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NRF Top Ten

Are You Ready for the Tablet Shopper?

We all understand how critical the holiday shopping season is to the retail industry, especially against an uncertain economic backdrop and wavering consumer confidence. In recent weeks, however, we’ve noticed several glimmers of optimism – improved job numbers, positive economic indicators and housing reports – which we hope signal a return of good cheer for both retailers and shoppers.

There is already good news to share. The National Retail Federation (NRF) has estimated that holiday sales will rise 2.8 percent this year to about $466 billion and that the average person plans to do 36 percent of their holiday shopping online. Shop.org’s eHoliday survey found that nearly seven in ten online retailers expect sales to grow at least 15 percent this holiday season.

Last week NRF published its Top Ten Holiday Trends for 2011 blog post summarizing key shopping behaviors that retailers will need to be prepared for this season in order to capture their share of Q4 revenues. You can read the full NRF post here, but we wanted to highlight the following three trends:

Trend #2: “There is no question that the multichannel shopper presents the biggest opportunity for retailers.” We agree! Shoppers are increasingly a hybrid crowd. They’ll be researching and shopping online, or researching online and shopping in-store. Or researching in-store and then shopping online. You get the picture. This year, the definition of online shopping has expanded even further as more consumers are shopping via their tablets, smartphones and even social sites like Facebook. To be ready for all these touch-points, retailers not only need a strong website, but also must optimize content for each device and channel in an integrated and consistent way.

Trend #6: According to NRF, “six in ten holiday shoppers have set money aside to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves this season.” This spells opportunity for fuller shopping carts, but how to capture that opportunity? Creating rich shopping experiences that inspire browsing and discovery is essential and will motivate a shopper to add a couple of unplanned-for, extra items into their basket.

Trend #10: Tablet shopping is this holiday season’s biggest opportunity. Yes, smartphones play a role in mobile shopping but only a small number of shoppers will actually make purchases from their phones, says NRF. Conversely, 70 percent of tablet owners say they’ll use their device for holiday shopping “at home on their couch in front of the TV.” How will retailers take advantage of this trend? Many have already created commerce-enabled catalogs that draw shoppers in and make browsing compelling and natural. Check out Neiman Marcus and Celebrating Home’s catalogs, for inspiration.

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. Are you ready for the tablet shopper?

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