Change the channel: More consumers opt for mobile, online shopping
Google is offering a service called Google Shopping Express, which would offer same-day delivery from brick-and-mortar stores in the San Francisco Bay Area to the Internet giant’s employees. Target and several other retailers have been named as possible partners.
With Google now looking to compete with Amazon — not to mention Target’s growing attention to online and mobile commerce — a growing body of consumer studies and industry trends shows that the most important emerging consumer demographic isn’t men, women, old people or young people; it’s multichannel consumers.
And it’s not just big, national and international chains either. Last Tuesday, Raley’s announced that it had partnered with Dunnhumby to create an online, social-networking component to its Something Extra loyalty program.
Meanwhile, one survey after another has shown that "going to a store" means, for a growing number of consumers, getting on the computer or pulling out the smartphone. Several recent Patient View surveys of AccentHealth viewers indicate that retailer apps will see increased use as consumers show more interest in tools such as live expert chatting, bar code scanning and prescription regimen management, especially now that 49% of surveyed smart-device users now have a retail app. Another AccentHealth survey found 29% of consumers report doing most shopping online.
Another survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin and released Wednesday, found that nearly three-quarters of people who work from home shop online, along with more than half who work out of an office.
Many retailers get the hint already. Target announced March 15 the purchase of online kitchen supply retailers Cooking.com and CHEFS Catalog, as well as sponsoring a competition with Fast Company magazine to develop a new mobile experience for the retailer at the recent SXSW conference. At the same conference, Walgreens won an "Appy" award for the Best Retail Mobile App, which now includes new functions, such as the ability to print from Instagram and access to a health reference encyclopedia. Ahold USA, the American division of Dutch supermarket operator Royal Ahold, is planning to expand its Peapod online grocery service.
American Stores founder Sam Skaggs dies at 89
SALT LAKE CITY — American Stores founder Sam Skaggs died of natural causes at his home Thursday, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune. He was 89 years old.
Retail pharmacy was the family business. Skaggs was the grandson of Safeway founder Marion Skaggs. And his father, Leonard Skaggs, operated PayLess Drug Stores since 1939.
A video tribute to Skaggs produced by Tuff Cookie Productions is available here.
In 1965, Sam Skaggs incorporated the PayLess business as Skaggs Drug Centers and went public. In 1979, Skaggs took over American Stores in Philadelphia.
Before his retirement in 1995, Skaggs operated one of the world’s largest food companies with more than 1,700 locations across 26 states.
LA Times estimates Tesco lost upward of $2 billion in Fresh & Easy venture
LOS ANGELES — A report published Thursday in the Los Angeles Times estimated that U.K.-based Tesco has lost up to $2 billion in its failed Fresh & Easy California venture. Tesco had placed the troubled grocer on the sales bloc in December following the departure of Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason.
The retailer’s struggles can be traced to labor unions and an ambitious investment into an 850,000-sq.-ft. distribution center that placed pressure on the 200-store chain to expand rapidly, according to the LA Times report.
Tesco has tasked investment bank Greenhill with conducting a strategic review of Fresh & Easy options that should be ready by April, according to reports.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported on a social-media driven campaign to keep Fresh & Easy locations open. However, according to the LA Times, Fresh & Easy recent emailed customers that the grocer doesn’t know "if Tesco will continue to own the company."
Lease holders of Fresh & Easy locations are already looking for an out. Regency Centers Management, which owns, operates and develops primarily grocery-anchored retail centers, has been on the lookout for replacement tenants since January. "Fresh & Easy, we assume they’re gone," Brian Smith, Regency president, chief operating officer and director told analysts during a quarterly conference call. "We’re actively in discussions with people, with replacement tenants for those spaces. Unfortunately, we’ve only got two operating and they’re both in Northern California and they should be — there’s a lot of demand for those spaces."