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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Consumers still like shopping in stores — when the experience is right

BY Marianne Wilson

Even in a digital age, consumers still enjoy shopping in stores — if the shopping experience meets their expectations. One of the biggest turnoffs: long lines.

That’s according to a new study from payments company Adyen, which revealed when a “preferred” shopping experience is implemented — whether it be changing how someone checks out or how they interact with sales associates — 63% of people claim they will shop more.

Long lines remain one of shoppers’ biggest in-store complaints, with 79% of survey respondents claiming to have left a store due to long lines. The average threshold for waiting in line is 10 minutes, according to the study, which found that 73% of sales are lost when a line is abandoned.

The study identified the advantages of bricks-and-mortar, with 86% of respondents wanting to go to a store to manage exchanges or returns of items purchased digitally. In other advantages, 60% of respondents ranked being able to see, touch, sample and try on items as the top reasons to shop in a store. And 33% said they enjoy shopping as a social activity and it is one of the top reasons they shop in a store.

Other key findings of the report include:

Retailers need to deliver unified commerce experiences that blend elements from in-store and online:

• 78% of people want to buy or reserve before going into the store;

• 69% do not use a sales associate for assistance, and prefer to browse themselves; and

• 54% want loyalty program information automatically tied to their credit card, even when shopping in-store.

Consumers are ready for future shopping experiences:

• 59% of people expect mobile payments to be ubiquitous in two years;

• 53% of shoppers see AR/VR showrooming as a norm by five years; and

• 34% of shoppers want within the next 12 months, the ability to “just walk out” with an item, where they will be automatically charged and can skip the checkout line altogether.

“There are things that people enjoy about shopping in stores, and brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going anywhere,” said Roelant Prins, chief commercial officer at Adyen. “There are also things that people enjoy about shopping online though, and it’s not as simple as just taking what works online and applying it to the physical world. It’s about creating a unified experience, where the best parts of online are merged with the best parts of in-store to give shoppers exactly what they’re looking for.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Office supply giant optimizes pricing

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Staples Australia and New Zealand is refreshing its pricing strategy.

Staples Australia and New Zealand completes more than 80,000 deliveries daily for consumers and small businesses under 20 employees. However, the chain relied on a legacy-based monitoring tool to establish pricing metrics. To remain competitive in an increasingly omnichannel landscape — especially among business customers — the company was ready to revamp its pricing efforts.

The chain’s head of pricing Charnine Short, who was recently Staples' European pricing manager for B2B, re-evaluated the company's competitive insights and prepared to refresh the chain’s pricing strategy. By partnering with Revionics, the chain created a customer-centric rules-based pricing program.

"With Revionics' real-time online competitive price monitoring and its automated rules-based price capabilities, we can offer small businesses throughout Australia the assurance that they are receiving the best price available, 24/7," said Short. "We want to leverage Revionics' capabilities to drive market growth in our B2C channel, create market-relevant pricing for our B2B non-contract business, and design more targeted promotional pricing.”

Based on early results, Revionics has yielded a 20% higher match rate than the legacy system with more accurate competitive matching, as well. In addition, Staples Australia and New Zealand values the Revionics' team's responsiveness, and ability to execute on their rapid implementation timeline, according to the chain.

This division operates separately from Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples. In March, the office supply retailer entered an agreement to sell its Australia- and New Zealand-based operations to private equity firm Platinum Equity. The transaction is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2017.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon gives an entire town free Prime membership

BY Marianne Wilson

Talk about a clever self-promotion.

Amazon is celebrating the streaming debut of its award-winning movie “Manchester by the Sea” by giving every single home in the small Massachusetts town that provided its setting with a year’s free subscription to Amazon Prime. And as an added bonus, the company is throwing in a three-pack of Wickedly Prime popcorn.

In a press release, Amazon said it is sending a gift box to every home in Manchester-by-the Sea this week. Customers will receive a code to claim their one-year Prime membership and popcorn. The film was produced by Amazon Studios.

“Oscar winning ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is coming to Prime Video on May 5, and we wanted customers in the town to enjoy popcorn and a movie on us,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Video, worldwide. “’Manchester by the Sea’ is a masterpiece representing the best of cinematic storytelling. In other words, it is wicked awesome.”

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