School’s not out but marketers already planning for back-to-school shopping
It may seem a little premature given that school is still in session, but the first back-to-school study has been released.
About 62% of households plan to reduce back-to- school spending compared to 2015, according to a survey by Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity. Average spend will be $606, or $1,086 for households with college-age children.
However, although back-to-school shopping typically heats up in July, 5% of respondents had started by April and another 7% plan to start before June. More than half will begin back-to-school shopping between late July and early August, with early August the most popular starting time.
In-store use of mobile devices will play a big role in back-to-school shopping. The top ways back-to-school shoppers will use mobile for back-to-school shopping, online and in-store are researching products (69%), buying products (48%), comparing prices in store (41%) and looking for coupons in-store (37%).
When broken down by gender, male shoppers plan to spend more on back-to-school items, particularly those shopping for school-age children. However, nearly half (49%) of all shoppers agree that quality is more important than price.
Brand loyalty is also still a factor, as 30% of back-to-school shoppers say it affects their decision to buy. Ratings and reviews also matter to back-to-school shoppers: one-fourth are influenced by store ratings.
Other findings show that the effect of children’s preferences on back-to-school purchases increases as the children get older — from 49% for parents of preschool children up to 65% for high school parents.
“Retailers should be ready to support shoppers across channels by the end of June,” said Hayley Silver, VP of Bizrate Insights. “Product availability, price and coupons are important, but be sure to also include indicators of quality, such as ratings, reviews and guarantees.”
Study: Women embrace modern shopping technology, but one demand remains constant
Well informed. Well connected. Price sensitive.
Those three terms sum up the modern American female consumer, according to a new study from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, which reveals that that price holds the most weight (75%) when it comes to influencing a purchase, followed by quality (55%). Other factors affecting women’s purchase decisions include brand (31%), store (26%) and availability (14%).
The study, “How Women Shop in 2016,” finds that 71% of respondents own and use a smartphone daily. Another 66% own and use a laptop daily. Ownership/daily usage rates fall below 50% for desktop (46%) and tablet (44%). Female consumers are willing to use personal tech gadgets for shopping. Sixty-one percent shop while watching or streaming TV, 35% while at work and 16% while on a smartphone in a competitor’s store.
Female consumers have a high participation rate in store loyalty programs (80%). In terms of how they would prefer to receive loyalty notifications, a significant 82% majority favor what has become a legacy technology – email. Another 9% chose other, 6% text and 4% app (total equals more than 100% due to rounding).
In other key findings:
• When it comes to learning about products, specials and shopping news, women rely most heavily on TV (445% and social media (42%), followed by friends and family (38%), retail websites (37%), newspapers and magazines (36%) and Amazon (29%).
• Amazon (38%) and Google (31%) are female shoppers’ top choices for comparing prices on their smartphones. Additionally, Amazon dominates as women’s top shopping app (71%) followed by grocery store apps (28%) and Groupon (26%).
• Women love rebates, and prefer plastic for rewards: Sixty-nine percent of women consider in-store rebates attractive offers. Women also prefer plastic prepaid cards over eCodes when it comes to receiving post-purchase rewards. However, 80% of women would accept a $25 promotion on a $100 purchase when only a digital reward is offered.
• Same-day delivery or pickup is attractive, especially with a rebate: Forty-five percent of women bought online and picked up in-store in the last six months; 88% would consider buying online and picking up in store to save $10 on a $50 purchase; and 80% would consider doing so to receive an item three days earlier.
• Seventy-five percent of women have purchased gift cards in the last year. Seventy percent would take advantage of exclusive values requiring the use of a gift card and 38% buy gift cards for themselves when bonus awards are offered with purchase. Women prefer universal prepaid cards as post-purchase rewards over all other offerings.
The Blackhawk report summarizes the findings from two distinct studies: the first was a U.S. study conducted in April 2015 that surveyed more than 1,300 American women and focused on shopping behaviors; the second was a U.S. study conducted in October 2015 that surveyed more than 1,300 additional American women and focused on app and gift card preferences.
Different kind of deli expands in Northeast
The fast-casual restaurant chain McAlister’s Deli has opened its first store in the New York City area, a market where residents know a thing or two about delis.
McAlister’s Deli is a fast-growing fast casual concept with roughly 350 locations sprinkled throughout the south, southeast and mid-Atlantic states. Its newest store in Livingston, New Jersey, just west of Newark, is located in the 93,000-sq.-ft. Shoppes at Livingston Circle anchored by The Fresh Market. The nearest McAlister’s Deli locations are in upstate New York and central Pennsylvania where the chain offers an extensive selection of sandwiches including a signature offering called “The New Yorker,” which is piled high with 10 ounces of corned beef and pastrami, melted Swiss cheese and spicy brown mustard on toasted marbled rye.
“We conducted extensive market research and determined that The Shoppes at the Livingston Circle’s location in one of the state’s most prosperous commercial and residential hubs – along with its diverse co-tenancy and accessibility to the nearby towns of Roseland and East Hanover – perfectly aligned with our business goals,” said McAlister’s Deli General Partner Ash Ram. “What really makes us unique is our focus on customer service. We refer to patrons as ‘guests’ and want them to feel like part of our family. After placing a counter order, servers bring the food directly to your table, refill your drinks as necessary and provide any extras that diners may need. Our staff also busses tables when guests are finished. It’s these added conveniences – along with our fresh and varied menu – that has earned our brand the loyalty of many repeat customers.”
Located at 277 Eisenhower Parkway in Livingston, the 3,000-sq.-ft. restaurant joins a host of new retailers, restaurants and service providers that have recently opened in Livingston. In the last 18 months the township has seen more than 30 new businesses either set up shop or announce plans to open including Ulta, 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon, The Container Store, Buy Buy Baby, World Market, DSW Shoes, TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.
“We are pleased to welcome McAlister’s Deli to our growing retail tenant mix, and are confident the restaurant will become an integral part of the local dining landscape and a strong part of the community,” said Peter Schofel, Livingston-based Eastman Companies’ managing partner,
On Route 10 West and less than a mile from The Shoppes at the Livingston Circle at another Eastman-owned and managed retail site, national home furnishings retailer Bassett Home Furnishings celebrated its grand opening in April. The center also includes Men’s Wearhouse and a recently opened Dunkin’ Donuts.