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Vermont raises minimum wage to $10.50

BY Dan Berthiaume

Montpelier, Vt. – The Vermont state legislature has voted to raise the minimum wage in the state from $8.73 an hour to $10.50 an hour. The increase will occur gradually during a four-year period and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is expected to sign the bill.

“We’re raising the minimum wage higher in each of the next four years, joining a growing number of states nationwide that are moving on their own in the face of congressional inaction," Gov. Shumlin said in a prepared statement.

In addition, after the state’s minimum wage reaches $10.50 in 2018, it will be indexed to inflation.

Twenty-seven states have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum of $7.25, but Vermont is the first state to ratify a hike to $10.10, which President Obama and many Democratic members of Congress have publicly supported. Cities including Washington, D.C., and Seattle, have passed legislation to raise their minimum wage beyond the $10.10 rate, but Vermont will be the first state to set its minimum wage at $10.10 or higher.

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Study: ‘Webrooming’ eclipses showrooming

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Diego – While showrooming, the process of researching in-store before buying online, remains popular among 76% of consumers, the emerging trend of webrooming, or researching online before buying in-store, is even more common, representing 88% of shoppers. According to “The Rise of Webrooming: A Changing Consumer Landscape,” a report from Interactions, 75% of webroomers believe they can find the lowest in-store price, while 72% prefer online product comparisons and 71% prefer online product research.

The report also highlights why people research in-store before buying online. Sixty-eight percent like to experience the product in person first; 48% believe they can find the lowest price online; and 41% prefer to seek help from in-store associates during their research process.

"Consumers expect retailers to be everywhere they are," said Giovanni DeMeo, VP of global marketing and analytics at Interactions. "If retailers are not leveraging omnichannel marketing approaches, or not embracing the concept of ‘Everywhere Commerce,’ they risk an inconsistent customer experience, potentially reduced profits and diminished brand loyalty."

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Survey: Retail marketers shift to digital, personalized campaigns

BY Dan Berthiaume

Westlake Village, Calif. – Senior retail marketers report that 38% of their total marketing spend is now devoted to digital. According to a research study released by Conversant, nearly 20% of retail marketers reported that digital accounts for 50% to 75% of their total marketing budget.

The new study found strong retailer interest in personalized marketing and advertising. Eighty-six percent of senior retail marketers said that individualized messages can be more effective than mass messages.

Nearly three-quarters of the participating marketers said that one-to-one communications represent the future of retail digital marketing. But 59% also said that omnichannel consumers make personalization marketing more difficult.

Additional findings from the study include:

• Retailers rely on many partners for their digital advertising needs, in fact, nearly a third report working with 11 or more vendors. Furthermore, almost half report that finding the right digital vendor is difficult.

• The group has a high interest in measurement, with 57% saying they are using or plan to use a marketing attribution platform in 2014. Last click measurement remains the most frequently used, with more than two-thirds responding that they use last click for at least some of their measurement efforts.

• 62% of respondents report they are concerned about cookie blocking and deletion, and their effects on user identification and measurement.

The respondents to this survey represented 81 senior-level marketers at leading retailers (brick-and-mortar and e-tailers).

“Today’s consumers demand communications relevant to their personal needs and interests,” said Scott Eagle, CMO at Conversant. “They are tired of being served ads that don’t have relevance to their everyday lives. In order to ensure each interaction is a positive one, brands must engage with consumers in an individualized manner, one that acknowledges each consumer’s behaviors, needs and interests.”

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