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Survey: 45% of smartphone users with a retailer-branded app visit the retailer’s store more often

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Are smartphone applications the magic bullet of marketing for retailers? According to a December 2011 ABI Research survey of U.S. consumers, it may be so.

Survey respondents who said they had downloaded a retailer-branded app said the app caused them to visit the store more (45.8%), buy more of the store/brand’s products and services (40.4%), tell a friend about their store shopping experience (35.8%) and encourage friends to visit the store (30.8%).

“These are overwhelmingly positive numbers,” stated senior analyst Mark Beccue. “They are so compelling that if retailers do not have a smartphone app strategy in place right now, they are in danger of being left behind by their competitors.”

However, according to the survey, only 25% of the respondents had downloaded a retailer-branded app. ABI Research noted that a second effect was that 37.9% of the respondents said downloading a retailer’s branded app caused them to download other retailer-branded apps.

ABI Research noted that the numbers are compelling. “Clearly consumers are using retailer-branded apps as an engagement tool. Once a retailer can capture a consumer with one, there is a real opportunity to leverage smartphone apps to enhance customer service; deliver richer, more relevant product information in real time; shorten checkout lines; and more,” Beccue stated. “We are at the dawn of a very dynamic and creative time for retail.”

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Walgreens raises awareness around whooping-cough vaccine availability in Washington

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — With epidemic levels of whooping cough reported in the state of Washington that are creating the need for more immunizations resources, Walgreens on Tuesday announced that it is offering immunizations that provide protection against the highly contagious respiratory infection (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis-Tdap vaccine) at all of its 129 locations statewide.

“We share in the recommendations of health officials that one of the best things people can do to help keep themselves and their community healthy is to get vaccinated,” stated Robbie Jacobs, Walgreens market pharmacy director. “As some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in communities across our state, this is an excellent opportunity for our pharmacists to help educate residents about the importance of vaccinations and how we can all work together to help slow the spread of disease to some of the most vulnerable: our children. It is extremely important for those who care for or are in contact with children also be immunized to help prevent the spread of disease.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health, there have been a total of 1,132 pertussis cases reported statewide through April 28, compared with 117 reported cases in 2011 during the same time period. The epidemic is on pace for as many as 3,000 cases in 2012.

Walgreens pharmacists in Washington can administer the vaccine to protect against whooping cough to patients older than 7 years.

For the latest pertussis immunization recommendations for children and adults, as well as vaccine information, visit the Washington State Department of Health website at DOH.wa.gov.

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Kroger kicks off Honoring Our Heroes sales event

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger announced that it has kicked off a sales event during May that will support the broad range of programs and services the United Service Organizations provides to service members, their families and veterans.

Kroger said that its Honoring Our Heroes sales event will allow shoppers to save while supporting the USO. Shoppers can choose from hundreds of participating national and corporate brand items in departments throughout the store. When shoppers use their loyalty card to buy 10 participating items in a single transaction, Kroger will donate an additional $1 to the USO. What’s more, shoppers will instantly save $4 on their transaction.

Kroger hopes to generate a more than $1 million donation to the USO, driven by customer purchases, during the two-week sales event. Since 2010, Kroger has provided nearly $2 million to support the USO.

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