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Consumers still like paper coupons

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — Digital purchasing has not displaced paper money, and digital discounts have apparently not yet displaced paper coupons. Seventy percent of consumer packaged goods coupon users still use print-based coupons such as those in free standing inserts (FSI), according to a study from GfK Custom Research and News America Marketing. 

Traditional FSI coupons are redeemed at a rate eight times that of digital coupons, Among heavy CPG coupon users, those using paper coupons spend 8% more annually than their digital counterparts. And Millennial coupon users are looking to the FSI – with 63% of this age group using traditional print coupons

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Meijer pilots curbside pickup of groceries

BY Dan Berthiaume

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is the latest retailer to test out curbside pickup of online orders. The regional mass merchandise chain is piloting a new shopping service called Meijer Curbside that lets customers pick up grocery orders curbside without leaving the car.
 
Currently being piloted at one store in Grand Rapids, the Meijer Curbside program enlists specially-trained team members to hand select every item in a customer's order and shop according to special instructions and personal preferences. The retailer is considering future rollout possibilities in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky later this year.
 
After placing orders online, customers choose their preferred pick-up time, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily. For orders of one to 12 items, orders can be picked up in as little as one hour. For orders of 13 or more items, customers can schedule pick up in about three hours. Customers can also place an order up to three days in advance.
 
For a limited time during the pilot program, Meijer is offering the service at no charge. Following this initial phase the service will cost $5 per order.
 
The Meijer Curbside team shops all orders prior to scheduled pick-up times and keeps all grocery items at the optimal temperature, using dedicated freezers, refrigerators and warmers to keep everything on shopping lists fresh and safe until customers arrive. More than 23,000 of the most commonly shopping grocery items and preferred general merchandise are currently available for Meijer Curbside orders, as well as prepared meals and sides, specialty cakes, and pre-made party trays.
 
When customers arrive for pick up at the designated drive-thru area, the Meijer Curbside team loads orders in their car and uses a mobile device to take payment by credit card. Meijer mPerks digital coupons are accepted for all orders. Currently, paper coupons are not accepted.
 
"The way customers shop for food is changing, and Meijer Curbside is one more way we are striving to find solutions to everyday challenges and bring more convenience to our customers," said Michael Ross, VP of customer marketing and emerging technology. "Meijer Curbside allows us to help our customers save time by remotely shopping for items throughout our store and choosing their own personal pick-up time."
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99 Cents Only Stores shrinks Q4 net loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. shrank its net loss to $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, compared to net loss of $14.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.  Net loss decreased primarily due to a previously disclosed workers' compensation charge in the previous fourth quarter.
 
Net sales slightly rose 1% to $512.6 million from $505.7 million. Same-store sales climbed 2.8%. 
 
"We are pleased with the progress that we have made during what was a transformative year, as we executed on key elements of our long-term strategic plan,” said Stephanie Gonthier, president and CEO. “We opened a record 40 net new stores during the year and completed a major store remodeling program, while at the same time upgrading many of our legacy IT systems. We made significant progress in enhancing our seasonal and general merchandise offerings and continue to work hard on expanding the selection of everyday consumables in our store.”
 
For the full fiscal year, 99 Cents Only swung to net income of $5.5 million from a net loss of $10.9 million. Net sales increased 5% to $1.93 billion from $1.84 billion. Same-store sales climbed 0.4%.
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