The soaring shares of the nation’s two big home-improvement retailers are another sign that the economy is turning around. Pent-up demand for appliances and other big-ticket purchases plus an improving housing market have spurred the financial turnaround for the two retailers. These are some of the first indications that people are spending money again.
Holiday sales were up 4.1 percent, beating expectations and providing more positive news for the economy. Combined sales of $471.5 billion in November and December beat the National Retail Federation’s forecast of 3.8 percent growth. The growth is a result of pent-up demand and confidence in the economy. That’s good news for retailers, who will be able to hire more people and open more stores.
Consumers want more — not less — communication from retailers. According to a survey from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 76 percent of respondents said retailers didn’t communicate enough with them. Retailers must be careful not to bombard customers with messages, however. Email messages should be sent weekly, not daily, and include a coupon or offer.
China could top the United States as the world’s top e-commerce market by 2015, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group. Research shows that China’s online shopping market is on target to reach $315 billion within four years. The projected growth is the result of growing household incomes and more familiarity with e-commerce in a country with an underdeveloped retail infrastructure.
Shoppers in today’s post-recession marketplace are on a mission and that’s bad for business. They research deals, head to stores, find what they need and get out. To squeeze more money out of these “mission shoppers,” some retailers are tweaking the layout of their stores and integrating mobile technology into sales to encourage more browsing and, hopefully, impulse buying.
Go east, retailers. China is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and it’s no surprise that many retail companies are planning rapid expansion there. Any company that’s not expanding in China is going to miss the boat — and what will be the biggest retail market in the world in three to four [...]
According to Sarah Johnson, senior editor for CFO.com, a majority of retail CFOs have increased or maintained their inventory levels for the holiday season and the executives were split about which was worse: carrying too much inventory or too little. But the bottom line is, CFOs can’t be in limbo about this type of big decision.
According to the National Retail Federation, almost 70 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, up from about 64 percent last year. It’s the highest percentage in a decade, according to BIGresearch, the research team that conducted the survey. Why is this happening? Because even when the economy is bad, feel-good holidays like this typically do very well.
An increasing number of supermarket chains are ditching their self-serve checkout lanes because they say they can offer better customer service with traditional lanes. Although studies show that shoppers who like the convenience of DIY lines aren’t in the majority, experts don’t agree with the trend because some people don’t go shopping if the store doesn’t have a DIY line.
According to Reuters, 50 of 265 chain dollar stores in Arkansas won permits to sell beer that has no more than 5 percent alcohol content. Although anti-alcohol advocates are upset about the addition, retail experts say the idea is genius. The marriage of beer and dollar stores is a perfect way to increase sales. And he predicted other dollar store franchises will follow suit.
The June issue of Psychology and Marketing published research about “retail therapy,” which outlines how people cheer themselves up by spending money on “self-treats.” The article was discussed on a recent blog post by Eric Barker, author of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree and columnist for Wired Magazine. Marketing experts say it’s important for retailers to capitalize on this.
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.