OPERATIONS

Survey: Poor in-store experiences driving showrooming

BY Staff Writer

Evanston, Ill. — Many consumers who visit a store but then buy online are not driven there by price alone, but rather by a less-than-satisfactory in-store experience, according to results from the annual holiday shopping report by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The survey found that 59% of shoppers sampled said they received poor or average service in the stores they recently shopped. And, among shoppers who said they engaged in showrooming, 40% reported that they actually never intended to buy online, but they were driven there after experiencing poor customer service and support in stores.

"The showrooming conversation typically focuses on price as the impetus to purchase online," said Eric Anderson, Hartmarx Professor of Marketing at Kellogg. "While the growth in online shoppers is clear, our data shows that there is still a robust segment of consumers who prefer to shop brick-and-mortar stores. For retailers, this reinforces that how consumers want to shop is as strategically important as the price they are offered, and underscores the importance of face-to-face customer service."

Other findings from the Kellogg Shopper Index include:

  • Shoppers are more optimistic this season; 59% of respondents report that their household financial situation will be better in the next year. More than a quarter said they were planning on spending more on holiday gifts for others compared to last year.
  • Female shoppers are more loyal to their favorite stores, but are being lured into low-touch online channels because of poor or frustrating in-store experience.
  • Men with higher education levels and higher incomes are more likely to seek discounts by showrooming and engaging in mobile buying than women.

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OPERATIONS

Dollar General announces new mobile apps

BY Marianne Wilson

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General announces its new mobile applications for iPhone and Android smartphones that include sales ads, store locations, coupons and more.

“Many of our shoppers use mobile phones for shopping and to make purchasing decisions,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s executive VP, division president and chief merchandising officer. “We’re making shopping at Dollar General simpler for our customers by making ads and information available at the touch of a button on their mobile phone.”

The new app allows customers to:

  • Find stores with a store locator;
  • View ads, create shopping lists and share via email or text message;
  • Save money with mobile coupons;
  • Use free Quick Response scanner to access upcoming sales and unlock additional savings; and
  • Connect with Dollar General through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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Walmart workers protest, make no dent in Black Friday sales

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — As holiday shoppers prepared to battle crowds on Thanksgiving weekend, Wal-Mart workers and supports geared up to protest at stores nationwide, openly criticizing the retailers’ wages, benefits and treatment of employees.

Nine people were arrested in Paramount, Calif., including three Walmart employees, for blocking a busy street. About 1,000 people protested there.

In Lakewood, Colo., according to multiple reports, dozens of protestors picketed without any incidents. There was little sign that the union-backed OUR Walmart group’s expected 1,000 protests actually took place. Wal-Mart said that approximately 50 employees participated in protests on Thursday and even fewer took part on Friday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that it was the best Black Friday the retailer has had.

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