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Retailers Plan to Spend More, Make More This Holiday Season

November 9th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

U.S. retailers have high hopes for the upcoming holiday shopping season, and are spending accordingly on their marketing programs to make sure they grab their share. According to a new survey from Retail Systems Research and Bronto Software, more than 20 percent of U.S. retailers say they plan to significantly increase their spending on mobile, social or email marketing channels this year. An additional 22 percent will slightly increase their marketing budgets.

Overall, retailers are very optimistic about the coming holiday, with 68 percent projecting their sales to increase compared to last year. Of those, almost one-fourth believe that their sales will increase by over 50 percent.

Email, mobile and social media marketing channels are all top concerns for retailers this year, with a full 20 percent of respondents planning to allocate more than half of this year’s holiday marketing budget to one or more of these channels. However, out of the three, email is by far the most important for retailers, with a whopping 87 percent using it and more than 50 percent saying they will send more marketing emails this year than they did in 2011.

To prepare for this massive email marketing push, retailers have been spending money on:

  • Subscriber acquisition (46 percent)
  • Automated/triggered messages (43 percent)
  • Personalization (36 percent)
  • Segmentation (21 percent)

Other areas where retailers have invested in the past year to improve their service and operations include:

  • New email service provider (50 percent)
  • Mobile applications (49 percent)
  • New ecommerce platform (46 percent)
  • Mobile website optimization (43 percent)

“While email is a more established channel and has inherent technologic advantages for communicating with consumers, marketers are getting ready to use mobile and social to break out of the pack,” said Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto Software, in announcing the results.

Free shipping is the main promotional tool that retailers will use this holiday season; all of the companies surveyed say they will offer some form of free shipping. How will ecommerce retailers lure customers back to abandoned shopping carts? Some 43 percent say they will use an email message offering free shipping, and 35 percent will use percentage-off or dollar-off emails.

Although this survey focused on large retailers, knowing what tactics the “big guys” are planning for the holidays can help you determine your own business’s marketing strategy. How will you beat the giants this holiday shopping season?

Image by Flickr user ccarlstead (Creative Commons)


The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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