May 14, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:28 pm
RETAIL NOTEBOOK

Retailers' marketing ploys more varied

Americans are getting more old-fashioned in their shopping habits. That's the claim of the 2012 Shopper Engagement Study, which found that more shoppers than ever are making their final shopping decisions inside the store.

"While the study is chock-full of findings, perhaps the most interesting insight coming out of the study is the fact that the in-store decision rate has jumped from 70 percent in 1995 to 76 percent today. That means that even with all the attention and lip service that is paid to mobile, online, and other emerging mediums there is no better place to reach and influence today's shopper than at the shelf in the store," said Gregory Smith, director of communications for.

Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), the study's sponsor.

The global association for the marketing-at-retail industry, conducted interviews with 2,400 American shoppers. The study captured and examined more than 33,000 purchases decisions.

Smith said it is one of the first studies of its kind to provide a complete view of how shoppers behave in the retail environment.

To get even more high tech, the study also incorporated 70,000 eye-fixations and neuro-responses from a subset of 210 shoppers to understand how in-store marketing influences today's shoppers.

To determine the in-store decision rate, POPAI broke purchases down into four different categories — specifically planned, generally planned, substitutes, and unplanned. The in-store decision rate is calculated by taking the sum of the purchases that fall under generally planned, unplanned, and substitutes categories.

The in-store decision rate is one of the most reliable measures because it is based upon pre- and post-shopping interviews — what the shopper anticipated to purchase versus what they actually purchased. POPAI said given the uptick in this key metric, retailers and brands who fail to provide the in-store marketing and education shoppers seek risk pushing shoppers into the arms of competitors who are embracing in-store marketing.

The study also has interesting information specifically geared to grocery stores. Products sell best when they stand out among the competition. The study found that nearly one in six brand purchases are made when a display with that brand is present in-store. It worked most effectively for toaster pastries, pickles/relish, dishwashing soap, and pet supplies.

The study also found that successful grocers embrace the concept of cross-promoting items and locating displays away from the home aisle. It's anecdotal, but the ShopRite in West Hartford does this well with the simple step of locating bananas at the base of the cereal aisle.

How effective is a good in-store display? Thirteen percent of customers will notice it, which POPAI says is high. More importantly, two-thirds of shoppers who pick an item up from these displays end up purchasing it.

Finally, the study finds that cash is not king, at least from the retailer's perspective. Shoppers who use debit/credit cards are more susceptible to impulse purchases and make more decisions in-store. They buy larger quantities and make more unplanned purchases than their cash paying counterparts. Even when accounting for impulse purchases 57 percent of shoppers still spend more than they planned.

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Wireless retailer opens

Cellular Sales, claiming to be the nation's largest Verizon premium wireless retailer, recently announced the grand opening of a new store at 61 Raymond Road, in West Hartford's Blue Back Square. This is the second store opening in Connecticut. "The Hartford area is a great local economy to invest in," said Brett Haven, a regional director for Cellular Sales. "By bringing our business to Hartford we hope to provide great job opportunities for local residents."

Cellular Sales was founded in Knoxville, Tenn. 19 years ago and has, for the past four years, been named by Inc. Magazine one of the nation's fastest growing privately-owned retailers operating 500 stores with nearly 4,000 employees. According to Haven, the wireless retail store's opening will provide a boost to the local economy through the creation of eight new sales positions, all of which will be filled by local jobseekers.

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Wireless retailer Part 2

Wait, what's this? Another chain proclaiming itself the largest Verizon premium wireless retailer? The Cellular Connection, which also bills itself as the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S., opened its first store in Newington with a ribbon cutting April 27. The store is at 2434 Berlin Turnpike, next to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

TCC has 11 locations across the state. In celebration of the its latest grand opening, TCC will make a charitable donation to the Soccer Club of Newington. The Cellular Connection has more than 800 locations in 28 states.

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