MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Arts and crafts brand’s mobile app supports new brand message

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is changing the way it connects with shoppers.

Coinciding with efforts to “modernize” its brand, the arts and crafts retailer is adopting mobile technology as a means of fostering collaboration and enhancing the shopping experience. Jo-Ann’s new mobile app will enable users to shop for supplies, find project ideas, redeem mobile coupons, and find and share project “How-To’s.”

The app comes on the heels of the retailer’s recent acquisition of Creativebug, a subscription-based online video provider that offers a wide range of how-to crafting classes. Both technology additions will contribute to building a seamless, personalized experience, according to Jo-Ann.

Both initiatives support the 75-year-old retailer’s brand revitalization. These new tools and channels will enforce a consistent brand message, drive customer-centricity and give customers a new way to share their passion for crafting.

“As shoppers’ behaviors and preferences evolve, we need to adapt the way we connect with them,” said Chris DiTullio, senior VP, marketing and omnichannel at Jo-Ann.

“We’re committed to the long-time loyalists coming in to our stores, as well as the next generation of creators who want to shop, learn and share wherever they are,” DiTullio added. “This app is so exciting because it offers something no other craft retailer does — the ability for customers to confidently share their finished projects with us, and with friends, family, and one another.”

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ECOMMERCE

Study: In-store shopping makes the grade this back-to-school season

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Parents may be using mobile to look for deals this back-to-school season, but most purchases are happening in-store.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of shoppers will make their back-to-school purchases in-store vs. 32% who would prefer to shop only online, according to the “2017 Back-to-School Sales Report,” from ChargeItSpot.

When it comes to finding back-to-school deals, 30% of shoppers planned to use mobile coupon apps as their main source for sales promotions. Others planned to use online deal sites (19%), newspapers/magazines (12%), retail newsletters/catalogs (9%), social media (8%), and radio/TV (5%).

“Back-to-school shopping is one of the busiest shopping seasons for retailers,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “With school supplies becoming more expensive and more high-tech, our findings show that parents are serious about finding the best deals.”

When asked how much they would likely spend on back-to-school shopping, most parents planned to spend between $100 and $300 and under $100 (both categories tied at 30%); 19% planned to spend between $300 and $500, 11% would spend between $500 and $700, only 6% planned to spend more than $1,000, and 5% planned to spend between $700 and $1,000.

Meanwhile, 42% said they would be shopping for one student, 30% said two students, 15% were shopping for three students, and 13% would shop for four or more students, data revealed.

Clothing will garner the most sales, with 58% of parents will be spending most of their money on apparel during back-to-school shopping this year. Only 16% said they would spend the most on traditional school supplies (pens, pencils, etc.), 16% will buy shoes.

Meanwhile, 10% are purchasing electronics — and merchandise runs the gamut. For example, 32% are in the market for computers/laptops, 15% are eyeing tablets, 13% will buy smartphones, 10% need calculators, and 7% will spend on accessories. One-fourth (25%) will not make any electronics purchases.

Hoping to get a jump on the deals — and crowds —28% planned to start shopping one month before school starts. Others started earlier in the summer (27%), and 24% would begin a few weeks before school starts. Another 24% would wait until a week before school starts (24%), and 9% will wait until after school starts.

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REAL ESTATE

Levin tapped to build and lease New Jersey center

BY Al Urbanski

Levin Management Corp. will be building, leasing, and managing a new neighborhood center on the former site of an auto repair shop in Union, New Jersey.

Rising household incomes in the area make it a prime location for new retail in a dense urban region, according to Levin’s senior VP of Leasing and acquisitions Joseph Lowry, who points to a daytime population 86,000 and an average household income of $110,000.

“We anticipate a great deal of interest in the new shopping center due to the area’s superb retail market demographics, and the property’s excellent visibility and location,” Lowry said.

Available spaces range from 1,200 to 9,500 sq. ft., as well as a 2,240-square-foot end cap with excellent street visibility.

Levin has been busy in New Jersey in recent months, winning leasing and management contracts in Delran, Freehold, Hackettstown, Madison, and Secaucus.


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