Tag Archives: online polling

The Future of Shopping?

the futureWhen I think of “Future Shopping,” I think of George Jetson trying to give his wife a twenty, but she takes the whole wallet instead! Anyhoozle, there’s an article in the Wall Street Journal on the future of shopping entitled, oddly enough, The Future of Shopping. The basic nugget o’ wisdom goes like this:

Thirty years down the road, much of the change in retail is going to be driven by a complete reformulation of the relationship between how we make the stuff, how we sell the stuff and how we consume the stuff.

Here are some of the predictions:

Malls become “Alls”: I can remember our mall back in the 70s had not one, but two grocery stores in it. That seems ridiculous now but, apparently, it will be coming back. Aside from clothing, food and electronics, you will see “gyms and innovative fitness centers, medical services and even schools, grocery stores and luxury spas”.

Artisanal everything: Handcrafted clothes, furniture, foods, etc.This is about the counter trend of being local. It is about a need to be different and nostalgic for things that are timeless and somehow pure.”

Highly personalized clothing: Super-precise tailored measurements for clothing made immediately by robots. They’re already doing it in Korea!

A Different Kind of “Mobile”: They’re doing this in Charleston SC already. There’s a restaurant on the well-to-do/upscale tourist part of town. They have long waits, so on weekends, this truck full of upscale ladies apparel/accessories parks outside the place to take advantage of the captive. (“Go ahead, honey; I’ll be in the bar.” – Me)

Are you seeing some of these already? Which ones? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Stressing Over Money

dollarPretty much everybody stresses about their personal finances to some degree. These days, it’s only natural to wonder how you would cope if you or your spouse lost a job, had a big medical expense, etc.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece out today, entitled “5 Tips for Passing a Personal-Finance Stress Test.” Here are the bullet points…

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: How much money comes and goes out each month
  • Discretionary Expenses: Which things can you cut back (gym membership) and which you can’t (your mortgage.)
  • Emergency Savings: Enough to pay 3 months of expenses at the minimum
  • Additional Income: Cutting grass? Paper route? Sell your stuff? Etc.
  • Total Assets: Everything you own, divided by monthly expenses, to see how much cushion you have

There’s more info at the original piece, so check it out!

Figuring out where you stand in your personal finances may not change any facts on the ground. You may not like the result, but it can help erase the uncertainty and maybe help you focus on solutions.

So, have YOU done an inventory like this? Did it help you focus and make some changes? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Net Neutrality and You

The new “Net Neutrality” rules were approved yesterday by the FCC. Depending on who you listen to, this is either best thing ever or the absolute end of the world. As best I can figure, these new rules prevent your internet service provider (ISP) from doing bad things A, B and C. Not that they WERE doing those things, but in case they were THINKING about doing them, now they can’t. So…Yay?

I’m not one who says “Let’s regulate all the things!!” So, I am understandably wary. But in the interest of public service – and because I earn my living mostly on the Web – I attempted to figure out what this is all supposed to mean.neutYeah, so there’s Google’s definition. In general, the idea seems to be that we will now start treating Internet service less like premium cable TV, and more like the electric or water utility companies. Again, I have never noticed my ISP excluding me from sites, or charging more for others…but your mileage may vary.

So, here are a few useful links to explain Net Neutrality. I have tried to present both sides, because CONTROVERSY. Enjoy…?

So, do you have an opinion on Net Neutrality? Will it affect you or your job? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!



Retail Customer Satisfaction Declines

shopgirlIf retailers could accurately, scientifically predict customer satisfaction…then every store would be a success! But there are so many variables. And new technologies keep changing the game every year. And, while the recent results aren’t HUGE declines,  customer satisfaction is down overall.

So, to hear that consumer retail satisfaction has declined for the first time in 4 years, is a bad sign. Basically, the old-school brick-and-mortar stores are down, and online stores are up.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveyed almost 9,000 consumers (and if you know anything about surveys, that’s a big sample!) Here’s what they learned about customer satisfaction. Do these percentages of LIKES sound familiar to you?

  • Department/Discount Store Scores: Nordstrom 86% LIKE, Dillard’s 81%, Kohl’s 80%, Target 80%
  • Supermarkets: Trader Joe’s 85%, Wegmans 85%, Publix 82%,
  • Drug Stores: Rite Aid 78%, Walgreens 77%. CVS 75%
  • Specialty Retail: Costco 84%, BJ’s Wholesale Club 81%, Sam’s Club 80%
  • Lowe’s beat Home Depot
  • Internet Retailers: Amazon, at 86% is the top of the heap

So, do these results match your shopping experience? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

December Deals 2014!

december savingsSo, are you looking for deals during December shopping season, or are you just trying to get through the month in one piece? Probably a bit of both.

Believe it or not, there’s more to December retail than Christmas shopping. So, if you’re looking to save some money, there are deals to be had. Travel is generally cheapest between now and Christmas. Thrift stores have some of their best selections right about now, between people cleaning up for holiday parties and those making last-minute donations for tax purposes. Gift cards often carry extra incentives and gimmes this time of year. Heck, even BOOZE is cheap in December!

So, in the Holiday spirit of giving, we have scouted the web for some savings links. Enjoy!

Can you think of any other good deals (or bad ones!) for December? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page – and happy shopping!

Money-saving Grocery Ideas!


First, read ‘em and weep: the average rise in food prices lately.

  • Beef: +7% (over last year’s all-time high!)
  • Pork: +7%
  • Lettuce: +34%
  • Packaged Salads: +13%

And just to rub it in, if Iraq goes down the drain, we will be looking back fondly on a $3.60 gallon of gas!

As for food, the culprits are too much rain in some places, drought in others and animal diseases, apparently. What can you do about it? Well, money blog LearnVest has some ideas, the bullet points of which I am happy present…

  1. Make Wednesday your food shopping night
  2. Stock up during deep-discount periods
  3. Forgo the packaging
  4. Know when not to shop organic
  5. Buy the whole cow. (They call it cow-pooling. That cracks me up!)
  6. DIY your produce (i.e., grow your own.)
  7. Buy in season
  8. Join community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups. (Hippie nonsense, or real money saver? YES.)
  9. Consider frozen foods
  10. Buy in bulk

As usual, lots (tons!) more information at the original piece, so do yourself a favor! How about YOU? Feeling the pinch? Are these good tips? Got any to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Retail Stores Adapt for the Future

future_retail_scenario1I just read an article entitled “Mobile Increasingly the Only Tool Used in Purchasing Decisions”, which stated that mobile is increasingly the only tool used in purchasing decisions. And I thought, “Man! The headline really nailed it!”

Does this mean that “stores” are doomed? Not necessarily.

No one thinks physical stores are going away permanently. But because of the frenetic pace of advances in technology and online shopping, the stores that remain will likely offer amenities and services that are more about experiences and less about selling a product. Think: Apple Inc.’s stores. Associated Press

What kinds of things can we look forward to? Here are some highlights, with bonus dumb commentary!

Services: Stores will offer day care, beauty, and veterinary services, and so on. Sort of like Walmart does today, but more FUTURISTIC, I guess!

Convenience: Self-checkout, drive-thru pickup of items ordered online, etc. It’s my dream that self-checkouts of the future actually work properly at least half the time, which would be a 200% improvement!

Location-based marketing: This is happening now (we talked about it a while back) but will only increase. You walk into the store, the store recognizes your mobile device, and it sends you coupons for the things you typically buy. Also, things related to the things you buy (You like makeup? How about some cotton balls?”) Which is fine. Sadly, they get greedy sometimes, and it’s “You like makeup? How about a lawn mower? Snow tires? Term life insurance?”

Further integration of mobile devices: How about picking an item off the shelf, scanning it with your mobile, and walking out of the store with it. No need for checkout, just cross the threshold, and it’s charged to your account. Maybe, but half the fun of shoplifting is setting off the alarms!

So, stores will adapt. They have to! My question is: are you seeing any of these advancements in your local brick-and-mortar? Seeing any others? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

The Wrong Way to Shop?

stock-footage-five-shopping-bags-with-letters-bags-form-the-word-sale-d-animationWalking into my local, famous big-box grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is like walking into an Old West cattle stampede combined with the Normandy invasion multiplied by eleventy-billion. Your first clue about the fun you’re about to have is that the shopping carts are all gone.

And that’s no knock against the store – these are just our shopping habits! Turns out…

The amount of money Americans spend in stores, restaurants, gas stations and online depends heavily on the day of the week. Americans tend to spend the most — an average of $76 a day — on Saturdays, followed by Fridays ($73). MarketWatch.com

If your schedule only allows you to hit the store on the weekend, then you just have to cope. But if you have some flexibility, then you may do well to shop for different items on different days. Such as:

  • Movies on Monday
  • Dining out on Tuesday
  • Groceries on Wednesday
  • Clothing on Thursday

Check out this article for further details. How about you? Have you mastered a savings-by-the-day pattern? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Prom Season Spending 2014

Recognize THAT face, Moms?
Recognize THAT face, Moms?

We’re about halfway in to Prom Season 2014. And, while the American family’s average spending peaked last year at about $1,140, a Visa survey says:

American households with teens are reining in prom spending this year. The average household will spend $978 in 2014. That’s down more than 14% from the average families spent on items including attire, limousine rental, tickets, and dinner in 2013. PracticalMoneySkills.com

Still, that’s a lot of money. Let’s take a look at some numbers!

  • Industry volume: $4 billion
  • West coast average spending: $1,125 (highest in US)
  • Midwest average spending: $835 (lowest in US)
  • Chipping in: Parents will pay 56% (down 4% from last year), Kids 44% (up 4%!)
  • Old Dad/Young Dad: Parents UNDER 40 will spend $1074, 30% MORE than parents OVER 40!
  • Divorce benefit: Single parents will pay TWICE what married parents are willing to pay!

And, of course…

  • Percentage that feels “we spend way too much”: 84%

So, what’s it like in your house? Spending more, less, the same? Are you trying to teach ancient concepts like “frugality”, or are you “making memories” – regardless of cost? (No judgement here!) Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Here are some links:

Oh, and by the way… $1150 or $978 might as well be a million dollars to some families. “Community-based programs across the country, like Cinderella’s Closet (here) or the Princess Project (princessproject.org/) offer free dresses to girls who need them. There are also plenty of places for teens to donate their gowns once prom is over (www.donatemydress.org/).” Reuters

Savings for the Month of May!

may savingsThere are unique savings to be had each month of the year. Here are some highlights for May (with bonus dumb commentary!) followed by some links. Enjoy!

  • Thrift Stores: Not going to go into my love/hate relationship with Goodwill (you’re welcome) but now is the time at this and other second-hand stores. They’re stacked to the ceiling with the stuff you got rid of during Spring Cleaning. Have fun buying back your own junk!
  • Refrigerators: Just happens to be the time of year when the new models ship to store. So last year’s gleaming, untouched side-by-side gets kicked to the curb in favor of one that looks exactly like it but costs $100 more!
  • Mother’s Day: Last month was better, but if you have waited this long, skip jewelry. AFTER Mom’s Day, buy jewelry for next year. Then, put it in your hall closet, and never see it again.
  • Memorial Day: Truly, one of the more authentic holiday sales. Real savings, instead of “30% off our already inflated prices!” Best yet, immediately after Memorial Day (act fast!) all of that red, white and blue stuff is waiting to be snapped up, to use for your 4th of July cookout! If you really want to confuse your drunk guests, make sure the banners still say “Memorial Day”!

Those are your savings highlights for May. Check out some more useful links below:

Do you have any May savings secrets to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And have a great weekend!