MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Most app users don’t want to be tracked or receive push notifications while shopping

BY Michael Johnsen

Chicago — Survey results by location-based shopping platform Retale, which aggregates weekly circulars from more than 60 top-line retailers for mobile and digital devices, found that 71% of mobile app users don’t like the idea of being tracked into a store via their smartphones.

More than half (56%) say they are not interested in receiving push notifications while shopping.

"For retailers looking to maximize traffic and sales, understanding consumer motives and desires is the best way to improve the shopping experience," said Retale president Patrice Dermody. "And that could mean helping consumers better understand the benefits of these technologies in order to break down the barriers to widespread adoption."

The survey asked more than 3,000 iOS and Android users about their mobile shopping experiences, usage and overall awareness. And despite the growing list of mobile technologies ranging from Apple iBeacon, that sends in-store push notifications to nearby smartphone users, to mobile payment and such shopping coupon options as Google Wallet, consumer adoption has been slowed by lack of awareness and understanding, according to survey results.

As many as three-in-four survey respondents were unaware that iBeacon exists, while only 11% of Android users claim to use Google Wallet, and just 23% of iOS users have tried Passbook for coupon shopping offers.

"Just like with any new technology, it often takes time for consumers to adapt and change their buying behaviors," Dermody said.

Other Retale study key findings include:

• iOS users are more receptive to in-store push notifications;

• Only 29% of mobile app users are not concerned with being monitored;

• 56% of mobile shoppers don’t know near-field communications is a contactless payment system used for mobile payments, and the 38% who are familiar with the technology choose not to use it. Only 5% to 6% say they regularly use NFC to pay retailers;

• iOS users are nearly split in favor for and against push notifications; and

• The majority of Android users say they don’t want notifications sent to their mobile while shopping.

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REAL ESTATE

Hurricane Grill & Wings to add 22 units in 2014-2015

BY Katherine Boccaccio

West Palm Beach, Fla. — Wing chain Hurricane Grill & Wings has signed five multi-unit development agreements, representing 22 new locations slated to open in 2014-2015.

The Florida-based franchised brand opened two locations in early 2014, with plans for a total of 14 new units by the end of this year.

"With our number of units expected to increase this year from 58 restaurants to 72, it’s rewarding to us as a brand to bring our fun, family-friendly restaurants to new communities," said Martin O’Dowd, president, Hurricane Grill & Wings.

New multi-unit development agreements include deals with Ronit’s Inc. for five units in the Richmond, Va. area; with Central Florida Wings, LLC for five units in Central Orlando, Fla.; with Franchise Partners, LLC for an additional six units in Maricopa County, Ariz., in addition to its current holdings; and a deal with Tamarind Investments, LLC for three units in the North Orlando, Fla. market.

The chain also inked an area development deal with JD Food and Grill, LLC, for three units in the Dallas DMA.

Opening in early 2014 were restaurants in Lindenhurst, N.Y., and Cape Coral, Fla., and additional locations are expected to open by the end of 2014 in Florida, Minnesota, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia and Tennessee.

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ENERGY/HVAC

Kroger certifies 500th Energy Star store

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Cincinnati — The Kroger Co. said that its Fry’s Marketplace store in Phoenix marks the 500th Kroger location to earn the Energy Star designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.

"Kroger is a shining example that improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is not only good for business, it’s critical to protecting the climate," said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of EPA’s Energy Star Commercial and Industrial Branch. "By addressing energy efficiency from design through operation, Kroger is leading the way for others and demonstrating that a lifecycle approach is the most effective way to ensure lasting energy savings."

Commercial buildings that earn the Energy Star label rate in the top 25% of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency and performance.

"This accomplishment is very exciting for our company and our associates, because it demonstrates our commitment to energy reduction," said Keith Oliver, Kroger’s VP of facility engineering.

Kroger utilizes a variety of practices to increase energy efficiency, employing technology such as LED lights, skylights, and control systems – as well as engaging store associates in energy savings initiatives. The company has reduced its average grocery store electricity usage by over 34.3% since the year 2000.

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