By Karen Axelton
It may be hard to believe, but with the 2012 holiday shopping season just behind us, smart retailers are already prepping for the 2013 holiday retail rush. Shop.org and BIGInsights recently conducted a survey of retailers in which they asked them what they plan to do differently this coming holiday season. Here are the most common responses:
- Better inventory management. Retailers plan to do better in terms of planning their inventory, managing it and being better-stocked with the most popular products on hand.
- Improved online infrastructure. Online shopping was huge for holiday 2012, and that trend will only continue in 2013. No wonder that retailers are focusing on improved server capabilities, faster-loading pages and an overall better online experience for users. Shop.org notes that testing your site on multiple platforms and mobile devices is an important part of having a strong online infrastructure.
- Better marketing. Areas where retailers plan to spend in 2013 include keyword purchasing, email marketing, organic and paid search marketing efforts. Better strategic planning–of marketing channels, marketing messages and marketing spending–was a key theme among respondents seeking to avoid last-minute scrambling and changes.
- Cross-channel shopping and improved customer experience. Customers increasingly view shopping as a holistic experience where they move seamlessly from online engagement with your brand to buying online or in-store. Smart retailers are working to improve that experience at all touchpoints, and are harnessing data and analytics to understand how shoppers buy and interact with their companies both online and off. A full one-fourth of companies in the survey were planning a website redesign this year.
- Mobile commerce. Retailers are still feeling their way in the world of m-commerce, but companies are investing in areas including responsive Web design, optimizing their sites for tablet use and enabling mobile checkout. Shop.org cites another survey which found that 43 percent of retailers named tablets and mobile as among their top three initiatives for this year.
- Better customer service/fulfillment. More than 3 in 5 retailers say they will be investing in a wider range of shipping options for the coming year. Among the alternatives companies are considering: ship-to-store for in-store pickup, same-day delivery and free returns. Companies also say they want to provide better last-minute shopping options, better guarantees of Christmas delivery, and faster delivery in general.
Image by Flickr user Mike Kline (Creative Commons)Google+