Gap adds Paraguay, Hungary to global growth plans
San Francisco — Gap Inc. announced Monday that it will introduce the Gap brand to Paraguay and Hungary through new agreements with existing franchise partners: Neutral for Paraguay and Gottex Brands for Hungary. The first Gap store will open later this year in Paraguay, joining Neutral’s 2012 Gap launch in Uruguay. And, in Hungary, Gottex Brands will open two Gap stores in Budapest. A specific timeline wasn’t released.
Additionally, Gap announced plans to open the first stand-alone Banana Republic stores in Mexico later this year. It will open via an existing agreement with retail partner Distribuidora Liverpool, S.A. DE C.V., and will expand the Banana Republic brand beyond its current store-in-store positioning at Liverpool Department stores in the country.
By the end of 2013, Gap Inc. said it expects to have a presence in eight Latin American countries, including Chile, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil with expectations to add a brand presence in Costa Rica in the near future.
Study: Shipping options, flexible returns can drive consumer loyalty
Atlanta — Results of research released Monday by comScore and UPS showed that the more options an online consumer has, the more loyal and dedicated she may be. In fact, integrating social and mobile media, as well as providing shipping options and flexible returns, can drive brand loyalty as consumers seek out more choices and convenience when shopping online.
The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper: A Customer Experience Study polled 3,000 consumers about the factors that led them to shop more on computers, tablets and smartphones and to abandon brick-and-mortar shopping and recommend retailers to friends.
According to the study, 44% of respondents were more likely to shop with a retailer if they could buy online and pick up an item in the store, while 62% wanted the ability to buy online and return items to a store.
"Consumers have a growing number of digital touch points, with more ways to stay connected with their online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process," comScore senior director Susan Engleson said. "What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers."
Forty-six percent said they were less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app, while 47% said they wanted retailers to send coupons to their smartphones when in-store or nearby. Meanwhile, 84% of online shoppers use at least one social media site, while 60% of Facebook users will "like" a brand to receive an incentive or promotion.
When it comes to shipping, three-quarters of shoppers report adding items to their online carts to qualify for free shipping, while 78% will choose the least expensive shipping option, and 97% said tracking a purchase is essential or nice to have. But only 44% said they were currently satisfied with their ability to reroute a package, and retailers that support such changes have a competitive advantage.
Returns are another important service, with 66% of respondents reporting that they reviewed a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Eighty-two percent said they would complete a purchase if they could return the item to a store or have free return shipping, and 67% said they would shop more with a retailer offering such a service.
Canadian DIY-ers prefer Home Depot over Canadian Tire
Boston — A new study from Kantar Retail and TNS revealed that shoppers prefer The Home Depot over Canadian Tire, Rona and other DIY retailers when shopping for home improvement items and do-it-yourself projects.
In the April 2013 survey, Canadian shoppers rated top DIY competitors on a variety of attributes, including assortment, price, service, and community appeals.
“The Home Depot clearly wins shoppers with its in-store experience in terms of product variety and in-stocks,” said Robin Sherk, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail. “Customer service is also well regarded by The Home Depot’s shoppers,” she added. “Where the retailer falls short is shoppers’ opinion of its support for the community and excitement around deals.”
In contrast, Canadian Tire’s variety of items and positioning as a “true Canadian store” are two dimensions with which a majority of its home improvement shoppers are satisfied. And, relative to Home Depot, more of Canadian Tire’s shoppers are satisfied with the retailer’s deals and value for the money.
Survey findings revealed that retailer penetration and presence do not equate to popularity. Canadian Tire ranked as the DIY retailer most shopped in Canada ahead of Home Depot, Walmart and Rona. More than 60% of shoppers named Canadian Tire as the store they regularly shop for home improvement and DIY projects. Home Depot and Walmart ranked second and third respectively.