Omni-Channel Strategies Emerge as Big Holiday Shopping Trend
Retailers turn to integrated mobile approach to win salesOctober 22, 2013 By Jeff O'Heir
One of the most important trends the CE industry will have to face this holiday shopping season is the increase in retailers' omni-channel strategies: the seamless integration of in-store, online and mobile initiatives that allow consumers to buy products wherever, whenever and with whatever payment option they choose.
"Retailers and marketers will increase their push over mobile devices," Shawn DuBruvac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research said during the 2013 Holiday Sales and Forecast presentation at the CEA Industry Forum Tuesday in Los Angeles. "They're really focused on the omni-channel approach."
The industry will see a big drive by the larger retailers this holiday season to push flash, last minute and other special sales to their customers' mobile phones. Mobile sales are expected to increase about 15 percent this holiday season to account for $8.4 billion in sales. That number will only increase as consumers become more comfortable using their smartphones and tablets to buy goods and services.
"Consumers are starting to engage with omni-channel strategies," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. "The focus on omni-channel is incredibly important. It's not about in-store vs. online. Bricks, clicks and mobile have to be aligned."
Those omni-channel strategies pose big challenges for smaller retailers who have yet to develop an all-encompassing sales and marketing initiative. But just because they're smaller, does not mean they can't copy different elements of omni-channel strategies executed by some of the bigger players, industry experts have said. Smaller retailers are advised to develop their strategy one step at a time (the same way the big boys have done it) to remain competitive.
Manufacturers also have to prepare for the increase in mobile sales since many consumers will be clicking through the retailer's message to research or view the product on a manufacturer's site, Koenig said. The site should be optimized - the right messages, related products, etc. - to leverage the extra traffic.