Consumer research: Promotions peak consumer interest in trying new retailers

Home Inside FCNews Consumer research: Promotions peak consumer interest in trying new retailers

July 22/29; Volume 27/Number 7

By K.J. Quinn

Source: “Market Force Study Shows Uptick in Consumers Trying New Retailers”
The Headlines, March 20, 2013

No matter what your area of business, if you can’t sustain foot traffic, you will eventually fail. This risk makes it paramount to present your store and products in a way that will not only attract new customers, experts say, but encourage them to come back.

While it remains important to advertise one’s business in all the right places, industry studies indicate incentives will inspire the target demographic to check out your store for the first time.

New research from Accenture, a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, found 56% of consumers surveyed were influenced by e-mail coupons and offers, while an equal amount of respondents said they were swayed by special offers mailed to their homes. And in the U.S., the No. 1 reason given for consumers who “like” a company’s Facebook page is to take advantage of incentives or discounts offered for joining the page, according to a study from Market Force Information, a provider of customer intelligence solutions.

Not surprisingly, good deals are considered a driving force for getting people through the retailer’s door for the first time. For example, regarding fashion retailers, the Market Force Information study found a sale, discount or promotion was the impetus for nearly 20% who visited a new retailer (up from 11% in 2011). Newspaper, magazine and TV ads ranked lowest, similar to 2011’s findings, an indication that standard advertising vehicles for retailers are no longer effective as the sole means for attracting new customers.

To that end, daily deal offers are an effective way to attract new customers and re-engage inactive ones, according to a 2011 study by Foresee Results, a provider of customer experience analytics. Among surveyed consumers who had redeemed a daily deal offer during a 90-day period, nearly one-third said they were new customers and more than one-quarter reported being infrequent customers.

A tried-and-true vehicle for incentivizing customers to visit a store is a promotional event. Just because business has been up and running for a while doesn’t preclude celebrations that attract foot traffic, according to Microsoft Business Hub, a provider of technical and business solutions.  Conducting an in-store raffle or giveaway, or bringing in a local celebrity, can be effective in attracting people to a store.

A second traditional method for driving foot traffic is a sale. While this common business practice may appear a bit blasé to some, technological advances have made sales events more persuasive than ever before, reports Microsoft Business Hub. For example, if a retailer maintains a database of customers, he can contact them via an e-mail newsletter to promote upcoming sales events and other promotions.

Offers that come with a sense of urgency are always effective in bringing customers to a store. For example, research conducted by online coupon site showed a large percentage of digital coupon users are in pre-shopping mode when browsing online coupons. Digital coupons have also dramatically impacted the effectiveness of new product introductions for brands.

Online coupons are offers that indicate a sense of urgency, which helps move consumers into stores faster to make purchases sooner.

A new study from another online coupon site, retailmenot, found roughly half of shoppers would be more likely to buy products in-store if given a location-based mobile coupon. The study suggests mobile shoppers are deal hunters, as 33% of consumers said they conducted a search on a mobile device for an online coupon. And 26% of consumers bought something inside a store using a mobile coupon.

Mobile coupons that can be redeemed immediately in-store are also a great way to attract female shoppers. Women continue to represent a significant portion of shoppers, and their shopping preferences can have a huge impact on retail marketing strategies. Industry studies suggest that not only do women not mind receiving personalized marketing messages on their smartphones, they actually welcome them.

When it comes to knowing your customer, one group in particular—Generation Y—is of utmost importance to retailers. Gen-Yers use the Internet to research products, compare prices, envision how clothing or accessories might look on them, or respond to flash sales and coupon offers, as well as to purchase items, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) titled, “Generation Y: Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age.”

Source: “Generation Y: Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age,” 2013

On the whole, the latest consumer research reveals that once customers are lured into a store, they are likely to return if they see value-added products and excellent customer service, whether or not there is a sale. Of the shoppers who reported being highly satisfied by their initial visit, 90% said they made a purchase, according to the Market Force Information study. Those highly satisfied customers also planned to return—90% said they would shop at the retailer again within the next 90 days.

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