actually taking that control. Ninety percent of respondents say it’s possible to have “a great deal of control” or “complete control” regarding their level of physical activity, yet only 65 percent are actually trying to take that same amount of control in their own live -- a 25-point “control gap.”
More and more consumers want to buy from socially responsible companies. A big new survey from Nielsen finds that 50% of shoppers are now willing to spend more with brands "that have implemented programs to give back to society." That's a 5% increase from 2011, when Nielsen last carried out the survey.
Not all consumers are the same, though. Nielsen, which interviewed 29,000 people in 58 countries, finds big differences depending on age and where people live. For example, people under 29 are 20 points more likely to reward socially responsible brands than those who are over 65. Indians are almost three times more likely to pay a premium than Estonians (75% versus 27%).
We hear those words constantly in conversations about customer engagement. There’s a broad perception that changes in technology, and buying patterns have upset any previous balance in brand loyalty. Nowhere is this greater than in retail loyalty marketing, where an explosion of mobility and the growth of social media have blown away any short-lived loyalty equilibrium that might have formed between online and brick and mortar retail.
Customers seek value and flexibility in rewards programs based in the financial industry. Loyalty marketers can manage reward costs by using point tiers to their advantage.
Continuing to give greater control to customers as it relates to reward redemptions is key to future success. Allowing customers to use points anywhere for anything they want will move your program from “close to what I want” to “exactly what I want."
In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.
In its predecessor, the "Push Economy," we got used to being proactive, to pushing our presence and credentials. Want new customers? Push your brand out there via newspaper ads and 30-second spots. Hunting for a new job? Apply by pushing your résumé. The whole paradigm centered on aggressive, even forceful, promotion in order to generate and convert leads
In the Pull Economy, people are looking for you and they convert based on your reputation--what they find online from content that you share (like blogs, a company website, corporate social media) and what others have shared about you (e.g. review spaces). In fact, in a world where lead generation and lead conversion are the two crucial "moments" in the sales funnel, it’s critical to understand that reputation is the conversion catalyst.
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rebecca Sumrow is one of the customers food and restaurant company executives have in mind when they consider raising prices to offset higher costs as meat and milk soar
In terms of where shoppers visit at least once a month, the power center—i.e., those shopping centers populated by a mass retailer and/or multiple bigbox category specialists—isn’t looking so powerful after all. Seven years ago, power centers drew nearly six in 10 shoppers each month—more than any other shopping venue. Fast forward to 2013: the centers now attract fewer than half of all shoppers (47%) on a monthly basis, bested by supermarket-anchored strip malls and online sites, which are tied for first place as the shopping location with the largest monthly shopper base (48%). These three venues have been basically at parity over the past three years in terms of drawing shoppers, but the monthly power center shopper base dipped vs. last year while the other two grew their shopper bases—and those dynamics are likely highly interrelated. As online shopping further entrenches itself in mainstream shopping routines, shoppers may end up substituting trips to general merchandise mass players and category specialists with online shopping time.
Moving forward, convenience is the No. 1 factor consumers take into consideration when choosing what and where to purchase, says Jeremy Russell, North American Meat Association. And price closely follows convenience.
Russell says innovation will stem from new packing technologies and combining convenience with freshness.
While convenience is a luxury, food safety is not, explains Charlie Arnott, Center for Food Integrity CEO, who says food safety is the No. 1 concern consumers have.
"There is a growing interest in on-farm food safety programs – whether it’s producing wheat, milk or eggs," he says.
Last year, 89% of consumers reported they are mostly or completely confident that foods available in grocery stores are safe, according to a U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report by the Food Marketing Institute. In comparison 78% of consumers are mostly or completely confident in the safety of restaurant foods. Consumer confidence in food safety at grocery stores was at its lowest, 67%, in 2007.
More US office workers are moving into the business of agriculture. Often keeping their office job, these workers enter farming for the health benefits for themselves and their communities, along with the allure of working outdoors. Currently, there are 465,000 farmers in the US with less than 10 years of experience, who often hold college degrees and office jobs.
The trend is most notable in the Northeast and in California
The number of farmers markets has increased 38% in the last five years
Beginning farmers tend to rent land, much less expensive than owning land
Consumers around the world are interested in companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, and the numbers are growing. And that interest is translating into a willingness to spend more on products and services from companies that give back to society. From 2011 to 2013, willingness to spend more increased in 43 out of 58 countries measured in Nielsen’s latestGlobal Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility. Across demographic groups, social-consciousness is also a growing factor in the purchase process.
Despite almost one hundred years of self-service grocery, creating the perfect in-store shopping experience still remains an industry-wide challenge. According to Procter & Gamble, shoppers make up their mind about purchasing a product in three to seven seconds – the amount of time it takes to notice a product on the shelf.
They call it "the first moment of truth". It's considered the most important marketing opportunity for any brand. Going back further in time, Paco Underhill's book Why we buy: The Science of Shopping provided an early insight into shopper behaviour in-store and the importance of in-store product placement.
However, I suspect many have viewed the moment-of-truth lens from the wrong end - that of the supplier and the brand. Yes it is the moment of truth but the whole point of it is that it is the truth the shopper experiences and not the company. It is the shoppers' perception of the brand and of the store, of the success or failure of the shopping trip, of the choices available to them and of the ease of getting what they want.
- Shoppers are not loyal. 80% of shoppers surveyed said they would switch stores or brands when offered a compelling promotion. This unforeseen risk is nearly double the percentage of shoppers willing to switch than retailers expected.
- Shoppers are constantly comparing prices. 78% actively participate in ‘showrooming’ and 76% actively participate in ‘webrooming.’
- Shoppers are heavily influenced by promotions. 83% of those surveyed said they made an unplanned purchase based on a promotion they received, with 65% saying they made the purchase in store.
- Shoppers are in control. They have more information at their disposal than ever before, and they are making use of all of it. Over 80% of shoppers say they utilize more than one promotional media type to make purchase decisions, with print and websites being the most frequently used promotional vehicles.
Here’s a powerful example of how shifts in online shopping behavior can quickly change the competitive landscape.
When Trip Advisor added the capability to survey hotel prices on the same screen as customer reviews in its recent website design, it was a hit. Shoppers loved being able to find more of the information they needed to make a decision on one screen – instead of having to click on a pop-up button and go to a booking aggregator to get the information. They shifted fast to the streamlined experience, and the losers appear to be the aggregators, Expedia in particular, according to this WSJ article
The exhilarating rush of new love often feels like it will last forever. But anyone in a long-term relationship knows that love's initial flames often die down, replaced by a more stable bond that needs some juicing to stay healthy for the long haul.
Brand relationships are no different. Keeping a fiery connection takes some work.
To unlock long-term love for our brands and set the stage for strong lasting connections, one simply has to look at and apply basic human relationship principles.
Human beings act rationally to maximize their wealth…at least according to conventional economic theory and the financial models based on it. If you question that, you may be interested in a growing field of study called “behavioral finance” that integrates psychology into economics and finance to try to explain how and why we often behave predictably irrational when it comes to our money. More importantly, it has many real-world implications that can help save you from one of the biggest threats to your financial future: yourself
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