Retail IT News for VARs —September 24, 2013
By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor
Business Solutions searched recent headlines for news of interest to VARs serving clients in the retail market.
August Retail And Food Service Sales Up Only 0.2 Percent
According to the National Retail Foundation, retail sales (not including automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.1 percent in August. Total retail and food service sales for August increased 0.2 percent and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year. NRF President Matthew Shay claims that while sales are increasing incrementally, they are not increasing enough to stimulate retailer and consumer confidence. According to Econoday, Inc., total retail sales were expected to rise 0.5 percent.
Holiday Retail E-Commerce Sales Projected To Top Last Year’s
eMarketer expects that retail e-commerce sales for holiday months (November and December) will increase by 15 percent, reaching $61.8 billion. While retail e-commerce sales for last year also increased by 15 percent, total sales only reached $53.7 billion. In addition, eMarketer claims that mobile ecommerce sales will increase 16 percent for 2013, up from their previous prediction of 15 percent.
D.C. Mayor Vetoes Bill To Raise Retail Wages
The New York Times reports that Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey vetoed a bill that would require large retailers to increase minimum wage to $12.50/hour. Proponents of the bill believed large companies like Wal-Mart could afford to raise pay for low-wage workers. Those opposed to the bill believed it would single out certain businesses and cripple economic development. Grey declared the bill a “job-killer” after large retailers claimed they would not expand to the D.C. area should the bill become law. The bill would have affected all retailers with at least $1 billion in annual sales and nonunionized work forces.
Retail Chains Behind In Omni-Channel Retailing
Phil Wahba for Reuters claims that, while omni-channel retailing is promising, the organization and cost required is keeping a majority of retailers from doing it well. Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer for ShopRunner, gives the retail sector a C minus grade, claiming that few chains have achieved the potential of omni-channel shopping. Wahba states that online retail sales account for only 7 percent of total retail sales, leaving room for retailers to continue merging stores and e-commerce.
Retail IT Talking Points
Erin Mulligan Nelson for Ad Age claims that using social networks as marketing strategies for Millennials will not be enough. In order to appeal to the Millennial Generation that “wants to be heard,” brands must make it easy for Millennials to share their opinions on the brand. Similarly, because Millennials rely on strangers’ experiences and opinions when making purchasing decisions, brands should encourage all other consumers to share their opinions.
David Pearson for The Guardian argues that brands can still communicate their brand identity and promote sales without lowering prices. He claims that lowering prices can harm a consumer’s perception of a brand and therefore, is a short-term solution to encourage sales in a slow economy.
Ki Mae Heussner for GigaOM reports that, according to a new study by Columbia Business School, mobile phones can improve the odds of in-store purchases. While retailers fear consumers will use brick-and-mortar stores as a “showroom” and buy products online, many shoppers use their phones to check reviews and product information. Fifty percent of shoppers claim that learning more about the product and reading reviews online promote in-store buys.