MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: Poor tablet experience impacts purchase willingness

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Almost eight-in-10 (77%) of consumers report that having a poor or unsatisfying experience while trying to use a website on their tablet will affect their willingness to purchase from that brand. Other tablet research from omni-channel commerce technology provider Useablenet shows that 70% of consumers say that the quality of photography and design of a tablet site influences their decision on whether to purchase

In addition, more than 72% of consumers say that they use their tablet primarily at home, either while watching TV or in bed at night. Only 27% say that they take it everywhere, either for entertainment or work. Interestingly, U.S. consumers take their tablets outdoors more than U.K. consumers, who typically use their tablets at home. Useablenet analysis indicates this could be due to the higher availability of Wi-Fi hotspots and 4G technology in the U.S.

The top use cases of tablets for consumers include researching products before buying online (66%), watching videos and browsing photos (63%), checking prices and looking up store information (63%), reading ratings and reviews (54%) and browsing products and building shopping lists for later purchases (51%).

In addition, 61% of surveyed brands believe their customers want a tablet browsing experience that is consistent with the desktop, but optimized for tablet, while 28% think that consumers prefer a tablet experience similar to the smartphone. Ten percent believe that speed and convenience are the only factors that matter to tablet consumers, and 28% of surveyed retailers report that they have created a tablet-specific app and another 20% say they are planning one.

Click here for the full report.

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News

HBC goes digital

BY CSA STAFF

As part of its digital strategy, Hudson’s Bay Company has created HBC Digital and appointed Michael Burgess as the newly created group’s president. Burgess will report to the office of the chairman.

HBC Digital will drive the digital commerce and marketing strategy and execution across all channels, in partnership with each of the company’s business units: Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay and HBC Outlets.

“HBC Digital will leverage our scale and will help unlock a great deal of opportunity across all of our businesses,” said chairman and CEO Richard Baker. “As our customers’ expectations continue to evolve and the lines between digital marketing and commerce continue to blur, we feel this group not only creates near-term benefits, but also will enable HBC to become more nimble in the digital marketplace.”

“I am extremely excited about this new opportunity. Digital is transforming the shopping experience online and in store. We have a terrific team at HBC and a great opportunity to build a wonderful experience for our customers for each of our retail banners,” added Burgess.

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FINANCE

Survey: Most retailers meet holiday sales expectations; timing a surprise

BY Dan Berthiaume

North Plainfield, N.J. – A majority of store managers (57.3%) said holiday sales met or exceeded their expectations during the 2013 holiday season. However, according to the post-holiday "Retail Sentiments Survey" from retail real estate services firm Levin Management, mid-December was the busiest time according to 26.9% of store manager respondents, followed by the weekend before Christmas with 24.4%.

This compared with 15.4% that reported peak sales for the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend. Overall, about half of responders, 49.4%, reported 2013 full-year sales at or above 2012 levels, and retailers show a strong feeling of confidence for 2014 in the survey: Almost three-quarters (73.5%) are optimistic about next year’s sales performance. This number jumped significantly from last year, when 56.6% expressed optimism. Only 6% said they are pessimistic about the coming year (down from 8.8% last year).

A shortened Thanksgiving-to-Christmas shopping window, and unusually cold weather in the northeast, may have contributed to uneven sales overall during the 2013 holiday season. While the majority of Levin survey respondents (51.2%) reported 2013 holiday sales at the same or higher volume than 2012, that number decreased compared with 65% last year. Holiday shopper traffic also appears to have declined, with 49.4% of survey participants reporting the same or higher volume than 2012 compared to 61% last year.

In a positive sign for employment, the Levin post-holiday survey showed 33.7% of respondents added staff for the holiday season, up from 26.6% in 2012. Of those, 40.5% indicated that they will retain those temporary hires into 2014.

While 50.6% of responders indicated e-commerce had no impact or a positive impact on their 2013 holiday sales (with 21% feeling a negative impact), nearly one-third (31.6%) believe e-commerce will affect their 2014 performance. More than half (54.9%) said they will add or increase mobile technology during the coming year.

“We have observed many retailers starting their Black Friday sales well before Thanksgiving, which may have resulted in softer sales during the actual weekend,” said Levin’s president Matthew K. Harding. “In fact, 12.8% indicated that their 2013 holiday sales peaked even before Thanksgiving arrived.”

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