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GfK: Good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, more consumers ‘webrooming’ than ‘showrooming’

BY Michael Johnsen

 

NEW YORK – The complex interplay between online and in-person shopping in the United States has tilted slightly in favor of bricks-and-mortar retailers, according to GfK’s 2014 FutureBuy global study of shopping habits and preferences released Monday. Incidents of smartphone “showrooming” — seeing a product in a store, then buying it online from another retailer using a smartphone — dropped from 37% in the United States last year to 28% in 2014. But “webrooming,” in which consumers buy in a store after researching a purchase online using a smartphone, was reported by an even higher proportion of respondents, 41%.
 
“The big takeaway from this year’s FutureBuy study is how dynamic the shopper environment has become,” said Joe Beier, EVP of GfK’s shopper and retail strategy team in North America. “We are seeing double-digit point changes in metrics designed to measure relatively foundational behaviors, such as omni-channel and devices used to shop. This volatility, combined with significant variability in shopper behavior by category and generation, makes it even more imperative that manufacturers and marketers build out an up-to-date and nuanced shopper insights platform, from which highly engaging and relevant programming can be developed," he said. "Without these insights, brands are simply in ‘hit-or-miss’ mode in execution; and, given how fast this space is moving, that is not going to be a formula for marketplace success going forward.”
 
Use of a smartphone or tablet to “webroom” topped “showrooming” on those devices by 12 to 14 percentage points among Baby Boomers (30% webrooming, 18% showrooming) and Generations X (43% and 29%, respectively) and Y (46% and 32%, respectively). Only Generation Z (34% and 39%, respectively) preferred showrooming — and not by much.
 
Across 15 product and service categories studied, 44% of U.S. shoppers reported combining online and in-person shopping activities — a jump of 7 percentage points versus 2013. Once limited primarily to “big ticket” purchases, this “omni-channel” behavior is surging in even lower-priced categories such as beauty and personal care (reported by 39% of U.S. shoppers), lawn and garden (29%), and food and beverage (22%).
 
The largest U.S. increases in omni-channel shopping came in home improvement (57%, up 19 points from 2013), auto (also 57%, up 14 points) and OTC medications (27%, up 12 points).
 
U.S. shoppers who decided to make their purchases in a brick-and-mortar environment were motivated by key differentiators such as “see and feel before buying” (58% prefer brick and mortar, versus 9% online), “get products sooner” (53% versus 16%), and “hassle-free returns” (35% versus 10%). When online was the preferred purchase venue, attributes such as “save money” (61% versus 28%), “easier” (53% versus 24%) and “better selection” (46% versus 16%) were deciding factors.
 
Though PCs and laptops still account for the lion’s share of online research and purchases, mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are playing a growing role. Internet shopping via a traditional home computer (PC or laptop) dropped from 78% to 63% in the U.S. in just one year, while use of mobile devices doubled from 8% to 15% for smartphones, and 5% to 10% for tablets.
 
Rises in smartphone shopping were more dramatic among Generations Z and Y, while tablets recorded significant upticks with Generation X and Boomers. Tablets have very consistent (though currently lower) usage for shopping across generations, while smartphones clearly skew younger.
 

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Family Dollar establishes record date for the special meeting of stockholders to approve Dollar Tree transaction

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores on Monday announced that Oct. 30 has been established as the record date for the special meeting of stockholders to approve the Dollar Tree transaction.
 
However, Family Dollar has not yet announced the time and location of the special meeting. 
 
"The company expects to do so, and the definitive proxy statement/prospectus for the special meeting will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in due course," Family Dollar stated. 
 
 
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Purdue Pharma launches pharmacist awareness campaign around Butrans

BY Michael Johnsen

STAMFORD, Conn. — A recent survey indicates that pharmacists in the United States wish they had better resource materials to help them counsel patients about prescription opioid medications. To help meet this need, Purdue Pharma has launched an awareness campaign to address specific knowledge gaps among pharmacists, including dose initiation, dose titration and application related to its Schedule III extended-release transdermal opioid, Butrans.
 
“As pharmacists, we take to heart our responsibility in helping to manage our patients and counsel them on safely using any prescription medications,” said American Pharmacists Association member, Michele Matthews. “These materials should help reinforce pharmacists’ confidence in their knowledge of Butrans, allowing them to provide their patients proper guidance.”
 
According to the online poll, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Purdue Pharma in February among 503 pharmacists, 95% of pharmacists said counseling patients about prescription opioid medications is an important part of their role as a pharmacist. However, 72% wish they had better resource materials to help them counsel patients about prescription opioid medications.
 
When it comes to Butrans, while 95% of the pharmacists polled have heard of the product, 28% said they were extremely or very familiar with it. Overall, 44% of pharmacists are only somewhat familiar with Butrans.
 
The survey also revealed that 46% of pharmacists who have heard of Butrans demonstrated a lack of knowledge around the proper starting dose for opioid-naïve or opioid-experienced patients. 
 
Purdue is working with the American Pharmacists Association to distribute a series of pharmacist resources, including a Pharmacist Brochure and Initiation and Titration Guide, which will reach more than 20,000 pharmacists, including APhA members, to help encourage productive pharmacist-patient interactions about Butrans including proper dosing, application, rotation and disposal and safety. 
 
Purdue also will present a webcast about Butrans in the coming weeks that will be housed at bit.ly/1w6SV14.
 
“Pharmacists are often the last healthcare professional with whom a patient interacts with before using a medication, so they have the potential to make an impact on patients’ quality of care, if given the necessary information on prescription medications and treatments,” said Lisa Miller, executive director of Healthcare Education and Liaison Programs at Purdue. "Purdue strongly believes it is imperative that we provide pharmacists with essential information about opioid therapies to improve their understanding and encourage appropriate use for their patients.”
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