Retailers need to get ready for an omni channel retail world without walls. Customers expect a seamless experience between online and in-store shopping, an article on the Enterra Insights website explains. Becoming an omni channel retailer means dealing with all the complexities that a distribution network could possibly manage.
This holiday season, purchasing power lies in the palm of your hand — if you have a tablet or smartphone, that is. About two-thirds of shoppers who own handheld devices will use them to research and purchase gifts this season, according to a survey cited in an article on Mobile Commerce Daily’s website. Retailers can capitalize on this trend.
The director of multichannel development at a major British retailer gave insight into adapting to the ever-changing behaviors and wants of the modern consumer. Bazaarvoice.com summarized a few tips that were shared at a recent Shop.org Summit, including using mobile technology, taking an omnichannel approach, and trying new initiatives.
Many men regard shopping for clothes as a chore, but pair it with a 55-inch flat screen TV and a bar with whiskey, and it becomes a multibillion-dollar business. An article on the Boston Globe website highlights the evolution of menswear retail, with high-end retailers creating an un-shopping experience.
Experts forecast consumers will shop more, online sales will grow and seasonal employment will increase in the coming months. That’s according to several industry surveys cited in an article on Accessories Magazine’s website. But even with strong holiday sales expected, retailers’ success depends on understanding demand and staying well-stocked.
This year, retailers’ holiday cheer is a two-part strategy: Through hiring the right number of staff and stocking the right products, stores have learned to respond quickly in a changing economy. A survey cited in an article on CNBC.com found 14 major retailers are responding to a jollier holiday sales outlook by increasing their staff.
Halloween this year will bring in big business, particularly for specialty stores, adult costumes and decorations, says an article on the National Retail Federation’s Retail’s BIG Blog. Halloween is a recession-proof, feel-good holiday. Retailers need to stock up so they don’t run out of inventory. They need to know what the hot costumes and top trends are this year.
“Click and collect,” also known as “buy online, pick up in store,” illustrates the cross-channel capabilities gaining mainstream momentum. Cited in an article on Blog.shop.org, click and collect is a trend that’s here to stay, but there are three key things to consider when implementing the multichannel tool: execution, return policies and employee training.
Shoppers are heading back to the stores ready to shop — especially for apparel — this holiday season. A forecast cited in an article on MediaPost.com predicts mall foot traffic in November and December will climb 3.3 percent and bump actual sales 2.8 percent. Retailers will also get a boost from the calendar: there’s a 32-day holiday shopping season between Black Friday and Christmas.
As stores gear up for the holiday shopping season, retailers should also be preparing for post-holiday returns. How you handle the return process can make or break customer loyalty. An article on MultichannelMerchant.com suggests three areas for review: the in-store return policy for items bought online; the customer service during the return process; and the turnaround time to issue a store credit or refund.
This holiday season, the computer may be the best place to start the week: The fifth annual Free Shipping Day will be Monday, Dec. 17, and it’s expected to rival Cyber Monday, according to an article on InternetRetailer.com. Last year, 2,600 retailers participated on Free Shipping Day; it generated $1.072 billion in online sales, proof that free shipping can be a powerful motivator for shoppers.
Randy Misener, Editor-at-Large
Randy Misener is the Industry Executive responsible for Enterprise Retail Management solutions at Avanade. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has approximately 15,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.