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Study: Price and product selection key to in-store purchases

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Despite the availability of retail technology, price and product selection are still the largest factors influencing shopper decisions, according to an annual study by global IT services and consulting firm Cognizant. Fifty-five percent of shoppers will leave a store to look online or shop another store if they think a price seems too high, and 21% will ask for a price match.

The fourth Annual Shopper Experience study also revealed that out-of-stocks, followed by prices not clearly marked, are the biggest frustrations when it comes to in-store shopping.

In other findings:

  • Shoppers think Facebook is the most important social technology for stores to use, followed by Pinterest and Blogs, according to the study.
  • Men are more likely than women to buy online and pickup in-store: 61% of male shoppers purchased online and picked up in store versus 41% of women. And 56% of men purchased specialty products online, versus only 29% of women.

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Amazon ups holiday hiring by 40% to hire 70,000 holiday workers

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Amazon.com announced plans to add more than 70,000 full-time seasonal jobs in its U.S. fulfillment centers this holiday season, a 40% increase rise over last year. The company said it hopes to eventually convert many of those temporary seasonal opportunities into permanent roles.

“So far this year, we have converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the U.S. into full-time, regular roles and we’re looking forward to converting thousands more after this holiday season,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s VP of worldwide operations and customer service.

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RSR Research: Home Depot tops in digital gift cards

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. — The Home Depot comes in first in a new ranking of retail digital gift card offerings. Retailers with the highest overall digital gifting scores in a new RSR Research benchmarking report, “Digital Gift Cards: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, are The Home Depot, Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and The Cheesecake Factory.

This is third annual digital gift card report RSR Research has conducted and The Home Depot has been ranked number one each time. RSR found that, as a whole, digital gifting experiences are improving. According to the report, retailers with the best rankings have recognized that digital gifting is different than traditional online product sales, and as a result have streamlined the checkout process to include fewer screens, offer rich personalization capabilities, have convenient card management on mobile devices, and have strong and responsive customer service departments.

“This year we really raised the bar in terms of the evaluation criteria, focusing on truly exceptional experiences, said Nikki Baird, managing partner of RSR Research. “We commend The Home Depot and each of the category winners for continuing to outpace the competition when it comes to digital gifting.”

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