In Our Heads About Our Hair

01 October 2009

In tough economic times, “value” is the new black

New Study Identifies “Recession Shoppers” Hunt for Value
New York -- August 25, 2009 -- With the economy slowing down over the past year, a shopping behavior that for some consumers had been an occasional habit, has now become a routine – turning to the Internet to find the best value. A recent study identified a new category of online shoppers resulting from this trend - the “value hunter.” The study, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc. (PSB), was commissioned in partnership by LinkShare, a leading performance marketing network provider and gsi interactiveSM, a GSI Commerce® company providing comprehensive digital marketing and design solutions.

Research by PSB conducted earlier this year identified the birth of the “recession shopper.” These consumers – often new to online shopping – claimed that as economic situations worsened, they would look to the Internet to find the best deals. Now, months later, even as the economy’s vital signs are improving, online shopping behavior shows consumers are still heavily focused on value – in quality, price, convenience and time - making “value” the new core value among online consumers.

The evolution from “recession shopper” to “value hunter” means that consumers who were previously defined as “more likely to buy” online are now looking for value to determine what, and where, they will make their online purchase. Specifically, the research found that:

•72 percent (72%) of “value hunters” look for the best value regardless of brand
•51 percent (51%) of “value hunters” look for incentives when making online purchases
•63 percent (63%) of “value hunters” have purchased something online they wouldn’t have normally because of a special offer.
“More than ever before, consumers are searching online for products, services and websites that provide value,” said Yaz Iida, co-president, LinkShare. “In order to be successful in this new ‘information-at-a-click’ world, retailers must broaden and diversify their affiliate marketing partnerships. These partnerships provide retailers both big and small with a unique opportunity to expand their customer base by differentiating themselves through value-based products and promotions.”
In response to these findings, PSB outlined best practices every online retailer should adopt to stay competitive. In brief, online retailers are advised to:

•Evaluate offerings to find ways in which value can be infused directly into the brand;
•Get passionate about identifying, creating and offering value;
•Differentiate themselves from the competition through value offerings pricing, quality and experience; and

•Create an online experience built on value – through the use of an easy-to-navigate website, product placement and positioning and overall brand consistency.
“gsi interactive is seeing a trend with our clients who are already adjusting to the “value hunters” shopping behavior,” said Nick Pahade, president, gsi interactive. “Many of our clients are shifting their dollars from awareness-focused, online marketing to more action-focused, online marketing. This study helps to confirm and validate what gsi interactive has been observing among many of our clients’ consumers. There’s a shift in the way people are shopping, and retailers would be wise to adjust their efforts to adapt to these changes if they want to stay relevant.”

Additional survey results:

•68 percent (68%) of online shoppers search for value in the form coupons and special promotions
•45 percent (45%) of “value hunters” purchase something online once a week or more
•47 percent (47%) of shoppers prefer shopping online to shopping in-store
•22 percent (22%) of shoppers plan to make more purchases online this year compared to last year.
About LinkShare Corporation
LinkShare Corporation provides ecommerce businesses with a vast, high quality pay per action marketing network, along with expert consultative services and patented technology. LinkShare's cost-efficient pay per action (PPA) affiliate, search and lead generation campaigns acquire new customers, increase revenue and drive results. LinkShare clients are Fortune 500 and prominent companies doing business online, including J.C. Penney, 1-800-Flowers.com, American Express and Avon Products. LinkShare was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London and Tokyo. For more information, please visit: www.linkshare.com.

About Rakuten
Headquartered in Tokyo, Rakuten is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive Internet service companies, providing leading services in e-commerce, portal & media, travel, financial services, and professional sports. Rakuten focuses on new business development and increasing its scope in order to improve and diversify service offerings. Rakuten is a publicly traded company in Japan (JASDAQ: 4755).

About gsi interactive
gsi interactiveSM is a full-service digital agency focused on creating experiences that drive consumer actions. More than 50 of the world’s leading brands and retailers rely on gsi interactive to deliver effective digital solutions through a deep understanding of strategy, usability, design, marketing, and photography. gsi interactive, with offices in New York; San Jose, Calif.; and King of Prussia, Pa., is a GSI Commerce company.

About GSI Commerce
GSI Commerce, Inc. (Nasdaq: GSIC) (www.gsicommerce.com) is a leading provider of services that enable e-commerce, multichannel retailing and interactive marketing for large, business-to-consumer (b2c) enterprises in the U.S. and internationally. GSI Commerce, Inc. delivers customized e-commerce solutions through an e-commerce platform, which is comprised of technology, fulfillment and customer care. GSI Commerce, Inc. also offers each of the platform’s components on a modular basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. Additionally, a full suite of interactive marketing services are offered through two divisions, gsi interactivesm and e-Dialog (www.e-Dialog.com).


Additional References

•Check out our LinkShare blog: http://blog.linkshare.com/
•Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LinkShareBlog
•LinkShare on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/linkshareblog/
•LinkShare International: http://www.linkshare.com/about/international/

Media Contacts:

Mark Kirschner
LinkShare
646-943-8359
mkirschner@linkshare.com

Kristin Parran
Blanc & Otus Public Relations
617-451-6070
kparran@blancandotus.com

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