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FMI, GMA and NGA release universal digital coupon guidelines

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association and National Grocers Association on Tuesday released guidelines designed to promote model practices in the “end-to-end” digital coupon process and reduce the incidence of coupon fraud.

“Retailers have long appreciated the popularity coupons have with consumers as a means of increasing their purchasing power,” added Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “Digital coupons add a welcomed high-tech layer of ease to the couponing adventure, but also introduce new possibilities of fraud that this set of guidelines seeks to address, keeping coupon use fair and simple for all consumers.”

“These guidelines are a win-win for manufacturers, retailers and consumers,” stated Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. “Manufacturers and retailers reduce costs by streamlining their coupon programs and reducing fraud, and consumers will have a better shopping experience in the store and at checkout.”  

“Couponing has seen unprecedented growth in the past decade, and digital coupons represent the fasting growing segment,” commented Peter Larkin, NGA president and CEO.  “These first-of-its-kind guidelines for digital coupons will become a go-to resource for the industry.”

Produced by the Joint Industry Coupon Committee, the Voluntary Guidelines for Digital Coupons provides model digital coupon practices in order to ensure a positive experience for consumers, proper settlement for retailers and effective and well-controlled promotions for manufacturers.

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Weis Markets to open first LEED-certified location

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets on Tuesday announced it will open the Lehigh Valley’s first LEED-certified grocery store in Fogelsville, Pa. in December. 

The 65,800-sq.-ft. superstore also is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified location in the 162-store Weis Markets’ footprint. The Fogelsville location will feature a larger perishable department, including a produce department with a greater selection of organic produce, an in-store café where beer will be sold, and a full-service pharmacy.

To achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification, the new supermarket measurably reduces or mitigates its environmental impact in the following areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality.

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Smartphones, social media and in-store customer service to play big roles in holiday shopping behavior

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Smartphones may be among retailers’ strongest allies this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday survey of consumer spending intentions and trends released Monday.

“We anticipate that retailers will increasingly interact with mobile shoppers this holiday season,” stated Alison Paul, vice chairman of Deloitte and retail & distribution sector leader. “Deloitte’s research into smartphones’ influence on in-store sales indicates that the conversion rate for shoppers who use a retailer’s dedicated mobile application is 21% higher than those who do not. This holiday season, branded applications, Wi-Fi connectivity and personalized, location-based promotions from retailers can enable shoppers to make an immediate buying decision in the store.”

This year, Deloitte anticipates that in-store sales influenced by consumers’ smartphone use will account for $36 billion, or 5.1% of total holiday retail store sales.

“The store continues to be central to holiday shopping, but its role and that of the store associate is evolving as the physical and virtual shopping experiences merge,” Paul said.  “Associates should be more informed and empowered than in the past; they should have the ability to make price-matching decisions on the spot, and be well-versed on promotions and products that customers are viewing via the retailer’s mobile and online channels.”

Armed with their smartphones, these holiday shoppers may also be highly valuable to retailers this season, as they are expected to spend 72% more than those who do not plan to use smartphones, spending a total of $1,428 on the holidays across categories, including gifts, entertaining at home, socializing away from home, non-gift clothing, home/holiday furnishings and other holiday spending.  

Half of consumers surveyed own smartphones, and 68% plan to use their phones for holiday shopping this year by getting store locations (62%), checking and comparing prices (58%) and obtaining product information (50%).  

Online shopping and social media will also play significant roles in the gift-buying season this year. According to Deloitte, 45% of consumers surveyed plan to shop online for holiday gifts. Many shoppers will head to the web to strike a deal, but also to become more informed about the purchases they are making. 

More than half of the survey respondents (55%) indicated they often read online reviews before buying holiday merchandise online, and nearly 3 in 10 said they will rely on reviews more this year than last year. 

And 48% of shoppers surveyed will make social media part of their holiday shopping process. Among this group, more than half will tap into social networks to look for discounts (54%) and research gift ideas (53%), while 47% plan to read reviews.

When shopping online, 47% of consumers surveyed indicated that low prices are most important when shopping a particular retailer. Online shoppers surveyed also expect some free perks: More than 7 in 10 consumers surveyed said they are more likely to shop online from retailers who offer free shipping, and 56% said the same about retailers who offer free returns. 

However consumers might engage technology as they shop for the holidays, in-store service is still critical in enticing consumers to buy at retail. More than 1-in-4 consumers surveyed suggested they would be more likely to shop retailers that offer barcode scanners in the aisles to confirm prices and features. Approximately 1-in-5 seek retailers that offer to ship to their homes (22%) and provide self-service or mobile checkout (19%). 

As many as 56% of shoppers surveyed said they will be more likely to purchase from a store retailer that has knowledgeable sales associates. Additionally, 38% of consumers expect store associates to have the ability to match prices.

Four-out-of-10 consumers surveyed indicated that during the holidays, they will be more likely to seek help from store associates in electronics or office supply stores, followed by traditional department stores (26%) and discount stores (22%).

For more information about Deloitte’s annual holiday survey, including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, go to Deloitte.com/us/2012HolidaySurvey.

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anddy says:
Jul-22-2013 08:53 am

This is an interesting phenomenon to watch. Every only business owner should be aware of all the risks and all the opportunities the online environment can bring. I wonder if the international shipping costs are influenced by this as well...

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