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Mobile media aids purchasing process for ‘extreme’ shoppers, research finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Smartphones and tablets are assisting "extreme" shoppers, according to new research conducted by GfK.

Known for being savvy and self-reliant, this new demographic of consumers tout smartphones and tablets to assist with value seeking, information gathering, social media access and transactions. GfK found that among consumers with a smartphone or tablet, 50% used a mobile device to compare prices while shopping, 44% looked for a coupon, 33% “liked” a retailer on Facebook and 17% bought a product using a mobile application. Additionally, these shoppers said they feel “more in control than ever before” when it comes to choosing the best products and services (9% above the average consumer), that they are shopping more efficiently (8% more than the average consumer), and that they are using new sources to “find the things that [they] need” (13% above the average consumer). What’s more, nearly 25% of mobile-enabled shoppers have used brick-and-mortar stores for “showrooming” – checking out a product in person and then purchasing it online via a smartphone.

And when it comes the age of "extreme" shoppers, young adults (ages 18 to 34 years) are the primary drivers of these mobile shopping behaviors; these consumers are more than three times as likely to report using a smartphone or tablet for shopping (34% versus 10%), compared with older counterparts ages 50 to 64 years.

GfK noted that these findings underscore the need for marketers and retailers to adapt and also presents fresh opportunities for brands to engage and win over consumers.

“Mobile and online shopping are not just confined to big-ticket items; our research shows that the mobile trend is substantially impacting food and beverage, health and beauty, and even lawn and garden," GfK SVP digital technology Rob Barrish said. Regardless of the brand, choosing the right mobile opportunities – from coupons to co-creation of new products – is essential to making digital efforts effective.”

The new mobile study is based on 1,008 interviews conducted from March 16 to 18, as part of GfK’s online omnibus, OmniWeb.

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United Way recognizes Publix for philanthropy

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — On Wednesday evening, United Way recognized Publix Super Markets with two Summit awards for philanthropic engagement and community impact, the two companies announced Thursday.

Publix’s 2011 United Way campaign raised $45.6 million — a 12% increase over 2010 — plus associates’ per capita gifts exceeded the food industry average by 398%. Publix associates also volunteered 900,000 hours, including more than 1,500 associates serving on United Way and nonprofit boards.

"Community service is a way of life for Publix and its associates," stated Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide president and CEO. "Their incredible generosity and commitment to improving communities is an important part of their heritage. Together, we’ve been able to make a positive, lasting impact in countless people’s lives."

Publix leveraged its 1,051 stores by communicating United Way on 220 million grocery bags, reaching 40 million customers. Publix also shared education messages with parents by featuring Born Learning education tips on store shelf signs and including them in customer newsletters like Baby Club and Preschool Pals. Further, Publix Super Markets Charities chairman and CEO Carol Barnett worked with United Way of Central Florida to bring the Success By 6 national model to Central Florida, and helped grow it from one county to many more throughout Florida and the Southeast. Success By 6 is a United Way communitywide early childhood initiative that ensures children are ready to succeed in school and life by age 6.

Publix also is involved in Let’s Grow, an early literacy effort that has demonstrated up to 76% improvement in state assessment scores at childcare centers.

"I am so proud to be a part of Publix," commented Barney Barnett, vice chairman of Publix. "It’s not just a supermarket; it’s a group of kindhearted, energetic, effective people who are dedicated to doing the right thing, and who make our world better each and every day."

Publix ranked No. 1 on the Corporate Social Responsibility Index as determined by the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

The Spirit of America and Summit Awards program, celebrating its 25th year, is United Way’s highest national honor for corporations, recognizing United Way Global Corporate Leaders with the most comprehensive commitments to strengthening communities. Applicants are evaluated by corporate peers and local United Ways.

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Charitable bottled water company claims top prize in Walmart contest

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — HumanKind Water, PlateTopper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit have the distinction of being the winners of Walmart’s Get on the Shelf contest — beating out more than 4,000 inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses to claim the coveted prize of being carried in Walmart’s U.S. stores, as well as on Walmart.com.

HumanKind Water, a bottled water company that gives 100% of its net profits towards clean drinking water for underdeveloped communities worldwide, was the grand-prize winner. PlateTopper, a kitchen product that transforms dinner plates into airtight food storage containers, came in second. SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit, a screw kit to fix glasses in 30 seconds, was the third winner. All three products will be available on Walmart.com and HumanKind Water also will be on physical shelves in select Walmart’s U.S. stores soon.

"Get on the Shelf has brought out the best in American ingenuity and creativity with products that are clever, fun and useful," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "The three winners demonstrated a deep passion, incredible imagination, and sheer persistence in their journey. We congratulate them and are proud to carry their products at Walmart."

Get on the Shelf, a program from @WalmartLabs, launched in January, where contestants sent in videos of their latest inventions to be voted on by the public. For more information, visit Getontheshelf.com.

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