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Study: Apple Pay usage soars with digital targeted POP messaging

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Apple Pay may be transforming mobile payments, but digital targeted messages spur more shoppers’ willingness to pay with their devices.

This message was delivered in a study from USA Technologies. The report measured the impact of targeted digital advertising screens on consumers’ use of mobile wallets – primarily Apple Pay. The impact of 35 vending machines located in New York and Louisiana were measured over a six-month period, between March and August 2016.

After 24 weeks, the organization’s ePort Interactive platform, a device located at point-of-sale that features targeted, digital advertising highlighting the availability of Apple Pay, produced a 36.5% increase in overall sales, and a 44.6% increase in total transactions, the report said.

Participating retailers using the advertising devices experienced 6% increase in total contactless average ticket; and an 18% jump at week 20. They also saw a 55.5% increase in revenue through contactless purchases, including Apple Pay. This number jumped to 121% at week 20, the study said.

Meanwhile, the targeted messaging devices generated a stunning 35.2% increase in overall mobile payment usage, data revealed.

“Based on our study, we believe that when businesses and operators present consumers with the option to pay for items with Apple Pay, the number of mobile payments made and the amount spent, increases,” said Maeve McKenna Duska, senior VP of marketing and sales, USA Technologies.

“The data from this study suggests that call-to-action messages underscoring speed, convenience and security of Apple Pay can act as an electronic gateway for consumers to learn about and use the mobile wallets already installed on their phones,” she added. “Further, unattended markets are continuing to drive Apple Pay usage as it offers consumers a simple and convenient way to pay without cash or a credit card.”

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Another off-pricer soars in Q3

BY Marianne Wilson

The U.S. shopper’s love affair with the off-price channel shows no signs of winding down any time soon.

Ross Stores easily beat analysts’ expectations as its earnings increased 13% in the quarter ended Oct. 29, amid better-than-expected revenue growth and stronger margins.

It was the second strong showing by an off-price retailer in less than a week. On Tuesday, TJX Companies also reported better-than- expected third quarter results. http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/price-giant-soars-q-raises-outlook

Ross reported a better-than-expected profit of $244.5 million, or 62 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $215.7 million, or 53 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue increased 11% to a $3.1 billion, better than the $2.96 billion analysts had expected. Same-store sales rose 7%.

Operating margin rose 0.55 percentage point to 12.6%, mostly on stronger merchandise margins.

“We are very pleased with our better-than-expected sales and earnings growth in the third quarter as customers responded favorably to the compelling values we offered throughout our stores,” said Barbara Rentler, CEO. “Operating margin of 12.6% was ahead of plan, increasing 55 basis points mainly from higher merchandise margin."

Rentler noted that as the chain enters the holiday season, it faces it most challenging multi-year sales comparisons.

“In addition, the ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic, political, and retail environments could, once again, lead to a very promotional fourth quarter,” she added. “While we hope to do better, given these potential headwinds, we are maintaining our comparable sales guidance for a 1% to 2% increase on top of 6% and 4% gains in 2014 and 2015, respectively.”

Earnings per share for the period are expected to be $.72 to $.75, up from $.66 in last year's fourth quarter. Based on its year-to-date results and updated guidance, Ross is forecasting fiscal 2016 earnings per share to be $2.78 to $2.81, up 11% to 12% on top of a 14% gain last year.

During the fiscal third quarter, the company completed its store opening target for fiscal 2016 with the addition of 25 new Ross and nine dd’s Discounts stores. As of Oct 29, 2016, Ross operated 1,342 Ross Dress for Less stores across 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam as well as 193 dd’s outlets across 15 states.

The company anticipates closing fiscal 2016 with 1,338 Ross and 192 dd’s Discounts, marking an increase of 84 stores in the year.

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Foot Locker in top form in Q3 profit surges

BY Marianne Wilson

Foot Locker reported third-quarter profit that surpassed analysts’ expectations.

The retailer’s earnings soared 96.3% in the quarter ended Oct. 29 to $157 million, or $1.17 a share, up from $80 million, or 57 cents, a year ago.

Total sales increased 5.1% to $1.886 billion this year. Same-store sales were up 4.7%.

Foot Locker’s gross margin rate improved to 33.9% of sales from 33.8% a year ago, and the selling, general and administrative expense rate improved 20 basis points to 19.4% of sales.

"The company continued to execute its strategic initiatives and produce excellent financial results in the quarter, with solid, consistent top-line growth, as well as incremental improvements in both gross margin and SG&A rates,” said Lauren Peters, executive VP and CFO, Foot Locker. “Our inventory is fresh and well-positioned as we prepare for the important holiday selling season, and we remain well on track to achieve our annual guidance of a mid-single digit comparable-store sales gain and double-digit earnings per share growth."

As of October 29, 2016, the company operated 3,394 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

In addition, 56 franchised Foot Locker stores were operating in the Middle East and South Korea, as well as 15 franchised Runners Point stores in Germany.

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