The "Bank of Opportunity" is giving its customers yet another opportunity to save money during the recession. Bank of America on Tuesday officially introduced Add It Up, a program that offers its online customers cash back when purchasing from over 270 Web retailers.
Brand owners face a "new world order" in which their customers have redefined notions of value and are placing different demands on the products they buy, a study has argued. The Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey of 12,057 people in 14 nations, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and US. It found that while many shoppers thought there was room for optimism in 2010, overall anxiety levels were considerably higher than in the spring of 2007, before the recession had begun to bite.
Welcome to...the Roaring Teens? More than a few investors I've spoken to recently think that because consumption appears to be skyrocketing upwards again, all's well that end's well. And on the basis of that conclusion, they're ready to pump capital back into the same old industrial era assets and businesses. Would that it were so. A slightly deeper logic suggests a very different conclusion.
While much has been made of America's newfound thriftiness, a new study suggests that shoppers are less focused on price than most marketers think. "Marketers are very focused on the word value, but have very little sense of what that actually means to consumers," says Jarrett Paschel, VP at The Hartman Group, tells Marketing Daily. "Everyone assumes it must be something about the way consumers are trying to save money. But that doesn't mean we've entered a new era of frugality."
The Kroger Co. realized nearly a decade ago that to survive it had to put the customer first, and permanently. That meant larger stores with more products at cheaper prices. It meant cleaner aisles and shorter lines. It meant $4 generic prescriptions, organic food selections, Murray's Cheese counters and a 3-cent reward for using a reusable shopping bag. It meant donating food to local food pantries, launching breast cancer awareness campaigns using local women, giving away its Deluxe ice cream to loyal Twitter followers. "We told our shareholders our intention is to save money in places that won't matter as much to the customer, so we can pass on savings to the customer," Kroger CEO David Dillon told a packed Music Hall Ballroom crowd attending the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's annual luncheon Wednesday.
Heather Hernandez walked into a supermarket with a stack of coupons last month and walked out with $160 worth of groceries, for which she paid $30. “With the economy right now everyone wants to make their dollars go further,” said Ms. Hernandez, a stay-at-home mother in Houston who clips and files coupons with the meticulousness of an accountant. “I see all kinds of people using coupons. I see teenagers using coupons. I see grandfathers using coupons.” It may be the digital age, but when it comes to pinching pennies, most consumers are opting for a method that is well over a 100 years old: the paper coupon.
American Express is rolling out a major new campaign for its charge card that urges consumers to take responsibility for their spending. The tagline: "Don't Take Changes. Take Charge." The ad campaign broke Tuesday with full-page print ads in major newspapers. It is the first for its basic charge card since 2002. The print ads, part of a campaign that will include TV commercials and radio promotions, features a wallet with a sad face, until you turn the ad upside down. "Why welcome risk into your life?" asks one print ad. "The Charge Card can make a big difference," the ad says.
With their jobs less secure, their houses worth less and their stock-market portfolios shrunken, Americans are saving more now. But will they still be thrifty when the recession ends? No one will know for sure for years, but there's good reason to believe Americans will be saving more in the next decade than they did in the last one.