Studies arrived last week on the benefits to local retailers from community engagement, quality beating price as a purchase driver, apparel’s continuing appeal in malls, the benefits of perks over raises for workers, the stress of online shopping and Fourth of July spending.

Local Retailers Benefit from Community-Engagement

A study from University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business finds community involvement by stores can help make customers less price-sensitive and less likely to patronize other retailers. While not a new strategy, researchers believes it’s one too many large and small retailers overlook. As retailers’ community engagement increases, the importance of the retailer’s economic value proposition, or the perceived value of products and services sold, lessens. Community engagement was also found to directly build consumer trust in, and commitment to, the retailer.

Study Says Community Involvement May Entice Consumers to Shop In-Store

Quality Tops Price

Quality is becoming more important than price to most consumers, as 53 percent rate quality is the most important factor when making purchases compared to price (38 percent) according to a report by First Insight. The report also notes that consumer expectations for discounts are falling, as an increasing proportion of consumers surveyed said department store discounts had no influence on expectations for discounts across other categories including smartphones, furniture, home appliances and home electronics.

Quality More Important to Consumers than Price as Influence of Discounts on Purchase Decisions Declines

Malls Still Preferred Over Online for Apparel

Over 60 percent of consumers are more likely to shop for apparel in a mall as opposed to through an e-commerce channel. Given the opportunity to visit multiple retailers and complete several purchases in one location (which 39 percent found valuable), as well as try on and compare clothing options, was seen as clear advantages for mall shopping over online storefronts. The survey found mall shopping also offers other advantages, including the social aspect of outings with family and friends (24 percent), convenience for quick gift purchases (20 percent), a full-day experience that may include dining and entertainment (19 percent) and the ability to compare prices and products across multiple stores (18 percent).

Valassis Research: How Malls Should Evolve to Attract Shoppers

Perks Over Pay

Four in five employees prefer benefits or perks to a pay raise, according to new statistics gathered by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. Employee perks are growing in popularity for both employees and employers. Perks are privileges granted to employees in addition to their salaries and benefits, which have little to no cash value. Forty-two percent of full-time employees reported having no employee perks at all.

Four in Five Employees Prefer Benefits or Perks to a Pay Raise

Online Shopping Stressful

More than one in 10 shoppers experience high stress levels while buying online. That’s according to the Stress Shopping report from experience analytics firm Clicktale, which examines the role of emotions in shaping consumer experiences both online and in-store. While 12 percent feel stressed when buying online, 15 percent go as far as to say they have ‘lost their temper’ when shopping online or on a mobile app.

Stress Shopping: Fifth of U.K. Consumers Find Shopping a Stressful Experience

Fourth of July Sales Impacted by Wednesday Landing

Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on food for Fourth of July cookouts and picnics next month, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics. That’s down from last year’s record $7.1 billion, as fewer people say they will turn out for the Wednesday holiday, but is still the second-highest amount in the history of the survey, and per-person spending is up.

A ‘Hump Day’ Fourth of July Slows Down Consumer Celebrations and Spending Totals

Photo courtesy Clicktale