Mobile expected to drive holiday sales

Retail Editor 4, August 9, 2013

San Jose, Calif. - Mobile devices will be influencing how, and what, consumers buy this holiday season. A recent study by research firm Baynote found that one in three retailers believe that mobile will drive more than 10% of holiday revenue, according to its 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey.
The study surveyed 77 U.S. retailers with annual revenue ranging from less than $20 million to more than $5 billion. It found that 60% of retailers are projecting more than 10% increase in year-over-year holiday revenue, while 38% of respondents project an 11 to 20% year-over-year increase in sales; and 22% predict an increase of 21% or more.
Overall, the majority expect a slow start to the season with increased momentum throughout late November and December. Respondents also predicted that online will continue to pull consumers from traditional brick and mortar stores, however, mobile's influence will drive renewed store interest for omni-channel retailers.
Nevertheless, retailers expect to drive significant revenue, with minimal contributions from social media, according to the study with 53% of respondents expecting mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue; 38% believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.
Social media's impact on holiday sales, which 84% of respondents see as having little or no impact on sales, is lackluster in comparison to mobile. However, retailers are putting strategically timed promotions via flash sales and social media in place. Retailers are planning to offer promotions, such as flash sales, buy-one-get-one free offers and free shipping, at selective times throughout the holiday season, and 30 percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to Oct. 1; over the 40% of retailers will wait until early November.
"We wanted to take the pulse of the retail industry as it prepares for the 2013 holiday season and gain a deeper understanding of how marketers plan to increase holiday season revenue and profitability," said Dan Darnell, vice president of marketing and product, Baynote, in a statement. "The inaugural survey provides a benchmark for retailers currently finalizing promotional strategies for the upcoming holiday season, and we hope that the findings are useful to retailers of all sizes."
In response to more mobile shopping and researching, retailers are investing more in their websites, including their e-commerce site with 46% making significant investments in SEO and SEM technology. Nearly all retailers are investing in enhanced home, category and landing pages while 77% invest in enhanced site search capabilities, and 81% of retailers have dedicated resources to upgrade e-commerce platforms in anticipation of the season.
"Retailers are serious about customer experience this year," said Darnell. "The data shows retailers recognize that next-generation e-commerce platforms with capabilities to drive a truly personalized and relevant experience will empower merchandisers to achieve increased engagement, revenue and ultimately lifetime value from improved relationships with customers."


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