Friday, June 10, 2016

Car Price Remains Important, But Not at All Costs

Price remains important to car buyers. Jared Rowe readily notes that. “At some point, price has to factor in,” says the president of Cox Automotive’s Media Division, which includes Autotrader, an online automotive marketplace, and Kelley Blue Book, a vehicle-pricing provider . But citing results of a new Cox study, Rowe says, “Low price and transparent or fair price are the same in the consumer’s mind.”

That’s significant, he says. “We think this is a big deal. It means it doesn’t have to be about continuing profit margin pressures,” an effect on dealers competing solely on price.  

In this case, “fair” pricing means competitive pricing, or being in the game. If an online shopper is doing a lowest-to-highest price check on a vehicle, dealers appearing on the fifth or sixth web page of search results essentially are sidelined.   

“If pricing isn’t in a specific range, it isn’t perceived as fair,” Rowe tells WardsAuto.

Transparent pricing means, among other things, what customers see online and elsewhere is what they get at the dealership. Transparency reflects openness and consistency across marketing and sales channels....

Read the entire article courtesy of WardsAuto:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

For Free Or A Fee? Why More Retailers Are Launching Premium Customer Loyalty Programs

The success of Amazon Prime and other programs has many retailers rethinking their approach to customer loyalty.

Gary Friedman has a pronounced distaste for discounts. The outspoken Restoration Hardware chairman and CEO blames the retail sector’s reliance on sales and pricing promotions for many of the problems facing the upscale home furnishings chain.

“Much of how we behave promotionally is left over from the Great Recession,” Friedman wrote in a February letter to shareholders published ahead of Restoration Hardware’s disappointing Q4 2015 earnings report. “The multiple sale events and email communications do not reflect the brand we are building, nor are these promotions aligned with how our customers shop with us.”

Restoration Hardware is eliminating traditional promotions altogether in favor of introducing a premium customer rewards program. Priced at $100 per year, its new RH Grey Card offers shoppers a flat 25% savings on all regularly priced merchandise across all of Restoration Hardware’s brands, along with 10% savings on clearance merchandise, complimentary interior design services and reduced interest rates on its RH credit card.

“Our lives are filled with complexity—and we long to break through the clutter to find simplicity,” Friedman said in a press release announcing the RH Grey Card program. “We want to shop for what we want, when we want and receive the greatest value. So rather than navigating countless promotions, we’re changing things… because time is the ultimate luxury.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of Retail Dive:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


On average, radio reaches nine out of 10 Millennials...each week.

Despite falling into one generation, Millennials are not a uniform, homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests and behaviors. Their lives are in rapid transition: They're joining the workforce, moving into their own homes and starting families. And these changes influence their media consumption habits, including how and when they listen to the radio.

To better understand the media habits of the different sub-groups within the overall Millennial generation, Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2015 Total Audience Report separated the 18-34 crowd into three different groups: Dependent Adults (those living in someone else’s home), On Their Own Millennials (those living in their own home without children), and Starting a Family Millennials (those living in their own home with children). The data showed that 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home, primarily a parent’s or parents’; by their mid-30s, 90% of Millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Interestingly, one-third of 26-27 year olds falls into each of the three life stages....

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

To Draw Customers, Retailers Invite Other Companies Inside

Maybe a store divided can stand?

Macy's, Kohl's, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney all reported drops in comparable-store sales compared with the first quarter of last year, blaming online competition and shoppers' continued reluctance to spend.

One strategy traditional retailers are taking to fill too-big stores and spice up offerings is handing over some of that space to other sellers.

Retailers from Macy's to RadioShack are experimenting with everything from pop-up shops to mini stores staffed by another company's employees. The idea of opening stores-within-stores isn't new, but it does seem to be "taking on more importance than in the past" as retailers look to maximize profits and make stores more enticing, said Arnold Aronson, partner and managing director of retail strategies at consulting firm Kurt Salmon....

Monday, June 6, 2016

American and United Ready No-Frills Fares to Take on Discounters

Stung by competition from ultra-discount carriers, American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. are striking back with cheap, no-frills tickets of their own.

By year-end, the pair plans to lure budget travelers with basic-economy fares -- inexpensive tickets that don’t include typical benefits like an assigned seat before you get to the airport. Taking a cue from Delta Air Lines Inc., the carriers also hope that once the new fares draw attention, the bare-bones features will prompt some customers to “buy up” to a pricier choice, aviation consultants said.

Basic economy is one prong of a broader effort by the largest U.S. carriers to bolster revenue from each seat flown a mile, a standard industry measure that has been battered for about a year, partly because of fare wars with discounters such as Spirit Airlines Inc. and Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. The declines have helped push down the Bloomberg U.S. Airlines Index 17 percent this year through Thursday....

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