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Survey: Positive outlook for back-to-school shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Nearly 70% (68%) of consumers plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school shopping season compared with 63% in 2012 and 48% in 2011, according to a new spending forecast from e-commerce platform provider PriceGrabber. Additionally, 17% of respondents plan to spend between $500 and $1,000, and 15% of shoppers said they have no back-to-school shopping budget this year. Conducted from June 17 to July 8, 2013, the survey includes responses from 2,191 U.S. online shopping consumers.

“The outlook for the back-to-school shopping season remains positive. With [the] unemployment rate dropping from 8.2% in June 2012 to its current rate of 7.6%, shoppers are more inclined to spend than they were in the last couple of back-to-school seasons,” said Rojeh Avanesian, SVP marketing and sales of PriceGrabber. “However, instead of spending on the newest gadgets, shoppers are looking for ways to get the most for their money by looking for deals, as well as reusing already owned items before purchasing new ones.”

When respondents were asked to select all of the types of stores they plan to shop at for back-to-school items, 80% selected discount stores. Online-only retailers were voted second place (54%), followed by office supply stores (44%). And 42% plan to shop at traditional department stores, while 24% plan to shop at electronics stores this back-to-school season.

In other survey highlights: free shipping, sales and coupons incentivize back-to-school shoppert. Around 72% of consumers chose free shipping as the top retailer tactic that would entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year, followed by sales (71%), coupons (69%), online promotions (43%), rebates ( 41%) and free items with a purchase (38%).

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Walmart opens first superstore in Canada’s Maritimes

BY Marianne Wilson

Halifax — Walmart Canada on Friday opened its first supercenter in Atlantic Canada, in the Halifax Shopping Centre Annex in Halifax.

The store is one of 37 supercenter projects planned for the company’s current fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2014. The projects, which were announced earlier this year, include building new stores and expanding, remodelling or relocating existing stores and represent an investment of more than $450 million in the Canadian economy.


The Halifax Centre Walmart originally opened as a Walmart discount store in 2001. The renovated 145,000-sq.-ft. supercentre now offers a full line of groceries, including bakery goods, deli, meat and dairy products, and fresh produce, in addition to the existing departments including electronics, home décor and apparel. The store also offers a pharmacy, vision centre, connection centre for wireless services, photo centre, portrait studio, Tire & Lube Express for automotive services, Good to Go! Lotto, McDonald’s and Western Union.

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Report: E-tailers beat omnichannel peers in customer satisfaction

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago — Pure-play e-tailers are doing a better job in satisfying their customers overall than omnichannel retailers, but omnichannel retailers have an edge in select functional areas like checkout. According to results of the mid-year Customer Feedback Index (CFI) from OpinionLab, e-tailers had an average CFI score of 481, compared with a CFI average of 457 for omnichannel retailers.

However, omnichannel retailers still beat e-tailers in functional mean ratings for individual aspects of customer service, such as home page, service and support, products and checkout. Meanwhile, customers were more satisfied with e-tailers in the functional areas, including search, account and information. Interestingly, both subsets of the retail sector covered by the report had overall CFI scores below the industrywide average of 557.

Individual retailers that scored exceptionally well in the CFI include Guitar Center, whose CFI score of 570 is among the best of all omnichannel retailers, and Newegg, whose CFI score of 645 outperformed the e-tail average by 34%.

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