News Feature | October 29, 2013

Retail IT News for VARs — October 29, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, contributing writer

BSM-Trending Up

In this week’s news, a survey reveals online shoppers will spend more than others this holiday season and providing free Wi-Fi has ROI for retailers.

Online Holiday Shoppers Plan To Spend More

Blog.shop.org highlights some of the key findings from its 2013 eHoliday survey. The survey reveals that consumers who plan to shop online for the holiday plan to spend 20 percent more — a net average of $884.55 — than other holiday shoppers. Self-gifting is also expected to be an important trend for online shoppers this holiday season, with consumers spending a net average of $159.73 on themselves. In order for your retail customers to keep up with competitors, digital advertising is a must. According to the first part of the survey taken in the summer, 68 percent of retailers are increasing their use of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) for the holiday. Text marketing is also on the rise, holding potential for a retailer to send opt-in subscribers special offers and increase spending and consumer loyalty.

Free, In-Store Wi-Fi Has ROI

According to a study by Acquity Group entitled “Desktop vs. Smartphone: Technology’s Impact On Omni-channel Behavior,” free, in-store-Wi-Fi is an important investment for retail outlets. In fact, 50 percent of smartphone owners say they would be more comfortable making a large purchase if they were able to research in-store. Similarly, 20 percent admit they would spend longer in the store, increasing the likeliness of more sales. Overall, the study reveals that consumers expect a store to combine a retailer’s digital and in-store elements to enhance shopping experiences. Additionally, mobile website organization is important for a consumer to have a positive smartphone experience, and 41 percent of consumers claim they’d be more willing to make a purchase via mobile should the site be optimized for mobile use.

Most Purchases Still Made In Brick And Mortar Stores

A new global study released by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney shows that consumers still make a majority of purchases in brick and mortar stores. The study entitled “Recasting the Retail Store in Today’s Omni-channel World” found that 61 percent of customers still shop in physical stores. Online shopping was the second highest category of shoppers with 31 percent, followed by catalog (4 percent), and mobile (4 percent). While Amazon and other online retailers are leaders in book, CD, and movie sales, brick-and mortar outlets are still necessary for cosmetics, apparel, grocery, and office supply sales. The report states that retailers must integrate operations across channels and address channel barriers.

Internet Ad Revenues Achieve Historic High

New research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reveals that Internet ad revenues have reached $20.1 billion, an 18 percent increase from last year’s first half ad revenues of $17 billion. According to IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg, mobile and digital video are on the rise and are an important variable in brand-building. Mobile revenue reached $3 billion the first half of 2013, a growth of 145 percent from the same period last year. Similarly, digital video earned $1.3 billion, a 24 percent increase from $1.1 billion the first half of 2012. Display related revenues accounted for 30 percent of the period’s revenue, totaling $6.1 billion.

IT Retail Talking Points

Elyse Dupré, reporter for Direct Marketing News, shares insights from Macy’s, Twitter, and U.S. Bank representatives on how to provide relevant experiences for multichannel customers.

Fiona Swerdlow for blog.shop.org provides a list of five suggestions in order to help retailers establish more successful holiday “gift idea centers” or gift guides for consumers. Swerdlow cites research from Experian Marketing’s retail survey revealing that emails featuring gift guides had a 48 percent higher transaction rate compared to the previous year’s promotional mailings. Suggestions include using user-generated content to create authentic gift guides and relying heavily on images. She claims providing opportunities for visitors to interact with visuals as they would on a social network like Pinterest or Facebook can increase a gift guide’s popularity and encourage more sales.

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