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Survey: 3-out-of-4 people shopping with tablet in hand respond to on-site messaging

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — Three-of-every-4 consumers using smartphones and tablets respond to a call to action after seeing a location-specific message, according to the "Mobile Audience Insights Report" issued by JiWire on Wednesday.

Specifically, 80% of the on-the-go audience preferred locally relevant advertising, and 75% were more likely to take an action after seeing a location-specific message. The top three actions included clicking on location-specific ads (31%), searching for the nearest location (21%) and/or conducting additional research (21%). Behavior further varied by smartphone device type. After clicking on an ad, iPhone users were most likely to conduct additional research (22%), Android users searched for the nearest location (25%) and Blackberry users immediately made a purchase (21%).

“It is exciting to see how important location-specific messaging is to consumers today,” stated David Staas, SVP marketing at JiWire. “As the on-the-go audience demands locally relevant information, brands need to focus on reaching consumers in and around their locations.”

In-store comparison shopping on a mobile device has become the No. 1 mobile behavior across all ages and gender. Similar to Pew Research’s findings that “one-third used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store,” JiWire also found this trend to be true, with 34% of on-the-go consumers participating in comparison-shopping behavior. JiWire’s report also delved a little deeper and found that 39% of consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 years old were the most likely to comparison shop in store, with 13% making a purchase on their mobile devices instead of in the store.

Other key findings: Consumers are four times more likely to search for reviews than to search for a friend’s recommendation; and 21% of consumers searched for coupons while in store. This recent phenomenon has caused online coupons to take off and become more popular over the years, JiWire noted. As many as 34% of consumers have redeemed an online coupon in the past 90 days. Additionally, mobile coupon redemption is rapidly nearing newspaper coupon redemption thresholds, with 18% redeeming mobile coupons and 22% redeeming newspaper coupons.

Tablets continued to dominate market share with significant growth across both the United States and United Kingdom, including the iPad, which saw substantial gains in the fourth quarter. The iOS and Android platforms increased in market share while Windows OS decreased. For the first time, the HP Touchpad, Kindle Fire and the Samsung Tablet have entered the Top 10 mobile devices.

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Sears Holdings reaches out to African-American entrepreneurs

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart operator Sears Holdings is emphasizing a program that it said is designed to empower African-American entrepreneurs.

The company said it would continue its "Share the Word?" program through 2012, its fifth year, and focus on African-American entrepreneurs with the Own a Sears Store program.

According to census data, the number of African-American-owned businesses increased at triple the national rate over the past five years, while a recent study by the Small Business Administration found that African-Americans are 50% more likely to start a business than any other racial or ethnic group.

Through the Own a Sears Store program, the company offers training and support for retail franchise concepts, such as Sears Appliance Showrooms, Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores and Sears Auto Centers.

"The desire and interest in owning a business is huge among African-Americans; and, in terms of sheer number, black-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy," Black Enterprise magazine SVP and editor-at-large Alfred Edmond said in a statement on behalf of Sears Holdings.

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Report: Sears Holdings cuts HQ staff

BY Allison Cerra

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The owner of Sears and Kmart stores reportedly is cutting 100 jobs at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

According to published reports, Sears Holdings spokesman Chris Brathwaite said the cuts cover a range of positions and that the terminated employees were notified Thursday.

The retailer has not said whether additional cuts are planned.

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