Retailers should expect small gains in their 2011 sales this coming holiday season, and those gains will more likely come from non-store sales, Deloitte forecasted this week.
Deloitte’s retail and distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 billion and $877 billion, representing a 2.5% to 3% increase over last season in November through January holiday sales, excluding motor vehicles and gasoline. This growth rate is smaller than last year’s 5.9% gain.
The bulk of the forecasted gain that Deloitte expects will come from a 14% increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel, with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.
Deloitte’s forecast followed last week’s ICSC forecast that predicted about the same range.
“Double-digit growth in the non-store channel has given the industry a major boost, and retailers that put online channels to work for their physical storefronts have the advantage,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail & distribution sector leader. “The brick-and-mortar store is still central to the shopper experience. Retailers that integrate the power of the sensory experience in-store with relevant, timely information via their websites and mobile applications are well-positioned to lead the way this holiday season.”
Paul added, “As many holiday shoppers will be researching online and on their smart phones both before and during their trips to the store, retailers need to be sure their digital strategy is both flexible and focuses on a personalized experience this season. Store associates can be a critical element to any digital strategy to complete and up sell once the customer comes into the store. It’s important that they are well versed on the latest products, promotions, pricing and competitor offerings that consumers receive through online and mobile channels.”
So is your online retail store ready for the holiday shopping season?
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