Archive for the ‘retail’ Category

Auto Franchise Laws Restrict Consumer Choice and Increase Prices

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Auto Franchise Laws Restrict Consumer Choice and Increase Prices
Source: Mercatus Center

Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas recently received the 2014 Luddite Award from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation for preventing automaker Tesla from selling cars directly to consumers. These states’ efforts to ban direct sales are reminiscent of the Luddites, nineteenth-century English workers employed in the textile industry who both rejected technological development and actively worked to prevent its use through its destruction. State legislatures, rather than destroying physical plant and equipment like the Luddites, actively impede alternative distribution models, reducing consumer choice.

Auto franchise laws often include three major restrictions: mandatory dealership licensing requirements, onerous terms for terminating dealerships, and the creation of exclusive territories for incumbent dealers. Each rule carries a potential cost for consumers.

The coverage of these laws has expanded significantly during the past 30 years.

Rethinking Overtime

July 10, 2015 Comments off

Rethinking Overtime
Source: Oxford Economics

Today, some 3.3 million salaried workers across the US retail and restaurant industries can be exempted from the right to receive overtime pay because they earn at least $455 per week—the so-called overtime threshold. The Department of Labor is currently preparing a proposal that would change the rules that govern overtime payment.

To better understand the effects of these changes, Oxford Economics conducted an analysis using three possible modifications of the overtime regulation—raising the wage threshold to $610, $808, and $965 per week. This report explores the effects on the retail and restaurant industries under these three scenarios.

free registration required2

The Expanding Lap of Luxury Among U.S. Consumers

July 10, 2015 Comments off

The Expanding Lap of Luxury Among U.S. Consumers
Source: Nielsen

In the U.S. retail market, the word luxury doesn’t have the same connotation that it once did. Or perhaps it’s just that the consumers who shop for luxury goods aren’t who they used to be. Either way you look at it, defining luxury today is no easy task—and neither is identifying how people view the term.

For many consumers, luxury is a way to signal that they’ve “made it,” but the ways they choose to showcase or express their status can be as varied as the consumers themselves. For example, some convey it subtly through the scarcity and heritage of the products they purchase. Others take a more forthright approach by purchasing eye-catching products they want to showcase for everyone to admire and covet.

Regardless of how consumers choose to bring luxury into their lives, the U.S. has the deepest pockets when it comes to luxury retail spending. In fact, management consulting firm Bain and Co. estimates that Americans spent $73.3 billion on luxury goods last year—more than consumers in Japan, Italy, France and China combined.

Car Buyers Want Better Digital Experience, Most Ready to Complete Entire Process Online, Accenture Study Finds

July 2, 2015 Comments off

Car Buyers Want Better Digital Experience, Most Ready to Complete Entire Process Online, Accenture Study Finds
Source: Accenture

Most consumers are doing online research to help them make car-buying decisions, and most are doing so before visiting a dealership, a new survey by Accenture reveals. The survey also shows that 75 percent of drivers polled would consider conducting the entire car-buying process online.

The survey of 10,000 consumers in eight major countries found that 80 percent of drivers seeking to purchase a new vehicle are using some form of digital technology to research their buying preferences, and nearly two-thirds (62 percent) are initiating the car-buying process online, including consulting social media channels, before entering a dealership.

Additionally, three-quarters (75 percent) of the survey respondents said that if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back office paperwork and home delivery. Two-thirds (69 percent) said they have either bought a car online or would consider doing so. The findings also reveal that consumers would be open to using new, emerging online channels for purchases. For example, 63 percent of respondents said they would be interested in buying a new car through an online auction.

U.S. Retailers Struggling To Meet Consumer Expectations Around Mobile And In-Store Experience, Accenture Study Finds

June 23, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Retailers Struggling To Meet Consumer Expectations Around Mobile And In-Store Experience, Accenture Study Finds
Source: Accenture

U.S. retailers must move quickly to improve their operational capabilities in order to deliver a “seamless retail” experience to customers who say their expectations are not being met, according to new research by Accenture. For the second consecutive year, two studies of “seamless retailing” indicate a number of gaps between consumer expectations related to product offerings and pricing and the ability of retailers to deliver what customers want, as they shop across a growing number of channels.

A survey of 750 U.S. consumers and a separate analysis of how U.S. retailers operate across multiple sales channels indicate that, in order to win consumer loyalty and achieve growth across all channels, retailers must enhance their mobile commerce offerings and improve the in-store shopping experience. Only 42 percent of shoppers found it easy to complete a purchase using a mobile device, and when asked which aspect of the shopping experience is most in need of an upgrade, 39 percent ranked the physical store first, showing that retailers have not made much progress in these categories since last year’s survey.

The research also found that a number of mobile capabilities that can enhance seamless retailing for customers remain underdeveloped. For example, while all of the U.S. retailers assessed as part of Accenture’s benchmarking analysis have mobile optimized websites, only 53 percent have optimized their websites for tablets.

Lower-Calorie Foods, Beverages Drove Bulk of Supermarket Sales Growth―First Analysis of its Kind

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Lower-Calorie Foods, Beverages Drove Bulk of Supermarket Sales Growth―First Analysis of its Kind
Source: Hudson Institute (via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

A report from the Hudson Institute released today found that lower-calorie foods and beverages drove the bulk of sales growth for supermarket chains between 2009 and 2013, making up 59 percent of growth, compared to just 41 percent for their higher-calorie counterparts. This is the first report to examine the business impact that sales of lower-calorie items have on supermarket chains.

Those trend lines did not hold, however, for foods and beverages that contribute the most calories to the diets of children and adolescents, items like desserts, snacks, sugary drinks, and pizzas. During the study period, higher-calorie versions of these products made up more than 70 percent of sales and grew more than 12 percent, whereas lower-calorie foods and drinks saw growth of roughly 5 percent.

The overall shift in supermarket sales to lower-calorie products is largely consistent with recent changes in the restaurant and food and beverage industries, the report found—except that sales of lower-calorie items grew at an even faster rate for the latter two sectors, indicating that supermarkets could be taking better advantage of the public’s shift in food preferences.

The Wearable Future

May 12, 2015 Comments off

The Wearable Future (PDF)
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

There is indeed a wearable future ahead, one that can dramatically alter the landscape of society and business as we know it—and it’s right around the corner. For months, we surveyed consumers and spoke with experts to find out how to navigate the road to the future—exploring the potential benefits as well as the potential drawbacks, understanding why they matter, and how they will deeply shape us as individuals and as a society. Here is a look at some of the strengths and opportunities for wearable tech—and the weaknesses and challenges that enterprising businesses must successfully navigate.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,052 other followers