Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2014 economic forecast, as detailed in a press release. In the forecast, the NRF predicted an increase in industry retail sales of 4.1 percent, including auto parts, discount, department, grocery, and specialty stores. In addition, the NRF expected online sales to grow 9 to 12 percent in 2014. However, according to a more recent article from CNBC, that forecast has been lowered to 3.6 percent by the NRF as a result of slower-than-expected growth during the first half of the year.
Consumer Confidence Provides Hope
Citing higher consumer confidence as a reason to be optimistic, the CNBC article went on further to blame price sensitivity and the purchase of big-ticket items for helping to reduce the discretionary dollars of consumers. This is especially true among lower income families. The reassessment of the NRF statistics was attributed in part to severe weather hampering sales during the first part of 2014. But sales are expected to grow significantly over the remaining five months of the year.
According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “Measured improvements in economic growth combined with positive expectations for continued consumer spending will put the retail industry in a relatively good place in 2014.”
With the 2014 back-to-school shopping season under way, experts expect a 3 percent rise in this year’s sales over 2013. Good, but not great, according to the NRF. Looking forward to the holiday season, Shay expects the rest of the year to be highly promotional.
Customer Relation Management
According to Gartner, a world leader in information technology research, one way companies enhance their customers’ digital experience is through CRM, which helps companies manage their interaction between current and future customers. VARs can take advantage of this need by providing products and services geared toward giving clients a better overall experience, with the most popular investments including mobility, social media, and Web analytics.
With revenue in this area expected to reach around $24 billion in 2014, VARs can take advantage of this growth to offer customers technology to help them satisfy the needs of their own clients.