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SymphonyIRI: Shoppers optimistic yet frugal

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — U.S. shoppers believed that the economy improved in the last six months of 2011 and that growth will continue through the first six months of 2012, but many remain cautious with their spending, according to SymphonyIRI’s fourth quarter 2011 MarketPulse survey.

Although 20% of those surveyed in fourth quarter 2011 said they expected the economy to improve during the next six months, which was 4% higher than third quarter 2011, one-third of consumers surveyed said 50% or more of their purchases were discounted. Additionally, deal-seeking behavior is on the rise, as 26% of shoppers are buying more on deal today versus one year ago. This also rang true among wealthier shoppers, 20% purchased more goods on deal versus one year ago.

When it came to what brands were purchased, 44% of shoppers during the fourth quarter were influenced by in-store circulars (which saw a gain of eight percentage points during the year), 55% were influenced by coupons (versus 48% in first quarter 2011), 49% were influenced by newspaper circulars (up from 43% in first quarter 2011). New media also influenced purchases, with online advertising growing three percentage points to 11% during the quarter, and recommendations from blogs or social netowkring sites increasing to 8%.

“Through quarterly analysis of a full year of MarketPulse data, we discovered that shoppers were more optimistic in Q4 over Q3, but in many ways less optimistic than they were in Q1,” said Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends at SymphonyIRI. “Still, the vast majority of shoppers made clear in Q4 that they have no plans to change their conservative shopping behaviors in the near future. As a result, the influence of both traditional and new media on shopper decisions continues to grow.”

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Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC launch co-branded national program

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart are launching a nationwide program that makes it more convenient for Canadians to bank and earn rewards at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations throughout the country.

“With one of the largest and most popular loyalty card programs in Canada, we are continually focused on developing innovative, high-quality products to offer our Shoppers Optimum program members,” stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. “Aligning with RBC, a trusted leader in banking, allows us to expand upon our current financial services offering, providing our customers with even greater convenience and enhanced rewards.”

This new program will take effect on March 17, 2012, and will feature a co-branded RBC Shoppers Optimum banking account and debit card with enhanced Shoppers Optimum rewards. Other benefits include unlimited debit transactions in the account, access to Canada’s largest combined network of ATMs and branches — including more than 300 new RBC ATMs in Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations — and the ability to convert RBC Rewards points to Shoppers Optimum points. In addition to the banking account and debit card, RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart will introduce a series of co-branded products.

Key features include:

  • Collect Shoppers Optimum points at Shoppers Drug Mart and other retailers — allows clients to use their RBC Shoppers Optimum banking account and debit card to collect Shoppers Optimum points;

  • More Rewards — The ability to earn points faster with unlimited debit transactions: Earn 10 additional Shoppers Optimum points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart using the RBC Shoppers Optimum Banking Account (this is in addition to the points earned using the Shoppers Optimum card), and earn one Shoppers Optimum point for every $1 spent outside Shoppers Drug Mart using the RBC Shoppers Optimum Banking Account; and

  • Bonus Shoppers Optimum points — 50,000 Shoppers Optimum bonus points for setting up a payroll or pension deposit to the new account and completing two online bill payments.

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Walmart adds latest piece to e-commerce puzzle

BY DSN STAFF

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Walmart has named a replacement for Eduardo Castro-Wright, who announced his pending retirement in September. The company announced that Neil Ashe is the new president and CEO of the company’s global e-commerce business, effective Jan. 16. Castro-Wright will assist in the transition.

Ashe is replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright who announced his pending retirement in September and will assist in the transition.

Ashe comes to Walmart from CBS Interactive, where he most recently served as president. As president, he led all online properties and also drove development of new ways to distribute programming produced by the media giant and its subsidiaries. Websites included CBS.com, CNET.com, CBSNews.com, and CBSSports.com, among others.

"E-commerce is a great opportunity for us and we have a long-term vision to win," said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO. "We are on track to create the next generation of e-commerce, combining the latest in online innovations with physical stores to give our customers a unique and seamless shopping experience." Duke added, "With his strong personal leadership skills, financial background and experience in successfully working within a major corporation to lead its Internet division, Neil is the ideal leader to help us build this business. He has led companies through all stages of growth and maturity. He also has a deep understanding of the interactive space and how to attract and convert online customers. Perhaps most importantly, much of Neil’s professional success has come through close collaboration and shared goals with his peers – a key attribute as we continue to integrate our online businesses across the company and with our physical stores."

Prior to his work at CBS Interactive, Ashe was CEO of CNET Networks, initially best known for providing technology-related information, product reviews and price comparisons through CNET.com. He also oversaw dramatic development in the company’s China division, taking it from a small magazine and events operator to a highly profitable, fast-growing online business. During his tenure, the company’s value increased from $100 million to $1.8 billion. Ultimately, Ashe led the sale of the company to CBS and became president of CBS Interactive at that time.

Earlier, Ashe founded a company focused on using the Internet to improve K-12 education in the U.S. Prior to this, he was a partner and managing director at private investment firm Crest Communications Holdings and, before that, was an associate at Smith Barney, the investment bank now part of Citigroup.

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R.HAMMERLE says:
Jan-18-2012 01:14 pm

A excellent step to position the company to deliver e-health services on a global basis. Ron Hammerle, Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida

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