Fueled by rising gas prices and a slow economy, more consumers are shopping near work or on their commute route, according to recent research. In the August 2008 Consumer Intentions and Action survey from BIGresearch, 57.2 percent of respondents indicated they will be driving less because of gas prices. In addition, 54.4 percent said they would be taking “fewer shopping trips.”
By targeting “commute route shoppers,” one grocery chain recorded its strongest promotion results to date, according to Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, the promotion provider. The grocery chain’s coupon redemption exceeded 20 percent in a typical four- to eight-week promotion period. “I would have estimated a low single digit response and was shocked,” notes Molnar.
WorkPlace Media, in business for more than 20 years, has traditionally targeted the restaurant/foodservice industry with its workplace promotion solutions, but has recently begun to focus on other types of retail, including grocery and convenience stores. Some of its most well-known clients include Sheetz, Kmart, Lenscrafters and McDonalds.
The results of WorkPlace Media’s promotions are impressive. In the past year, grocery redemption averaged 11.3 percent, other retail/non-grocery averaged 8.06 percent, and all programs (including restaurants and CPG) averaged 8.99 percent, Molnar reports.
To get their errands and chores done, many consumers are combining their daily drive to and from work with stops for shopping, more than ever. “Historically the working consumer spends 60 percent of his or her waking hours at work or commuting to and from,” notes Molnar. “They are efficient in their shopping patterns, but even more so with the advent of high fuel costs.”
Commuters are taking care of a number of different types of errands during their drive to and from work, according to BIGresearch, in its At-Work Consumer Media & Shopping Behavior survey from December 2007:
• 74 percent dine out during or to and from work
• 72 percent purchase groceries and other food and beverages
• 56 percent are stopping to purchase medicines, vitamins and supplements
• 49 percent complete shores such as picking up dry-cleaning and purchasing new eyewear
• 35 percent get their cars serviced
In addition, during work consumers often skip lunch and take care of shopping: 61 percent for apparel, 53 percent for beauty care and cosmetics, 48 percent for shoes and 24 percent for jewelry and watches.
Workers more likely to redeem
Marketing to workplace consumers has proven fruitful. Consumers who receive shopping promotions in the workplace are three times more likely to respond to those offers compared to offers received at home, says Molnar.
It’s also a win-win for the sponsoring retailers and the employers, Molnar adds. For retailers, WorkPlace Media can provide real-time consumer feedback to find out intent to purchase, in-store experience, feedback about the promotion and more. Employers are happy because they are able to provide a free benefit to their employees, “and they enjoy distributing them, usually face-to-face,” says Molnar.
At press time, WorkPlace Media maintained a network of 920 businesses which voluntarily participate in the firm’s permission base, allowing WorkPlace to reach more than 64 million consumers. “When we survey our network we typically find out that 98 percent want to receive more workplace promotions in the future,” says Molnar.
To further flesh out the reasons why the workplace consumer is growing in importance as a target market, WorkPlace Media is conducting a webinar in conjunction with the Promotion Marketing Association, on September 16, 2008 at 2:00pm EST. Visit https://www.pmalink.org/shop/aw_091608.aspx for free registration.