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Survey: Cash to trump credit cards this holiday season

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bloomington, Ill. — Six in 10 (61%) holiday shoppers this year plan to use cash, check or debit card to pay for most of their holiday purchases. Just 29% say they will use credit, according to the latest Country Financial Security Index.

Americans are more likely to have four or more credit cards (22%) than they are to have no cards at all (18%). However, the prevalent use of cash could be a result of Americans’ unwillingness to take on debt, as survey results show more than half (56%) say they are not willing to take on any debt for their holiday shopping, another 26% say they are willing to take on debt of less than $500 and only 15% say they would take on $500 or more in debt.

In comparison to other income brackets, those earning $200,000 or more annually are the most likely to use credit to pay for their holiday purchases (48%). This is at least 7% higher than any other income group.

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Wal-Mart matches Black Friday offers Nov. 22

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — At 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, Wal-Mart will kick off a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online, lowering the prices on popular toys and electronics, to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys R’ Us and Best Buy one week early.

Beginning Nov. 19, the retailer also extends its Christmas Ad Match to Walmart.com customers. Customers who purchase an item on Walmart.com, and find a lower price in a local brick and mortar competitor, can email [email protected] and receive the difference on a gift card. The same policy is in place for customers at Wal-Mart stores for items purchased Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

"Black Friday is our Super Bowl and we plan to win," said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Walmart U.S. "With six fewer days from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the retail environment is more competitive than ever. Every opportunity to get a great deal, whether this weekend, on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday weekend, matters for our customers. When it comes to price, we’re going to deliver for them."

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Glasses.com releases iPhone try-on app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Draper, Utah — Online eyewear retailer glasses.com is launching its virtual try-on app for iPhone and iPod touch devices. The glasses.com virtual try-on app launched this past July for iPad.

Similar to the iPad app, the iPhone and iPod touch iteration is free in the iTunes store and allows users to virtually try on hundreds of frames in less than a minute, making it easy and fun to discover the perfect look from the comfort of their own home or on-the-go. The user experience is also based on the iPad version, with several modifications and enhancements to cater to a smaller screen, a more mobile experience, and iOS 7.

With the iPhone and iPod touch app, shoppers can still view their 180-degree 3D rendering from all angles, compare multiple glasses and sunglasses side-by-side and share favorites with friends and family via social media and e-mail. Developers implemented a zooming option so users can get a closer view of their rendering and the same level of product detail, regardless of screen size. Shoppers can now send their photos via text message for a second opinion, and they’ll be able to opt for push notifications from glasses.com to alert them of current promotions or new brands available.

In addition, enhanced by the arrival of iOS 7, the app now includes blink detection technology to identify the user’s blinks and remove them from the rendering, improving the overall true-to-life experience.

"An attention to detail was mandated from the beginning to produce a highly intuitive, stylish and high-quality brand experience," said 1-800 CONTACTS executive creative director Bruce Christy. "Countless elements were pored over. From color to typography — from animation to manner in which the app scrolls — all to deliver an innovative mobile app that is like nothing else available."

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