How Shoppers Use the Return Option for Online Purchases

Navar recently surveyed almost 700 U.S. consumers who returned at least one online purchase over the preceding 12 months to better understand people’s reasoning with regard to returns when shopping online.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • The Bedroom is the New Fitting Room — Online shoppers are buying to try, with the intention of keeping their favorite item and returning the rest. This trend, called ‘bracketing,’ is most common among millennials, high-income, and female shoppers. It represents a large opportunity for retailers to transform returns into an experience catered to consumer needs. It also signals that returns are not the end of the customer relationship, and can drive both loyalty and new revenue.”
  • E-commerce Drives In-Store Foot Traffic with Convenient Returns — 
    Consumers like returning online purchases in stores, and retailers who make this process easier earn a competitive advantage. Shoppers like to return items to stores because they get immediate credit back; and they can shop for other items while in the store. This is especially true for high-income consumers and those under age 30.”
  • Transparency Helps Amazon Shoppers Forgive a Difficult Returns Process — Amazon’s return requires shoppers to take more steps, such as contacting the retailer for return authorization. However, the E-commerce giant also provides greater transparency into the process. As a result, Amazon shoppers rate their overall satisfaction higher.”

Click the image to read more of the highlights from the Narvar study.


 

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Warby Parker’s Distinctive Approach = Success

Warby Parker is a highly successful online — and now store-based — retailer of eyeglasses and sunglasses (“Prescription eyeglasses, starting at $95, with free shipping and free returns.”). As it notes on its Web site:

“Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty goal: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while being a socially conscious firm. Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. The rest of us had similar experiences, and we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare. Where were options?”

“There was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a company that has been able to keep prices high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no options. We started Warby Parker to create an alternative. By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price. We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.”

“We also believe everyone has the right to see. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”

 
Take a look at this Inc. video with Warby Parker founder Neil Blumenthal.

 

Posted in Career Video Clips, Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Retailers Need to Do Better with Loyalty Programs

As we have reported before (click here, for example), the quest for customer loyalty continues to be both a critical goal and a major challenge for companies of all types and sizes. Given the importance of customer loyalty, why don’t more firms do a better job with their loyalty programs?

According to eMarketer:

“Firms invest heavily in loyalty programs — a key part of their growth strategy to hook today’s fickle and disloyal consumers. More than four-fifths of consumers said such programs make them more likely to continue business with brands; two-thirds said they modify spending to maximize loyalty benefits; and nearly three-quarters said they would recommend brands with good programs, according to a recent Bond Brand Loyalty study, in partnership with Visa. (The annual study covered 400+ loyalty programs across industries and surveyed over 28,000 North American consumers who participate in at least one program, most in the U.S.)”

“However, the study also suggested that many marketers may not have gotten their loyalty programs right. While the number of loyalty memberships each American consumer belongs to has risen each year to 14+ from under 11 in 2014, the number of programs that consumers remain active in has declined to under 7 from about 8 in 2014. Only 22% of loyalty members feel their brand experience is better than that of non-member. With personalization being a big buzzword, only a quarter of loyalty members said they are happy with the level of personalization experience, the study found.”

 
Click the image to learn more.


 

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Supermarket Chains and Social Media

Are supermarket chains active users of social media? There are two important answers to this question: (1) Overall, much more than many observers probably think. (2) There is a wide disparity of use by company and by social media platform.

The eMarketer chart shown below highlights social media involvement for 20 supermarket chains. [Click the image for a larger version of the table.] Whole Foods dominates across platforms!
 

 
Here are the leading firms and the 2oth-ranked firms by social media platform engagement:

  • Twitter followers — Whole Foods; Tops
  • Facebook likes — Whole Foods; Stater Bros.
  • YouTube subscribers — Whole Foods; data not available for all 
  • YouTube views — Whole Foods;  data not available for all 
  • Pinterest followers — Whole Foods;  data not available for all 
  • Instagram followers — Whole Foods;  data not available for all 
  • Google+ followers — Whole Foods;  data not available for all 
  • LinkedIn followers — Whole Foods;  data not available for all 
  • Visits to Web site — Kroger; Fairway

 

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Social Media and Retailing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Are Reasons Why Good Stores Succeed

Since retail stores still represent about 90% of U.S. retail shopping, they are not facing imminent death (as some have predicted).

Here are two charts from eMarketer that summarize why and how physical stores retain a lot of popularity, despite consumers’ shifting shopping patterns.

First, how do stores stack up with online retailers? eMarketer notes that:

In-store offerings like easy returns and exchanges, better customer service, and instant gratification trump the online shopping experience for many shoppers, according to market research firm TrendSource.  But online shopping also had advantages, according to the survey. A majority of respondents said that product availability, as well as product variety and selection, were superior on digital platforms when compared with physical store locations.”


 
Second, eMarketer states that:

“Home improvement and fashion shoppers no longer inherently view online as cheaper. So, retailers should consider creating in-store experiences shoppers value,” TrendSource’s senior director of client and consulting services, said in a statement. Being able to get goods immediately had a strong appeal among those who preferred to make in-store purchases, according to the survey.”


 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Luxury Retailers in the United States

What are the largest luxury retailers in the United States (by annual revenue)?

The following chart from eMarketer gives us the answer.  (NOTE: Click on the preceding link to all the firms in alphabetical form; and click on the retailer’s name to see a lot more data from eMarketer.)

For a bigger and more readable version of the chart, please click on it.
 

 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Retail Stores Are Thriving Here!

Despite the tough times that many retailers are having with their brick-and-mortar stores, there are still some highly desirable, premium retail store locations — with the rents to prove it! 🙂

As reported by Dyfed Loesche for Statista: 

“When it comes to pricey retail locations, the Upper 5th Avenue in New York City is the most costly place on earth to entertain shoppers. Retailers have to pay $US 3,000 per square foot a year to present their wares to the wealthy. As our infographic shows, Hong Kong makes second place, followed by the European cities Paris and London, according to the report “Main Streets Across the World” by real-estate services company Cushman & Wakefield.”

 

Infographic: The World's Most Expensive Retail Locations 2016 | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

 

Posted in Global Retailing, Part 4: Store Location Planning, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment