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Readers Respond: It’s Vegas, Baby!

Survey of ‘favorite convention cities’ doubles down in Nevada.

BY HBSDealer Staff

What are the odds that Las Vegas would rank first in a survey attempting to find the industry’s favorite convention town? There were probably pretty good, given the city’s 21,000 conventions per year (that’s according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau).

Regardless, after more than 600 votes, Las Vegas came out on top of the latest HBSDealer survey that asked: “What’s your favorite convention town in the United States?” Here’s the percentage breakdown of votes:

Las Vegas, 26%;

Chicago, 18%;

Orlando, 16%;

Indianapolis, 11%;

New Orleans, 11%;

Other, 7%;

Dallas, 5%;

Boston, 5%;

New York, 1%.

There are no surprises among the top three cities – standard business travel destinations. But the no. 4 ranked city – Indianapolis (tied with legendary New Orleans) – might surprise business travelers, until you consider that the Circle City hosts thousands of Do it Best dealers twice a year, and it exudes Hoosier hospitality.

Also surprising: New York City – the convention city that never sleeps — garnered a mere 1% of votes. It’s likely that the 7% of respondents who selected “other” had some California city in their thoughts – San Francisco, San Diego or Los Angeles. There were no write-in votes for Newark, N.J., the official office location of HBSDealer editorial staff.

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Lowe’s assists California fire communities

Lowe’s of Chico teams with nonprofit partners to provide meals and supplies.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe’s stores in Northern California have been working to meet the needs of communities, residents, and associates who have been impacted by California wildfires.

The Lowe’s of Chico recently partnered with several of the company’s nonprofit partners to support associates and displaced community members. The event was set up in the parking lot of the store.

Community members in need were able to receive a free hot meal provided by World Central Kitchen and have access to the American Red Cross resources. The Salvation Army was also on-site providing customers and associates with donated clothing and other necessities to help get them through the period of evacuation or displacement.

Associates and customers gathered needed supplies, shared meals and even played outdoor games in the parking lot during the event.

After the event was over, Lowe’s District Manager Jason Blair reflected on the show of support from Lowe’s, local organizations and community members at the event.

“Thank you to all the businesses and people that showed up throughout the evening to support the community,” Blair said. “From the beginning of this tragedy, the efforts behind the scenes and in the aisles have assisted in getting essential items to first responders and thousands of people in the community. While there is still a lot of work to be done, it makes you proud to wear the red vest and know that Lowe’s will be there to support.”

Lowe’s said it will continue to monitor conditions in California and work to support its stores, associates and communities affected by the fires.

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Eye on Retail: It’s beginning to look like a mobile Christmas

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

More consumers kicked off their holiday shopping through mobile devices and social media.

This was according to “Shopper-First Retailing,” a study from Salesforce that reported more shoppers than ever started their holiday shopping on a phone during the Black Friday weekend. In fact, mobile traffic hovered around 70% for the majority of the week.

More shoppers also made purchases on their phones this year than any other device. Mobile order share was the highest on Thanksgiving Day at 54% compared to 49% on Black Friday, and 45% on Cyber Monday.

Social media was once again a critical component that helped drive traffic to retail sites. Facebook and Instagram alone drove 94% of all social traffic to retail sites, up slightly from 92% in 2017. As Cyber Week deals wound down, shoppers talked about gadgets, big retailers and – in a crafty surprise – Etsy, the online artisan marketplace.

The five most-talked-about retailers on social media during Cyber Week were Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, eBay and Best Buy. The five most-talked-about products during the same time-frame were Sony PlayStation, Apple iPhone, Amazon Echo, Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle.

Shoppers also stepped up their digital usage for customer service. While customer service agents viewed 10% more service cases this Cyber Monday compared to last, shoppers weren’t just picking up the phone. Calls to customer service centers saw a slight year-over-year decline, as consumers shift the way they engage with customer service by turning to digital channels like social, messaging and chat.

Preparing for this shift toward more digital shoppers, retailers also quickly ramped up discount rates on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. They stayed elevated throughout the weekend and ended with a bang on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday saw a record 31% average discount rate.

Marketers enticed shoppers with SMS and email notifications early in the week, up 159% and 26% year-over-year respectively, on Thanksgiving Day, compared to a 69% increase in SMS notifications and 23% increase in email sends on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday saw 84% of orders ship for free, impacting average order value (AOV), as shoppers did not have to to add additional items to their carts to avoid shipping costs.

“Consumers went online early, went mobile and went social this Cyber Week, driving healthy digital growth for retailers,” said Rob Garf, VP, industry strategy for retail, Salesforce. “This holiday season, shoppers responded to retailer innovation in mobile, payments and social that are enabling seamless and personalized consumer experiences — from product discovery to purchase.”

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