Entries in Shopping (62)


Majority of Shoppers Use Their Phones to Research Products

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A smart shopper uses a smartphone before making a purchase.

In a survey conducted by mobile video and media company Vuclip, 62 percent of respondents said they look up information on their phones when considering an important purchase.  That's much more than the 10 percent who instead use their home computer to research a product.

It seems that the younger you are, the more likely you are to rely on a smartphone when shopping.  Eighty-two percent of respondents under the age of 18 say they use their mobile device to look up info.

A few other nuggets from the survey of more than 120,000 respondents around the world:

  • 56 percent of respondents name their phone as the first thing that people notice about them, before clothing, cars, or watches.  For those under the age of 18, the number rises to 82 percent.
  • 58 percent say they've never been criticized by friends for using their phone in a social setting because their pals also frequently use a mobile device; it's 80 percent for those under the age of 18.
  • Forty-eight percent say they have been ashamed in the past to let people see their phone because it was too old; it's 78 percent for those under the age of 18.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Department Store Mannequins Are Watching You. No, Really.

Almax(NEW YORK) -- A well-dressed, picture-perfect mannequin stands still in a middle of a department store. She looks like any other life-size figure you've seen in stores for so long, except she can see and hear.

No, she isn't Kim Catrall and, no, we're not describing that 1987 movie Mannequin. An Italian company, by the name of Almax, has created a bionic mannequin of sorts.

It has cameras for eyes, audio recording capabilities, an embedded computer to analyze shoppers' faces, and a modem to upload the data to a server. Called the EyeSee Mannequin, it's meant to provide more data to retailers and department stores about shoppers, says its creator.

"The EyeSee can tell if a shopper is male or female, his or her age range, how much time you spent looking at it and its outfit," Max Catanese, the CEO of Almax, told ABC News. The EyeSee can also tell the ethnicity of shoppers.


The goal, as you might assume, is for stores to know more about who is shopping and looking at the displays, how long you looked at one mannequin versus others, how many types of shoppers come into the store, etc.

"The potential is huge. A store can really know who their client is. Let's say you have eight floors and six floors are for women and two are for men, but you find out 80 percent of the shoppers are male. You want to change the ratio and switch it," Catanese said. The computer inside the mannequin captures data about each of the shoppers it sees and then uploads that to a portal, so that the store can see the statistics.

But while it feels like spying and a real invasion of privacy, it's not meant to be, says Catanese. The EyeSee does not store any images or record video.

"It might capture soon the keywords between people. Say, you are in front of a mannequin with a blue dress, and you say to your friend, 'It would be wonderful to have it in red,' " he said. "It will capture the words and analyze the words; not record it."

So, when will these mannequins start analyzing you? They might already be. Not only does Almax sell the EyeSee to stores oversees, it already has one client in the U.S. "It is already in some stores in the U.S., but I cannot disclose the client."

Of course, many stores don't believe in tracking shoppers in this way. Bloomberg reports that stores like Nordstrom and Benetton are not sold on the technology. Almax will be showcasing the high-tech mannequin in New York City in early December, hoping to get more stores to feature them.

When asked if the mannequin could analyze faces or emotions, Cantese said, "There is some technology that is starting to give data like that, but it isn't advanced enough to give information about happiness, etc. In the future we will have it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cyber Monday Deals Lure More Shoppers on Mobile Devices

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Early estimates of Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, showed sales may reach $2 billion, and a growing portion of that may come from the pockets of a record number of mobile shoppers.

As of 2 p.m. EST, payment system PayPal had a 196-percent increase in mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday 2012 than Cyber Monday 2011. On Black Friday, the increase in the number of people shopping on their mobile devices was stark for PayPal as well as auction site eBay, which owns PayPal. On Friday, there was a 153-percent increase in mobile volume transactions compared to Black Friday last year. PayPal's volume increased almost three-fold, 193 percent, compared to last year's Black Friday.

The annual event is increasingly becoming Cyber Week instead of a one-day event as retailers open their arms for Americans who prefer to avoid crowds and compare prices online., Target, Walmart were all promoting Cyber Week specials in addition to deals exclusive to Cyber Monday.

Shoppers are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. Another prediction from Adobe Digital Index forecasts spending will reach $2 billion, as many shoppers were waiting for Monday's online deals to make their purchases.

It has already been a big holiday weekend with a record $59.1 billion spent at U.S. stores and websites, according to the National Retail Federation.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day, traditionally not a popular day for online shopping, rose 32 percent from last year to $633 million, according to comScore. And online sales on Black Friday were up 26 percent from the same day last year, to $1.042 billion. It was the first time online sales on Black Friday surpassed $1 billion.

The National Retail Federation says 247 million shoppers hit stores and websites to cash in on savings during the holiday weekend, up nine percent from last year. Nearly two-thirds of those shoppers went to stores or hit the Web on Black Friday.

Black Friday is now history along with Small Business Saturday. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.

On Twitter, retailers were tweeting in full force. Verizon Wireless purchased Twitter's promoted post, #CyberMonday, while Radio Shack marketed a different deal each hour of the day with the hashtag, #24dealsin24. At noon EST, Radio Shack was offering a TomTom GPS navigator for $99.99 after a discount of 38 percent.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, casual clothing and home retailer Land's End is listing door busters with the hashtag, #LE12HRS.

At midnight, was offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart is offering 75 percent off diamond earrings.

"Cyber Monday is really all about doing your homework, and it really means looking for the really good deals," retail analyst Marshal Cohen said. "If it's a really good deal, grab it."

But Cyber Monday might be losing its luster. The busiest day for Internet shopping has been overshadowed this year by online sales that started as early as Thanksgiving Day.

"Look for Cyber Monday to be important, but not necessarily getting that same growth rate that they've had in years past," Cohen said.

The rise in smartphones and tablets has changed consumers' shopping habits since Cyber Monday's inception seven years ago. Cyber Monday was first widely publicized by in 2005 to persuade shoppers to buy online, as people were still warming to e-commerce.

"There were so many deals being offered online, starting from Wednesday and all the way through the weekend and now some of the money has already been spent," Cohen said.

Cyber Monday is also an easier alternative for people who don't like long lines and chaos that comes with the Black Friday weekend.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Consumers Appear More Cautious this Holiday Shopping Season

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Consumer confidence has gone up in recent weeks, but shoppers appear to be in no mood to splurge.  A new survey finds most Americans do not plan to spend more on holiday gifts than they did last year.

Retailers are cautiously optimistic about the coming holiday shopping season.

"Most shoppers feel that the worst is over," says Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation.  "They made it through the recession.  Many of them spent several years paying down debt or putting money into savings."

But there are plenty of headwinds this fall that could hold back consumer spending.

"Everything from political attack ads to news about the fiscal cliff to gas prices that still can’t seem to stabilize are giving some consumers reason for caution," explains Davis.

That may make layaway plans more popular this year than at any time in the recent past.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Plan Ahead to Avoid Over-Spending on Back to School Supplies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Back to school spending is expected to be higher than last year.  The retail industry says it's the second biggest event of the year for shopping.

If you haven't already gone out to buy the latest school supplies, you may want to lay out a strategy before heading to the store.

"The first thing that we recommend is for people to put some sort of a budget or a spending plan together," says Dave Jones of the Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies.

He says its always good to plan ahead on spending.

"Buy only the things on the spending plan.  Avoid buying things that are just what the child might see and want," Jones advises.

And shopping with your kids may be a learning opportunity for them.

"The younger you can start to train your children about how to use money wisely, the better," he notes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Where’s Waldo? He Could Be Hiding in a Store Near You

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Local businesses in nearly 250 communities across the United States are taking part in a month-long scavenger hunt to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Where’s Waldo? children’s book series, hiding the beloved character among shelves and store displays this month.

To get started, hunters can grab a search list at a participating bookstore in their town and start collecting the “I Found Waldo at ______” cards once they locate him.  The more cards lucky Waldo-spotters collect, the more prizes they can win.

To ramp up excitement, one Pennsylvania store has even started dropping hints on its Twitter account for curious patrons wanting updates of his whereabouts.

Launched by the books’ latest publisher, Candlewick Press, and the American Booksellers Association, participating independent bookstores had to agree to work with 20 local enterprises to be eligible to partake in the chase.

The promotion is meant to encourage shoppers to frequent local enterprises in order to offset slowed summertime store traffic.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


People Shopping in Stores, Then Researching by Phone, Says Survey

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tell us if this sounds familiar: You're in a store -- perhaps a Best Buy, a Barnes & Noble or a department store -- and you see something you like, but instead of taking it to the cash register to buy it, you pull out your cellphone to see if you can get a better deal online.

Retailers call that "showrooming," and a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that versions of it are becoming very popular.

Pew surveyed 1,000 American adults by phone, and found that in the 30-day period surrounding the holidays, 52 percent of shoppers with cellphones walked into brick-and-mortar stores, saw products that interested them and did at least some research by smartphone. Nineteen percent of them ultimately made their purchases online.

Some other key numbers, quoting Pew:

  • 38 percent of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making.
  • 24 percent of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store.
  • 25 percent of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.

Greg Sterling, who writes for the website Marketing Land, said 95 percent of purchases are still made the old-fashioned way, by people visiting stores and talking to salespeople -- but retailers need to pay attention to the changing landscape.

"They have to think about this holistically," said Sterling. "There won't be just one way to fight back."

"They have to offer immediacy. They have to have competitive prices. They have to offer great service, and they have to do more," he said. "And this is a problem for many stores."

E-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay have been cleaning up, largely at the expense of big-box stores. The volume stores, over time, have squeezed small mom-and-pop independent stores -- and, in turn, been squeezed by major online retailers.

But shopping in person, especially if it's a pleasant experience, can still trump online discounts. Sterling cited Apple's stores as an example. Certainly, he said, Apple has other things going for it, but its stores are interesting to visit, its staff is well-trained and people don't mind paying more in exchange.

"Service is a powerful thing for people, and they'll reward it," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tiffany & Co. ‘Drops a Hint’ to Men Everywhere

Chris Weeks/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Sometimes even the most romantic of men need a hint when it comes to buying the perfect gift for their lady love.

And sometimes even the most low-maintenance of women are tempted to give the man in their life that little nudge to ensure they don’t suffer the pity of unwrapping a blender, lawn mower or new dish towel on Valentine’s Day.

Now, Tiffany & Co. has made it easier for everyone.

Introducing the “Drop a Hint” button now appearing on the famed jeweler’s website, just in time for Feb. 14.

See a beautiful pair of sapphire earrings you know you’ll look fabulous in?  Spot an emerald-cut diamond ring you know you can’t live without?

Just slide your mouse to the right of the screen, click the “Drop a Hint” button -- conveniently marked by a red heart -- and, voila, the link to your item of desire is marked.

A right click on the heart allows you to either bookmark the link to your screen, and not be angry when your husband or boyfriend snoops on your computer, copy the link so that you can easily, and oh-so-subtly, drop it in an email to your gift giver of choice.

A left click of your mouse simplifies the hint dropping even more.  Up pops a screen that asks you to enter your “True Love’s” name and email, along with your own, so that Tiffany’s can send this personalized postcard:

“Dear _____: As you may know, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, but do not fret. A little bird told us that this will be a smashing success with ____.

Of course, if you have other ideas for Valentine’s Day, this is just a hint.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


18-to-25-Year-Olds Prefer Shopping in Stores Rather than Online

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You’d think people in the 18-to-25-year-old age group would be active online shoppers, but a new survey finds 68 percent of them actually prefer shopping in stores for clothing and shoes rather than on the Internet.

The survey by LIM College and the NRF Student Association also finds that just 23 percent of the 18-to-25-year-olds shop from a smartphone or tablet.  But while most people in that age group prefer to shop in stores, 66 percent of them do use the Internet to browse and compare prices.

Additional findings from the survey:

  •     People in the 18-to-25-year-old age group are not as impulsive as commonly believed.  The survey found that 66 percent like to think about their purchase before buying.
  •     Only 20 percent of respondents shop from flash sales sites such as Rue La La and Gilt Groupe.  In fact, the majority of 18-to-25-year-olds are not even aware of them.
  •     56 percent of the age group pay for most of their purchases with debit cards rather than cash or credit cards.
  •     Many in the age group will “like” a brand on Facebook, but more than 88 percent do not yet want to shop thru Facebook or Twitter.

The survey involved 310 primarily female 18-to-25-year-olds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NEW YORK) -- Saving used to be simpler. Now, thanks to rising food prices and shows like Extreme Couponing, cutting and clipping has become an art form.

Teri Gault is the founder and CEO of The Grocery Game, a website that provides consumers with weekly lists of the lowest-priced products at their local grocery stores. Gault says her site helps people save up to hundreds of dollars per month. Here is a list of her top tips:

Stacking Sales -- or, combining coupons with in-store deals.

"Investing" -- buy in bulk when things go on sale, Gault says, so you won't have to pay full price later. In other words, don't wait until you run out.

"You don't even have to cut coupons to cut it [your monthly grocery bill] in half," says Gault. "You just invest. "But adding a coupon saves you about 67 percent on the average."

Timing -- Many people don't realize you don't have to redeem your coupons the same week they come in the paper. Coupons usually expire in three months, so you can play your coupons like a card shark.

Final Note: You can donate expired coupons to military families overseas, who may use them for up to six months past the expiration date. One place to do so is this Facebook page. donates all of their expired coupons to their local American Legion Auxiliary. Coupons must be clipped and bundled with rubber bands.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio