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Report: New apps and mobile devices drive online shopping decisions back into stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — New shopping apps, mobile technologies and social media rewards are moving buying decisions back into the stores, according to WSL/Strategic Retail. The finding are part of the company’s Buzz to Buy 2.0 trend report, its second annual survey measuring how the power of Social Media and online information are impacting buying decisions.

“For the first time in many years, retailers are getting ahead of the trend, and the shopper, by introducing new mobile apps that create fun, entertaining and promotion-driven experiences at the malls and in the stores,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. “By using mobile technology to access flash offers, search best deals and earn rewards shoppers are, once again, able to make purchase decisions in-store, rather than online at home.”

Significant findings of the report include:

Smartphones get shoppers off the couch. Approximately half of all smartphone owners use their device while shopping in-store. This finding is up 21 percentage points from last year’s survey, and has become a significant game changer in the way retailers do business. More than half of those who use mobile for shopping are comparing prices (56%), taking pictures of products (53%), and finding coupons and discounts (46%).

Shopping: There’s an App for that. Shopping apps now rank among the top five categories downloaded, with nearly half (46%) of those who download apps choosing a shopping related one. Even better news for retailers, shopping apps are now being used in stores by shoppers looking to receive in-store alerts to deals and sales (35%), reading QR codes or bar codes for product information (33%), and helping to navigate the store (28%).

I’ll “like” it for a reward. Shoppers expect to find deals and rewards when they “like” a brand or store on Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter. Members searching for discounts or coupons increased 31% over last year’s findings, while those looking to gain exclusive member-only benefits rose by 50%. In contrast, the percentage of those using SNS to search for product information and reviews remained flat (at a mere 14%).

For more information or to purchase the report, email [email protected].

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Tealeaf study finds lots of frustration with mobile shopping experience

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — More than 40% of online conversations about mobile shopping with the top 35 mobile retailers reflected customer frustration during the Thanksgiving weekend, revealing missed opportunities for leading brands, according to a report from Tealeaf. Even for the most successful mobile retailers, 41% of all online conversations indicated frustration with the mobile shopping experience at the outset of the holiday shopping season.

Tealeaf’s Mobile Shopping Experience Repor6 revealed that even the most successful mobile retailers have much room for improvement. While 58% of customer conversations touted the benefits of mobile shopping, 41% expressed complaints about the process as consumers wrestled with their inability to complete transactions, poor search functionality, inconsistencies between the online and mobile channels and other types of customer struggle.

“The stakes have never been higher for retailers to deliver a great experience on mobile platforms,” said Geoff Galat, VP worldwide marketing, Tealeaf. “However, this report shows that even the most successful mobile retailers are leaving money on the table by not addressing the things that can cause mobile shoppers to struggle and abandon. The data indicates a steep learning curve for retailers as they continue to optimize their mobile channels for a new set of customer experience challenges.”

Additional findings from the report include:

More than half (58%) of the negative conversations about mobile shopping with the leading mobile retailers focused specifically on customer struggle issues, including payment problems and search-and-sort problems; one-fifth (21%) called out features that would have made the experience easier for them but weren’t available.

Online conversations highlight top positives of mobile commerce, such as convenience, ease of use, time savings and instant deals.

While more than one-third (36%) of the positive conversations praised mobile features and functionality, less than one-fifth (17%) stated mobile apps/sites were easy to use.

For the report, Tealeaf used Crimson Hexagon to perform advanced sentiment analysis of online conversations about mobile commerce with the top 35 mobile retailers worldwide, including the top 25 mobile retailers in the United States and the top 10 in Europe.

For more go to portal.sliderocket.com/AHJJM/Tealeaf-Mobile-Shopping-Experience-Report.

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Rue21 taps Maple Lade for assortment planning

BY Staff Writer

Warrendale, Pa. — Rue21 has begun to implement assortment planning software from Maple Lake Ltd. The technology has the potential to reduce markdowns and increase profitability by allowing the company to constantly monitor and assort the newest trends for girls and guys between its store locations, Maple Lake said.

The teen retailer is growing rapidly, opening over a hundred stores a year, and its ongoing expansion into new markets and fast turnaround of stock requires quick and accurate planning. The Maple Lake software is being implemented to assist in identifying key trends and making sure the right products are destined for the right stores.

“In a ‘fast fashion’ model, every store has a unique product mix and volume need, so with improved planning and allocation technology we intend to significantly improve our visibility and speed of response to these varying customer demands,” said Mark Chrystal, senior VP planning and allocation, rue21, Warrendale, Pa., which operates 757 stores nationwide.

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