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Will the Internet Sales Tax Bill Help or Hurt the Small Business Retailer?

585040_business_buttonsPresident Obama on Monday, said that the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online retailers to collect sales tax, “will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies.”

Far be it for me to disagree with the President, but I don’t see it.

Let’s take this step-by-step. Brick and mortar stores say they’re going out of business because people are choosing to buy online instead of in their store. I believe this is true. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Amazon helped put Borders out of business.

91% of Moms Use Social Media Regularly: If Family Isn’t In, They’re Out

1161775_proud_motherIf you’re reading this, you probably already know that moms spend a lot of time on social media. But did you know that activity has increased by 20% in just three years.

According to BabyCenter’s 2013 Social Mom Report, 91% of moms now check-in with a social media network on a regular basis. Social media is such an important key to staying in touch that 22% of moms said “if friends or family don’t participate in social media, they are not as much a part of their lives.”

Wow, cold. But I have to admit, I know more about my two siblings who post regularly to Facebook than the one that doesn’t. (Not proud of that fact, but I’m being honest here.)

iPhone Users Do More Virtual Shopping Than Android Users

ebay appIt’s no secret that I’m an iPhone fan and I often get a lot of flack from commenters regarding my obvious bias. But I can’t help it when the numbers simply go my way. Like this set of numbers from media and marketing research firm Arbitron:

A greater percentage of iPhone users (67.5 percent) use mobile apps for commerce compared to Android users (43.9 percent).

iPhone users went on an average of 35 virtual shopping trips in a month, while Android users only went shopping 29.5 times.

In addition, iPhone users spent more time using mobile commerce apps (105.3 minutes/month vs. 87.6 minutes/month).

What Are Teens Spending Most of Their Money On? Surprise, It’s Not Games

The folks at Piper Jaffray are a very brave lot. They put themselves in close proximity with 5,200 teens (average age of 16.3 years) in order to quantify their spending habits. They did this, so marketers like you could have a better understanding of how teenagers think without having to actually get close to one. You can thank them later. But right now, let’s take a look at what they got.

The survey is called the 25th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” project and it begins with an overview of teen spending by category.

teen spending

Incredibly, most of their money goes to fashion. Upper-income teens said they’re spending a little less but plan to spend more in the near future. Maybe they’re waiting for the new spring fashions to land in stores. Average-income teens are spending a little more than usual and I don’t even have a guess as to why.

Large Portion of Shoppers Say In-Store WiFi Influences Where They Shop

jiwire public wifiOver the weekend, my husband and I pulled into a shopping center to get lunch. We had a choice of two places and I chose the one that had WiFi.

Yikes. When did I become that person? You know, the one who sits at a restaurant table with cell phone in hand, texting and checking email between courses.

I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. According to a new study by JiWire, mobile usage on public WiFi has increased 53% in the last 12 months.

Looking specifically at stores with WiFi, almost 80% of people said that the availability of in-store WiFi influenced where they shop.

Girl Scouts Shut Down Reality Star (?) For Selling Cookies Online

girl-scouts-cookies-vintage-photosShocking news. The Girl Scouts slapped down reality star Honey Boo Boo for selling cookies online!

Incredibly, this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned the low brow, precocious pageant princess on Marketing Pilgrim, but I believe it’s the first time I wrote a piece based on a tip from TMZ. For that, I apologize, but I think there’s something worth discussing here.

The story goes like this: little Alana Thompson (aka Honey Boo Boo), posted a banner on her official Facebook page offering to sell autographed boxes of Girl Scout cookies by mail.

Alana is not a Girl Scout. She was selling the cookies on behalf of a friend and the instructions clearly stated that money orders were to be made out to the troop. She was doing a good deed but the Girl Scouts made her stop.

Warning: Using a Mobile Phone While Shopping Leads to Unplanned Purchases

ipsos reason cloudA new IAB study offers more proof that offline retailers needn’t fear the mobile shopper. Sure, they may be using their phone to see if they can find a better price online, but one third of those showroomers made an in-store purchase anyway.

The new report, which was compiled by IpsosMediaCT, doesn’t deny the fact that mobile encourages online shopping, it does reveal a few bright spots for offline retailers.

First off, let’s be clear about the numbers. Only 31% of consumers use a mobile device while shopping in a store. I say “only” because that means that the majority of consumers who walk through your door are going to follow traditional shopping behaviors.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore the wants and needs of the mobile shopper, but it’s good to have perspective.