Predicting Election 2016: Hear from InfoScout’s CEO and other Market Research Leaders

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From our friends at Greenbook and The ARF:

Almost everyone failed to predict the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election, and the winner came as a shock to pollsters, the media, as well as people in the U.S. and around the world. How did we get it so wrong, and what does this mean for marketing and insights?

On November 29 we’ll explore this very topic in Predicting Election 2016: What Worked, What Didn’t and the Implications for Marketing & Insights, brought to you by The ARF and GreenBook. The event will take place from 8:30am to 11:00am Eastern time. The event is free for the ARF and GreenBook communities. You are welcome to attend in person or virtually.

During this event, we won’t rehash the polls or outcome of the election, but rather explore the implications of this polling failure for commercial research and analytics on the things that are important to our industry: trust in research (especially surveys!), new tools and techniques, predicting and modeling behavior or trends, implicit vs. explicit data sources, the application of cognitive and behavioral psychology, and more.

Hear from speakers like:

  • Tom Anderson – Founder, OdinText
  • Chris Bacon – EVP, Research & Innovation: Global Research, Quality & Innovation, The ARF
  • Rick Bruner – VP, Research & Analytics, Viant Inc.
  • Melanie Courtright – EVP, Global Client Services, Research Now
  • Lenny Murphy – Executive Editor & Producer, GreenBook
  • Dr. Aaron Reid – Founder & Chief Behavioral Scientist, Sentient Decision Science, Inc.
  • Jared Schrieber – Co-Founder & CEO, InfoScout
  • Taylor Schreiner – VP, Research, TubeMogul
  • Cliff Young – President, Ipsos Public Affairs

Register here for the event (virtual or in-person). We hope to see you there!

Unwrapping Halloween: Candy, Kids and Shopping Behavior

Assuming I can avoid the treats until halloween :) On another note... I have decided to rename what I do to "photoadayish" as that is more accurate haha.

When we go trick-or-treating with our children or grandchildren, each house has an overflowing bowl of candy, along with the occasional stickers, pencils and erasers. We make sure the kids say “trick-or-treat” and “thank you,” and we move on to the next house so the kids can add to their Halloween loot.

Of course, here at InfoScout, we see that giant bowl of candy and want to know the story behind it. We analyzed receipt images of purchase data captured by our proprietary mobile apps during Halloween shopping occasions throughout the month of October. We broke them down into two categories: early bird shoppers, who shopped October 1-15, and last minute shoppers, who shopped October 16-31. We also wanted to find out the impact of having kids on those shopping trips.

There was no significant difference between early bird and last minute shoppers in terms of demographics such as gender, ethnicity, generation, income or education level. We also noticed consistency in four key metrics:

  • Percentage of Households Buying One Brand: 39% for early bird, 43% for last minute
  • Average Number of Candy Units per Trip:1 for both early bird and last minute
  • Average Candy Spend per Trip: $5.04 for early bird, $5.75 for last minute
  • Average Basket Size: $53.93 for early bird, $53.05 for last minute

The small increase in candy spend per trip for last minute shoppers suggests that these customers didn’t have time to look for the best deals. They likely either had to buy whatever candy was available at stores where they were shopping for other things, or just take whatever candy was left, even if it was a little more expensive.

One obvious takeaway from these four metrics is that the money spent on candy only represents about 10% of total spend during these shopping trips. So what exactly are these Halloween shoppers buying?

Early Bird Halloween Shoppers

Looking across all early bird shoppers, we see the candy brands we are all familiar with being bought the most.

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Customer affinity was highest for the following product categories during early bird shopping trips:

  • Party Favors
  • Marshmallows
  • Stickers
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Snack Mixes
  • Indoor Decor
  • Writing Supply
  • Paper Tableware
  • Cake Toppings

High affinity for products such as party favors, meat and poultry, indoor décor and writing supplies would indicate that many early bird shoppers were planning to host a Halloween party, which would typically occur during the week before Halloween.

Last Minute Halloween Shoppers

M&M’s was the clear candy winner of the Halloween shopping season, finishing in first place by a relatively large margin among both early bird and last minute shoppers.

Customer affinity was highest for the following product categories during last minute shopping trips:

  • Party Favors
  • Bowls
  • Snack Mix
  • Diet Food/Drink
  • Paper Tableware
  • Plastic Containers
  • Straws
  • Cake Toppings
  • Boys/Girls Tops and Bottoms

Clearly, there is some overlap between products purchased by both early bird and last minute shoppers as many of these products are typically found in the same or nearby aisles during the weeks leading up to Halloween.

How Kids Impact Shopping Trips

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Interestingly, the amount spent on candy dropped when children were present, but the average basket ring increased across the board. This would indicate that parents shopping with kids may have tried to avoid candy aisles, but increased their purchases of other items.

M&M’s still rules the day, whether kids are present or not. The top candy brands continue to capitalize on their heritage and brand recognition. While Twix was introduced to American consumers in 1979, the other candy brands purchased most often during the Halloween season – M&M’s, Hershey, Snickers, Kit Kat and Reese’s – are at least 75 years old. All are owned by either Hershey or Mars.

Is false pessimism about the economy fueling support for Trump?

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Trump supporters are 44% more likely than Clinton supporters to claim that they’re paying significantly more for groceries over the last year. But in fact, they’re paying less.

This election season, it’s been widely reported that Trump supporters are much more likely than Clinton supporters to hold the opinion that the American economy is doing much worse this year than a year ago.  To understand this phenomenon, InfoScout decided to peel back the onion to better understand whether or not individual Trump supporters might actually be facing a different economic experience than their Clinton supporting counterparts.

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To perform this study, InfoScout surveyed nearly 2,000 consumers who have been using one of the company’s mobile apps (e.g., Shoparoo & Receipt Hog) to submit pictures of their receipts after every shopping trip for more than one year.   These consumers were asked a series of questions related to their views on social issues, the economy and especially their perception of price inflation versus one year ago.  Once a survey respondent’s economic perspective was captured, they were then asked whether or not they were planning to vote, and if so, which party they are affiliated with and which candidate they planned to support.   

For each of the 1,842 individual respondents who stated that they were planning to vote in Tuesday’s election, InfoScout identified purchases of the exact same grocery item in both the most recent three months ending October 31, 2016 and in the same three month period one year ago.  The prices paid for these identical items at the exact same stores (e.g., a 12.25oz box of Honey Nut Cheerios from Target) were then compared on a year-over-year basis.

The data clearly indicates that overall prices for the same items are down from a year ago and in fact are down slightly more for the Trump supporters studied due to geo-demographic attributes.  Taken by itself, this is not a very interesting or insightful finding, but when we combine these shopping behaviors with the attitudes expressed by these voters, the results are quite illuminating.

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Despite paying less for their groceries, 52% of Trump supporters surveyed believe they are paying more for their groceries now than they were a year ago.  By contrast, this number falls to 36% for supporters of Hillary Clinton.  This means that Trump supporters are 44% more likely than Clinton supporters to falsely believe that grocery prices are on the rise.  This false pessimism may be fueling their drive for a change of party in the White House – especially if Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is seen as a continuation of the current administration.  Perhaps more concerning for the Clinton campaign is that undecided voters appear just as likely as Trump supporters to incorrectly assert that they are paying more at checkout.  Clinton’s White House pursuit may very well depend on her ability to convince undecided voters that perhaps the economy isn’t so bad after all.

3 Reasons Why Brick-and-Mortar Owned Back-to-School Shopping

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Brick-and-mortar retail has been taking its lumps in recent years. Sales are down. Companies have filed for bankruptcy. Hundreds of stores are closing. Many predictors of doom and gloom have said Amazon is taking over the world and it’s just a matter of time before online shopping takes over and in-store shopping dies a slow death.

Of course, such predictions of the demise of brick-and-mortar retail are grossly exaggerated with little data to back them up. Case in point: back-to-school shopping.

InfoScout’s proprietary mobile apps captured physical and digital receipt images of customer purchase data from back-to-school shopping occasions. We also conducted a survey of 449 back-to-school shoppers to gain even deeper insights into shopper behaviors and motivations.

This data shows that the number of shopping trips for back-to-school supplies spikes in July and peaks in August. Brick-and-mortar retail stores are the primary beneficiaries of this bump – and it wasn’t even close.

In fact, three quarters of July and August shopping trips for back-to-school supplies went to the brick-and-mortar stores of mass retailers, compared to under 5% for online shopping channels. This is a huge win for in-store shopping during the back-to-school season.

So how did mass brick-and-mortar retailers score such a decisive victory when online supposedly had all of the momentum? Here’s what the data tells us.

1) It’s Not Just About School Supplies

70% of brick-and-mortar shoppers were looking for more than school supplies. They prefer to pick up back-to-school supplies as part of a larger shopping trip. This translated to trip dollars that were nearly 50% higher than online purchases.

2) Back-to-School Shoppers Sniff Out Deals

50% of in-store shoppers visited multiple retailers. When asked why, the top seven responses involved finding the best prices and deals. While online shoppers valued the convenience of shopping when they wanted (75%) and having products shipped directly to their homes (79%), in-store shoppers looked for the best prices and were willing to comparison shop to find them.

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3) Brick-and-Mortar Raised the Customer Experience Bar

When asked what they appreciated about the in-store shopping experience, shoppers pointed to the ability to shop for more than back-to-school items (58%) and low prices on back-to-school items (57%). Tax-free weekends were appreciated by 17% of respondents. But the experience wasn’t all about pricing and sales.

Having a dedicated, organized section for back-to-school supplies is a plus for 49% of in-store shoppers. 47% call out the selection and availability of school supplies, while 20% appreciate that the supply lists from specific schools are available in stores.

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Can Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Continue this Momentum into the Holidays?

The back-to-school shopping season demonstrates that brick-and-mortar retailers can win with low prices, dedicated back-to-school sections, effective merchandising, and well-stocked shelves. Can this approach be applied to the holiday season to slow or even stop sales losses to online channels?

For example, online channels offer the advantage of the infinite aisle. If a holiday shopper in the store is looking for a product that’s unavailable, will the retailer be willing to have that product shipped directly to the customer? While most retailers offer holiday sections for decorations, will they create special sections for gift categories, such as stocking stuffers?

Brick-and-mortar stores capitalized on the fact that back-to-school supply shopping is part of a larger shopping trip. What kinds of promotions or incentives can be offered to capitalize on this advantage during the holiday season and get more people into stores? Can stores that make  school supply lists available also support gift wish lists?

Clearly, doomsday predictions for brick-and-mortar retail stores are premature. Online can be beaten with the right combination of pricing, product availability, merchandising and marketing. The proof is in the data. Now it’s up to retailers to apply these techniques to the holiday season and beyond.

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 1

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In the run-up to Black Friday, InfoScout’s team of researchers has been examining holiday shopping trends and has developed a number of predictions for the 2016 season. Here are some things to look out for in the weeks ahead:

Super Saturday is on track to overtake Black Friday as the No. 1 shopping day of the season.

Despite retailers’ best efforts to pull holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday, consumer procrastination is actually pulling trips later into December. Super Saturday (Dec. 17) —the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend — looks to continue its recent trend of stealing share of trips from Black Friday. In 2015, Super Saturday saw 12% more trips than the prior year, while Black Friday trips remained flat.

“Black Friday has become an increasingly artificial phenomenon, driven as much by retailer promotion as by its date on the calendar,” said Jared Schrieber, InfoScout’s co-founder and CEO. “Super Saturday, by contrast, offers a more practical reason for primacy in shopping trips — it’s the last weekend to shop before the holiday.”

Being a consumer’s “first stop” is more important than ever.

A smaller concentration of sales on Black Friday means shoppers will tend to complete their trips earlier — which makes the importance of being a shopper’s first stop greater than ever. Last year, for example, InfoScout data showed that shoppers who made Walmart their first stop on Black Friday spent nearly twice as much there as those who made it their second stop. Virtually every retailer achieves a substantial “first stop” benefit (on average, an 18 percent basket size increase).

“Last year, 74 percent of Black Friday shoppers went to more than one store, and many of those went to a third and fourth,” said Schrieber. “On the other end of the spectrum, 38 percent of shoppers who went to Walmart first did not go to any other store on Black Friday. We expect the trend toward visiting fewer stores to accelerate — which makes attracting customers to your store first critically important.”

For TV buyers, it’s all about price and size in 2016, not 4K resolution or other fancy features.

InfoScout’s recent survey of 840 recent TV buyers showed that just one in five TV buyers — 21 percent — purchase the brand they intended to purchase when they walk into the store. The rest either don’t have a specific brand in mind, or change their mind after they enter the store. What’s more, product features, such as 4K resolution or Smart TV functionality, are not the differentiators brands would like them to be. Only 26 percent of TV shoppers chose a specific brand because of product features.

“When we are expecting 55-inch 4K TVs to be sold for as low as $315 on Black Friday, are consumers really buying these TVs because they have 4K resolution? Our data suggests they will be buying them because they fit their wall and their wallet,” says Bob Goodwin, InfoScout’s practice leader for consumer technology.

Look for “2016 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions, Part 2” on our blog tomorrow.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

Business and consumer news media interested in specific holiday shopping data and trends may send inquiries to infoscout@ideagrove.com.

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The Real Story Behind Macy’s Sales Declines and Store Closures, Part 2

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In the previous post, we uncovered some of the driving factors behind recent sales declines at Macy’s, one of America’s oldest and most iconic retailers. These struggles have resulted in two announcements of mass store closures within the past year.

InfoScout analyzed the shopping occasions of 12,801 Macy’s shoppers between June 2015 and June 2016, using our proprietary mobile apps to capture physical and digital receipt images of customer purchase data. We also supplemented this data by surveying 499 Macy’s shoppers to get firsthand accounts of their experiences and find out why Macy’s is losing share of wallet in its physical stores.

Our research uncovered a number of revealing facts and trends about Macy’s shoppers, which we discussed in Part 1:

  • 37% are shopping less frequently at Macy’s.
  • 32% haven’t shopped at Macy’s within the last six months, causing Macy’s to miss out on key seasonal purchase cycles.
  • The top frustration of less frequent Macy’s shoppers is high prices, cited by 50% of shoppers.
  • Other frustrations include store location (23%), customer service (15%), product selection (12%), and poor store organization and merchandising (10%).

 

Purchase data from actual Macy’s shoppers shows that the challenges facing Macy’s go deeper than “people would rather shop online.” Competition from e-commerce is certainly a challenge for all brick-and-mortar retail stores, but InfoScout data proves e-commerce is far from the only challenge that is causing Macy’s share of wallet to shrink.

Explaining Macy’s Low Share of Wallet and Where Their Customers Are Going

Of 21,776 panelists who purchased merchandise in the apparel, electronics, entertainment, health and beauty, sports, and toys categories, 15,494 purchased these products at Macy’s stores. That translates to a closure rate of 71%. But as we look further down the leakage tree, we see that Macy’s brick-and-mortar stores only own a 6% share of wallet.

If Macy’s owns 6% share of wallet, who’s getting the other 94%? The top two beneficiaries of Macy’s struggles are mass retail giants Walmart and Target at approximately 17% and 16%, respectively, followed by Best Buy (7%), Kohl’s (6%) and Costco (5%). Only 6% of purchase dollars are going to Macys.com.

Bar Chart, Survey Response, Full Width 01@2x

The Amazon effect is not as significant as one might expect, with the online retailer earning less than 4% share of wallet for Macy’s brick-and-mortar shoppers. However, when InfoScout analyzed the purchase data of Macy’s lapsed shoppers – those who hadn’t shopped at Macy’s in the last six months – we found that these shoppers increased their spend at Amazon by 10% after they stopped shopping at Macy’s.

While e-commerce is certainly a challenge, the data mentioned previously shows that more Macy’s customers are shopping at other brick-and-mortar stores than online. InfoScout confirmed this trend in a survey of Macy’s customers, who were asked where they have been shopping or will be most likely to shop for items that they would normally purchase at a Macy’s store.

Column Chart, Metrics Comparison, Full Width 01 Copy@2x

52% said they would turn to non-department stores such as Walmart, Target or Kohl’s, while 33% said they’ll go to other department stores such as Nordstrom, JC Penney or Neiman Marcus. 23% said they would go to apparel retailers such as Gap, H&M or Forever 21.

Of course, e-commerce is getting its fair share of business from Macy’s shoppers. 31% of survey respondents said they’ll shop at Amazon. 19% will shop at another department store website, 18% will shop at an apparel retailer website, and only 16% will go to Macys.com. This would indicate that the frustrations experienced in Macy’s stores are causing many consumers to abandon Macy’s completely, both in-store and online.

What Can Macy’s Do to Stop the Bleeding?

When shoppers were asked what would motivate them to shop at Macy’s more often, 55% said they could be swayed by easy-to-use coupons and promotions. Better product selection came in second at 15%. 10% would be encouraged by better everyday value on merchandise.

When those who claim to be shopping less at Macy’s were asked how they would feel if Macy’s closed their stores, 54% said they wouldn’t care. 41% would be sad and miss Macy’s. 5% said they would be happy and that it’s time for Macy’s to close. The sentiments of those who shop at Macy’s as often as they always have are more positive. 61% would be sad, 37% wouldn’t care, and only 2% would be happy about it.

Column Chart, Metrics Comparison, Full Width 02 Copy@2x

Clearly, the majority of frequent Macy’s shoppers are loyal to the brand, as are a large percentage of those who are shopping less frequently at Macy’s. Collectively, these customers represent a major turnaround opportunity for Macy’s.

For shoppers who are frustrated with pricing and location, offering targeted promotions and discounts for both in-store and online purchases could drive incremental purchases. Also, issues related to selection and merchandising must be addressed. While a large percentage of Macy’s customers are shopping online, not enough are shopping at Macys.com. By delivering a seamless, omni-channel experience, Macy’s can win more online dollars.

Simply attributing store closures and sales declines to the growth of e-commerce is an incomplete, oversimplified rationalization. While a 16% closure rate and 6% share of wallet are disappointing, they also represent tremendous upside for a legendary brand like Macy’s to increase those numbers. Macy’s and other retailers that are struggling with in-store performance need to dig deep into customer behavior and purchase data and adapt accordingly to retain customers and grow sales.
 
InfoScout uses proprietary technology and targeted surveys to provide valuable insights into shopper behavior, purchasing decisions and industry trends. Contact us to schedule a free demo and learn how InfoScout can help you build revenue and enhance your brand.

 

The Real Story Behind Macy’s Sales Declines and Store Closures, Part 1

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Earlier this summer, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 100 stores – about 15% of the company’s total properties – after six straight quarters of sales declines. This news follows the January announcement that Macy’s would be shutting down 40 stores. Macy’s will reportedly focus on improving the shopping experience at more successful stores and continuing to develop its omni-channel strategy.

Of course, Macy’s is not alone when it comes to closing stores. Sports Authority will soon cease to exist, and other iconic retail brands such as Walmart, Target, JC Penney, Sears and Kohl’s have been part of the recent wave of brick-and-mortar store closures.

When identifying reasons for the struggles of Macy’s, it’s easy to point to the growth of e-commerce. However, this is an oversimplification of far more complex issues. Understanding the real story behind the struggles of Macy’s requires much closer analysis of actual sales data and consumer behavior.

InfoScout used physical and digital receipt images of customer purchase data, captured by InfoScout’s proprietary mobile apps, to analyze the shopping occasions of 12,801 Macy’s shoppers between June 2015 and June 2016. We also surveyed 499 Macy’s shoppers to dig deeper into their perceptions of Macy’s and what is driving their shopping behavior.

These insights paint a fact-based picture of the problems facing Macy’s and how they are negatively affecting share of wallet for the company’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Customers Are Shopping Less Frequently

Survey data states that 63% of consumers shop at Macy’s with about the same frequency as they always have, while 37% shop less often. By tracking actual Macy’s consumer spend, we find that these shoppers last shopped at Macy’s:

  • Within the last month (11%)
  • 1-2 months ago (21%)
  • 3-6 months ago (30%)
  • 7-12 months ago (38%)

Last Macy's Shopping Trip

According to this purchase data, 38% of Macy’s shoppers haven’t shopped at Macy’s within the last six months. As a result, Macy’s is missing out on the seasonal purchase cycle that is essential to the success of any department store.

The decrease in shopping frequency can be partly attributed to the fact that most Macy’s customers aren’t shopping for other people. 74% are purchasing merchandise for themselves, with only 30% buying for their children, 26% buying for their spouse or significant other, and 24% buying for another family member.

who people are shopping for at Macy's

Price, Store Location, Selection and Merchandising Frustrate Shoppers

When asked to identify issues and frustrations experienced while shopping at Macy’s, half of those who shop less frequently at Macy’s said the prices are too high. 40% of those who shop as often as they always have also reported pricing issues. Mobile devices provide consumers with total price transparency, so when prices aren’t competitive, sales are inevitably lost.

The second biggest frustration (23% for less frequent shoppers and 15% for those shop just as frequently) is the fact that a Macy’s store isn’t close to where they live. One could reasonably deduce that these shoppers would rather shop online or at another closely located retail store than travel farther to Macy’s, especially if the prices aren’t worth the trip.

Customer service is another problem, according to 15% of less frequent shoppers. 12% are frustrated by poor product selection, saying that Macy’s doesn’t have the products or brands they want. 10% said the store isn’t well-organized or merchandised.

frustrations while shopping at Macy's

Although Macy’s prides itself on competitive pricing and product selection, purchase data from actual Macy’s shoppers clearly indicates that Macy’s is failing to deliver on this promise. When combined with customer service and merchandising issues, shoppers could easily become disillusioned and take their business elsewhere.

InfoScout data tells us that a large percentage of Macy’s customers are shopping less frequently and identifies the most common frustrations that have contributed to this trend. But what is this doing to Macy’s share of wallet? Who is benefiting from sales declines at Macy’s, and what can Macy’s do to win back those dollars? We’ll discuss these issues in detail in the next post.

InfoScout uses proprietary technology and targeted surveys to provide valuable insights into shopper behavior, purchasing decisions and industry trends. Contact us to schedule a demo and learn how InfoScout can help you build revenue and enhance your brand.

Lessons from Sports Authority, Part 2: Where Consumers and Retailers Go from Here

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In the previous post, we discussed the main reasons for the downfall of Sports Authority, which announced earlier this year that all of its stores would be closed and liquidated. While industry analysts focused on the company’s debt load, InfoScout focused on actual Sports Authority customers.

Using our proprietary mobile apps to capture receipt data and analyze more than 17,000 shopping occasions, as well as a survey of more than 300 Sports Authority customers, we discovered three core drivers behind the company’s demise – high prices, poor selection, and a failure to attract Millennials.

Now that we have a better idea of what went wrong, where will Sports Authority customers take their business? What can retailers do to earn their business?

We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Circuit City was the second largest electronics retailer in the U.S. when it began closing stores in 2008. There were three sets of open arms waiting for Circuit City customers – Walmart (the mass discount retailer), Best Buy (the largest electronics retailer), and Amazon (the emerging online retailer).

Similarly, the key players looking to fill the void left by Sports Authority are mass discount retailers Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is the leading sporting goods retailer, and Amazon, which is now the dominant online retailer. All have the pricing, selection, and Millennial-desired omni-channel capabilities to avoid the pitfalls that doomed Sports Authority.

Where Do Customers Go from Here?

When customers were asked what they purchased from Sports Authority, the top product categories were athletic apparel (64%), footwear (48%) and sports equipment (45%). They were followed by sports team apparel (19%), outdoor gear (16%) and fitness items (15%).

Regardless of product category, the largest percentage of these customers (68%) will now go to other sporting goods stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and Cabella’s. When asked to choose just one shopping destination, Dick’s Sporting Goods, chosen by 58% of respondents, was the overwhelming winner.

This data is supported by InfoScout’s analysis of actual purchase behavior, which shows Dick’s as the most frequently shopped competitor of Sports Authority. Nearly half (46%) of Sports Authority customers will shop at Amazon, the second highest ranked retailer. Only 37% will go to mass retailers such as Walmart, Target and Kohl’s.

sports authority closing sign

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents completely or somewhat agreed with the following statement: “In about the next five years, there will be no sporting goods retail store locations left because anything you need you can just buy on the internet.” Although we don’t know how accurate consumer crystal balls are, sporting goods product categories are ripe for channel disruption.

For example, brands such as Nike are benefiting from direct-to-consumer strategies. Although Sports Authority customers are or will be shopping at Target.com (40%), Walmart.com (32%) and DicksSportingGoods.com (30%), many are also shopping at brand sites such as Nike.com (36%), UnderArmour.com (20%), Adidas.com (11%) and Lululemon.com (5%).

Customers know that they can go directly to the brand. Strong brands such as Nike have created destinations for customers, both online and in-store, and are looking to rely less upon mass retail distribution channels.

Loyals, Occasionals and Millennials

Our research found that the most loyal Sports Authority customers, those who shopped at Sports Authority at least five times in the past year, are likely to go to retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports.

Occasional customers, those who shopped at Sports Authority fewer than five times in the past year, are shifting more spend online, making Amazon the winner for this group. However, “occasionals” are spending 6% less overall, while spending among “loyals” is down just 1%.

Digging deeper into data related to the all-important Millennials, a group that Sports Authority failed to win, our research shows that Millennial loyals are spending significantly more (23%) at both Amazon and sporting goods stores. The largest increases are at Amazon (8%).

Millennial occasionals are spending 6% less overall, but 5% more at Amazon. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers should be asking two important questions. First, how can we capture a greater share of Millennials who were occasional Sports Authority shoppers? Second, how can we convert those Millennial occasionals into loyals?

The Final Verdict

The most loyal sporting goods shoppers value the ability to find specific items and the expertise that a specialty retailer can provide. As a result, retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports, with their established store footprints, fair pricing and ample selection, are well-positioned to benefit from Sports Authority’s loyal customers.

For more generalized needs, such as apparel and footwear, online channels are likely to continue to grow and thrive. Millennials are headed in this direction. Brick-and-mortar retailers need to deliver a consistently superior shopping experience across all channels to maintain in-store sales and avoid losing online sales to Amazon and brand sites.

Sixty-one percent of survey respondents are sad about the closing of Sports Authority. Thirty-six percent don’t care. Three percent are actually happy about it. However, all of them need alternatives. Some have already found them.

Retailers need to take a hard look at InfoScout data, assess their strategies, bring their “A” game to avoid the same fate as Sports Authority, and successfully adapt to the evolving demands and behaviors of the end consumer.

InfoScout uses proprietary technology and targeted surveys to provide valuable insights into shopper behavior, purchasing decisions and industry trends. Contact us to schedule a free demo and learn how InfoScout can help you build revenue and enhance your brand.

InfoScout is one of America’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies

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3 years, 3600% growth.  As you might imagine, a lot of things have to go right to experience the kind of growth that landed InfoScout at 84th among this year’s Inc. 5000.

The first among the dominoes to align for InfoScout was a large market of consumer goods and retailers, distraught by a lack of innovation among the incumbent consumer panel providers for nearly 30 years.  These clients already knew that there had to be a better way to understand the drivers of change in retail sales and market share, and they were just waiting for a disruptive start-up like InfoScout to come along.

Second, was a sea-change of technological advancements including more powerful smartphones, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, and machine learning – all of which were necessary for InfoScout’s approach to work.

Next, we had to assemble an engineering team capable of harnessing all of these technologies to solve a seemingly endless series of challenges in a unified way. My CTO and co-founder, Jon Brelig, built a team that would engineer the diverse components necessary for success, including a portfolio of consumer mobile apps, a scalable transcription pipeline, and a SaaS analytics platform to derive insights from the data. And what better place to build this team than San Francisco – the epicenter of tech innovation.

Fortunately, key leaders at Procter & Gamble and Unilever were willing to bet on our nascent technology back in 2012 – before we’d even launched our first product – or we wouldn’t have been eligible for the 2016 Inc. 5000 list.  We must have done something right, because in every year since, our growth has been fueled more through deeper relationships with existing customers than by adding new clients.  The tremendous revenue growth we’ve seen comes entirely from our customers – a fact we don’t take lightly, as it only raises the bar in terms of the value we must deliver in exchange.

To rise to that occasion, we’ve recently benefitted from a series of partnerships that enable us to deliver new ways of measuring the true incrementality and ROI of advertising campaigns, retail promotions, new product launches, and brand building. With their help we hope to finally render this adage irrelevant among consumer brands: “I know that 50% of my marketing is working – I just don’t know which half.”

Finally, for all of the amazing technology behind InfoScout, we know that we could not achieve nor continue this growth without a great team of people who continuously find clever solutions to complex problems, who focus on their collective impact, and who strive to delight our customers in every interaction. Thank you, Team InfoScout!

(P.S. – Special thanks to Ajay Agarwal and Indy Guha of Bain Capital Ventures, David Frankel of Founder Collective, and Andre Gharakhanian of Silicon Legal Strategy.  You’ve been great partners at every step along the way.)