OPERATIONS

Oracle study: Consumers expect consistent experience across channels

BY Marianne Wilson

Redwood Shores, Calif. — Cross-channel shopping is the new norm: Fifty-four percent of consumers regularly employ two or more channels before they make a purchase, according to a new study by Oracle.

The report, “Cross-Channel Commerce: The Consumer View,” reveals that consumers expect a consistent experience across all channels. Nearly 20% expect to redeem the same coupons and promotions in stores and online.

“Consumers expect a single, personalized experience with consistent pricing, promotions, inventory and service,” said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle Retail. “As a whole, retailers are challenged to move across channels as easily as the consumer and deliver the same consistent, high quality experience no matter the format.”

Among the key findings:

Consumers expect instant gratification in stores: The stakes are high for retailers to have the right product when customers walk in the door, with pricing and promotions that are the same or better than what shoppers found online. Seventy-five percent said that they go to the store to see the product before they buy it, and 44% go when they need the product right away. If items are not in, 51% said they expect a store associate to find an out-of-stock item online and have it shipped.

Consumers use mobile as the all-in-one tool, especially younger consumers: Though 25% of consumers say they fear security breaches on their mobile device, 44% consumers age 25 – 34 and 30% of consumers age 18 – 24 say they are or soon will use their mobile phone as a payment device in stores.

When it comes to making purchases online, 45% of consumers age 18 – 34 who own a smartphone will use it to purchase products online as often as a few times each week.

Information is power: Consumers want improvements online, including more detailed product information, better search and easier access to customer service representatives via live help options such as click-to-call or live chat.

Shoppers are getting social: For marketers, Facebook is a green field for launching promotions with new and returning customers, many of whom say they use Facebook to look for coupons, promotions and special offers from retailers. Twenty-three percent of consumers have clicked “like” for merchants on Facebook, and 20% of those that are Facebook members have made a purchase there.

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STORE SPACES

Rite Aid selects Ecova for energy management services

BY Marianne Wilson

Spokane, Wash. — Ecova, a total energy and sustainability management company, has been selected by Rite Aid to provide utility expense and energy management services. Ecova will assist Rite Aid in monitoring, understanding and reducing energy use at approximately 4,700 Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide.

Rite Aid has implemented Ecova’s integrated energy management solution with a focus on cost savings and expense management in its facilities. Ecova’s utility expense management service will help Rite Aid to better understand its energy consumption and spending using aggregated billing information that provides actionable insights across Rite Aid pharmacies. Ecova will leverage the data-driven insights to help Rite Aid reduce energy use and cost, and build a foundation for driving additional improvements.

“The first step in better energy management is having a solid, tested and reliable data set about the amount and types of energy being used across our stores,” said Paige Miller, senior manager, energy and environment at Rite Aid. “Ecova brings a depth and breadth of experience, unique client focus and integrity to their work. Together, we’ll be able to improve our cost savings and environmental footprint company-wide.”

Ecova supplies Rite Aid with rate monitoring and optimization to ensure that the company is paying the lowest cost available across hundreds of utility territories. Using actual site energy consumption data and proprietary utility tariff models, Ecova evaluates and recommends optimum energy rate options as well as energy-related tax alternatives. Ecova provides data to Rite Aid through unique and customizable dashboard reporting.

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STORE SPACES

Whole Foods Market partners in energy-saving program

BY Staff Writer

San Francisco — Whole Foods Market partnering with EnergySmart Jobs and PECI on high-efficiency refrigeration retrofits. EnergySmart Jobs works with supermarkets and other commercial retail businesses throughout California to lower their operating costs by reducing the amount of energy they use.

“Whole Foods Market has been fortunate to work with PECI for several years in our Northern California region, and significant energy efficiency improvements have been made, resulting in substantial cost savings as well,” said Kathy Loftus, global leader of sustainable engineering at Whole Foods. “When the opportunity to participate in the EnergySmart Jobs program came up, we enthusiastically agreed, as it not only helps grow the local economy, but also helps us prove the benefits of these improvements across our company and the industry.”

Whole Foods and Energy Jobs are partnering in two Northern California stores to quantify the actual amount of energy that each individual store is saving. The two stores are part of six Whole Foods stores participating in the EnergySmart Jobs Program and each of them will be installing new energy management systems (EMS), programmed to float head and suction pressure to improve the refrigeration system efficiency. Rebates from EnergySmart Jobs cover a portion of the upfront investment costs. Together with applicable utility incentives, these rebates make it easy and affordable for grocers like Whole Foods to adopt new energy-efficient technologies.

Data loggers installed at several of these Whole Foods locations will monitor the amount of energy used by the refrigeration system condenser and compressor fans, offering a clear before-and-after picture. The information collected from this study will enable PECI and EnergySmart Jobs to provide more accurate and detailed energy-use estimates for future projects.

For more information on the EnergySmart Jobs Program, please visit energysmartjobs.org.

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