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Got mobile? Shifting consumer behavior is ‘too large for retailers to ignore’

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Once again, mobile capabilities made headlines as a study by ComScore revealed that nearly 86 million Americans are now shopping on their smartphones. To put it another way: That’s 4-out-of-5 smartphone users.

(THE NEWS: Survey: 4-out-of-5 smartphone users access retail content. For the full story, click here.)

The traditional brick-and-mortar retailers with the largest reach were Walmart and Target. Speaking of Target, which had 10 million smartphone visitors, the big-box retailer has now announced that those Target shoppers who receive the retailer’s mobile coupons now can access them on their iPhone or iPod Touch via Passbook.

Meanwhile, a new study from Deloitte stated that using apps and mobile websites while shopping accounted for a 5% bump in retail sales in the United States this past year, equating to $159 billion in in-store sales. Fueled by the rise in apps and mobile websites catering to shoppers, as well as smartphone ubiquity, Deloitte forecasts that the impact of smartphones on retail in the United States will rise to 17% to 21% — working out to $628 million to $782 million in sales by 2016.

Clearly, those retailers that want to remain competitive need to become increasingly multichannel and implement mobile strategies to better reach today’s tech-savvy, connected consumer.

In fact, the National Retail Federation, in partnership with its member companies, has launched a new initiative to address the challenges and opportunities of mobile retailing as the NRF has recognized the importance of mobile technologies that offer seamless cross-platform shopping experiences.

As ComScore SVP mobile Mark Donovan stated, "This pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for retailers to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment.”

In what ways are you, as a consumer, leveraging mobile technologies when shopping?

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Avella named fastest-growing Ariz. company

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporate Excellence Awards has named Avella Specialty Pharmacy as the fastest-growing private company based in the state, Avella said.

Avella, formerly known as The Apothecary Shops, received the award from the Phoenix Business Journal. The ACE Awards recognize private companies based on the growth of their business, innovation, community involvement, dedication to employees and leadership accomplishments. The company changed its name to Avella in July.

"It is a blessing to lead such a talented group of people, and we look forward to our bright future," Avella CEO John Musil said. "We are growing because it’s the right thing for our partners and customers."

The company noted that it reached the 1,064th place on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the country, up more than 500 places from 2011.


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Secret deodorant steps up battle against bullying, names Demi Lovato as ambassador

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — As students across the country head back to school, Procter & Gamble’s Secret Deodorant brand is gearing up for the second year of its Mean Stinks anti-bullying movement.

In the second year of the program, Secret is stepping up its efforts by teaming up with musical artist Demi Lovato as the new Mean Stinks ambassador to inspire girls to “Gang Up for Good.” Girls can join Lovato in the movement to help bring an end to mean behavior by taking the Mean Stinks pinky swear, by painting their pinky nails blue in a show of peace and solidarity to keep bullying out of their group of friends.

“I’ve teamed up with Secret Deodorant as their new Mean Stinks ambassador because it’s important to me to use my voice to help end bullying,” Lovato stated. “Urging young women to ‘Gang Up for Good’ is a really great way to inspire us all to change the way we think when it comes to being a bully, witnessing bullying or being the victim of a bully.”

Beginning in October, girls nationwide can join this year’s Mean Stinks program by participating in a number of activities designed to educate about, and stand up to, bullying. Beginning in October, National Bullying Prevention Month, a downloadable Mean Stinks “Gang Up For Good” Kit will be available featuring lessons and a detailed assembly plan for girls, schools and parents.

To help girls “stick up” against what really stinks, being mean, and protect against the “stink” caused by wetness and odor, Secret has created new Secret Mean Stinks Clinical Strength. As part of Secret’s commitment to bring an end to girl-to-girl bullying, the brand will donate $1 from every Mean Stinks Clinical Strength purchase to Girls on the Run to fund their girl empowerment programming and help prevent mean behavior before it starts. Secret Mean Stinks Clinical Strength is available at select major retailers nationwide and the P&G E-store.

Inspiring change is one piece of the puzzle, but to help keep bullying and drama out of the equation long term, P&G and Secret have formed a relationship with leading researchers on youth social aggression at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, awarding them a P&G grant to develop an anti-bullying curriculum, with the intent to pilot it select schools this coming year.

The most recent U.S. Department of Justice report shows 30% of female students in grades 6 to 12 were bullied at school or cyber bullied during the 2009-2010 school year.

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