holiday 2012 shopper marketing

10 Big Retail Trends from the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season

What did the 2012 holidays teach us about the current state of shoppers—and, of course, the places where they shop? Here are 10 notable trends.

holiday 2012 shopper marketing

The Expansion of Black Friday—and the Entire Season
Even though it has caused a backlash among certain consumersretailers have concluded that the formula for increasing seasonal sales totals is mostly based on increasing holiday promotions, deals, and store hours—hours that now include Thanksgiving night. Not only is it standard for stores to open by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on Turkey Day, but the holiday season now basically overlaps with the back-to-school shopping period, with promos and Christmas displays popping up in early September.

Soaring Online Sales, So-So In-Store Sales 
As projected, it’s been yet another very strong season for e-commerce. Online spending was up sharply on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday alike (increasing 17% or more compared to corresponding days in 2011), and consumers hardly tired of online shopping in the weeks that followed. During the week of “Green Monday” (second Monday in December), four separate days crossed the $1 billion mark for online sales, according to comScore, resulting in the highest-ever sales total over a five-day stretch.

Meanwhile, spending in physical stores was down nearly 2% on Black Friday, and after several sluggish weeks of sales, some experts lowered projections for holiday spending during the 2012 season.

Brick-and-Mortar and Online (Try to) Become One
If there’s one dominant trend in retail lately, it’s the utter blurring of online and offline shopping. For quite a while, shoppers have viewed the two modes of transaction as basically interchangeable. Retailers with a presence on the web and in real stores seem to have finally embraced the idea that both segments must be partners sending the same message to shoppers. In the past, it was almost as if the people running a retailer’s website had no contact with the people running the actual stores. Prices varied frequently, and often, products sold online weren’t sold in stores, and vice versa, leading to confused, frustrated shoppers. Early on, a retailer’s presence in social media might have come as a result of a few ambitious young interns, if there was a presence at all. Today, on the other hand, retailers and analysts talk nonstop about the need to combine online and offline sales efforts, with phrases like “multiscreen shopper,” “omnichannel shopping,” and “cross-platform marketing” popping up regularly.

Retailers understand that “showrooming” is commonplace, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to encourage a combined online-offline shopping experience. In fact, according to one survey, 91% of consumers wound up in a store because of something they saw online, and 77% admit to researching products while inside stores. Retailers have no choice but to embrace the “omnichannel” shopper. While they’re actively trying to lure shoppers into physical stores with deals and promotions, they’re simultaneously ramping up efforts to draw consumers to their websites. The results have boosted online sales, but because of the challenges of creating a truly unified online-offline experience, there remain instances of consumer frustration due to confusion over what is sold where, canceled orders, price variations between the web and brick-and-mortar, and more. This remains a work in progress.

More Shipping Deals—Speedy, Free, You Name It
In the same way that 30% or 40% off has become the starting point for getting shoppers’ attention during the holidays, consumers now often demand free shipping in order to consider an online purchase. Accordingly, free shipping has become almost universal during the holidays, and throughout the year really.

To meet the needs of shoppers, retailers provided free shipping as late as December 22 with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. For procrastinators or the merely impatient, sites also increased the possibilities of same-day delivery. The message being sent to shoppers is this: Any way you want to make a purchase, we’re going to help you make that purchase.

More and More “Leaked” Black Friday Ads
In the past, retailers used to vigilantly protect their Black Friday prices and ads from making their way to the public eye too early. The thinking was that if consumers saw, say, a bigtime Black Friday deal on a laptop, they sure as heck wouldn’t buy that laptop the weekend before Black Friday, when it was double the price. Lately, though, retailers seem to be embracing the idea that there’s little downside to earlier publicity—and just plain more of it—for sales. While some stores are coy about how their ads get “leaked” well in advance, many large chains are deciding to simply publicize their Black Friday prices well before Black Friday to get shoppers excited and help draw them in during before, during, and after the biggest shopping days.

Price Matching Crosses the Digital Line
During the holidays, many retailers have gotten in the habit of promising to match the officially advertised prices listed by their competitors in weakly circulars. Walmart even matches prices year-round. But traditionally, the guarantees have come with a large caveat: They’re limited only to prices offered in brick-and-mortar stores, meaning they wouldn’t match online prices, including those of the company that’s arguably become the toughest competitor in the business, Amazon. This season, though, for the first time ever, Target and Best Buy offered to match online competitor pricesPayPal and certain credit cards offered expansive price-matching services as well, giving shoppers more options than ever to assure that they wouldn’t wind up paying too much.

[via TIME]


Macy's manhattan flagship expansion, retail localization

Macy’s 197,000 square foot Broadway footprint

In its third office-space growth spurt in 24 months, the retailer Macy’s has signed a 31,700 s/f lease expansion to occupy the entire tenth floor of 1440 Broadway, Monday Properties announced on Monday.

Macy's manhattan flagship expansion, retail localization

The transaction also extends Macy’s current lease of 166,000 square feet on floors six through nine and 13, bringing the parade- and fireworks-hosting retailer’s total footprint in the building to over 197,000 square feet.

In a four-party transaction, Macy’s will expand into space originally leased to Advance Magazine Publishers, the parent company of Condé Nast, and subleased to the law firm of Skadden Arps since 2006.

Recently, the law firm had been marketing the 10th floor space for sub-sublease, according to Monday Properties, which recaptured the entire 10th floor from Skadden Arps and Advance Magazine Publishers in conjunction with the direct expansion and long-term lease renewal with Macy’s.

Scott Gottlieb and Michael Laginestra, each vice chairman of CBRE, represented Macy’s in the transaction.

Skadden Arps was represented by David Goldstein of Studley in the 10th floor buyout negotiations, while Advance Magazine Publishers handled negotiations in house. Jordan Berger of Monday Properties represented the landlord.

Macy’s is the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., with more than 800 locations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam.

[via REW Online]

Hong Kong and New York City, expensive retail, shopper marketing

Hong Kong, New York are world’s most expensive retail destinations

A report released Tuesday by CBRE Group found that Hong Kong and New York City rank number one and two as the world’s most expensive prime retail markets.

Hong Kong and New York City, expensive retail, shopper marketing

According to the company’s third quarter 2012 MarketView report, global retail prime rents remain high in key gateway markets due to strong flows of international tourists seeking luxury products. Hong Kong and New York City recorded significant rises in prime retail rents during the third quarter of 2012, while the next tier — Tokyo, Sydney and London – held steady, according to the research.

U.S. gateway markets have benefited from strong tourism demand and have also recorded significant rises in prime rents. Gains were witnessed particularly in New York City, where rents on Fifth Avenue increased 17% quarter-over-quarter. International retailers are seeking flagship store space, where consumers and tourists spend liberally on luxury goods and services. As such, demand for scarce prime space remains high.

“We are continuing to see strong demand and price velocity on the very best retail corridors in gateway cities, particularly in Manhattan, where every brand must be located in order to legitimately claim a ‘global’ identity,” said Anthony Buono, executive managing director, Americas Retail Services, CBRE. “Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Times Square and to an increasing extent, Soho and Meatpacking districts, are destinations for global shoppers. However, core rents are reaching new heights and retailers are compelled to reach new heights to acquire space.”

[via Chain Store Age]

Toys R Us, holiday 2012, shopper marketing

Toys “R” Us Rocks Around the Clock for Holiday 2012

Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will keep their doors open for 88 consecutive hours of shopping beginning 6 a.m. on Friday, December 21 through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, providing last-minute gift-givers with “all the toys, all the time.” Toys “R” Us Times Square, the retailer’s flagship store, opened its doors at 7 a.m. on Sunday, December 2, keeping them open until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve, providing New Yorkers and visitors 543 consecutive hours to shop around the clock. The retailer has also created a Facebook game rewarding customers with discounts.
Toys R Us, holiday 2012, shopper marketing
“By extending our shopping hours in the days leading up to Christmas, customers can take advantage of around-the-clock shopping at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide for all of their gift-giving needs whenever is most convenient to them,” said Troy Rice, executive vice president of stores and services for Toys “R” Us, Inc. “In addition, with fantastic deals and discounts and the best in-stock position on the hottest toys, gift-givers won’t need to shop anywhere else to get those coveted presents under the tree just in time for Santa’s arrival on Christmas morning.”
Shoppers will receive deals and discounts in-store only as well as the retailer’s Price Match Guarantee and a two-day sale from Friday, December 21 to Saturday, December 22, presenting shoppers with deeper discounts. Items purchased online by 3 p.m. on Friday, December 21 are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve.
To help shoppers earn discounts, Toys “R” Us has also partnered with Ubisoft to create Toys “R” Us Towers, a free-to-play toy store simulation game available on Facebook. The game will also be available on mobile devices in the coming months.

[via RIS News]

showrooming, retail localization, walmart, best buy

Harris Poll Shows Best Buy and Walmart are Most Showroomed

Are your stockings hung by the chimney with care?  Hope so, because the holiday shopping season has begun everywhere.  While consumers hit the shops – and the Internet – The Harris Poll has been hard at work checking on some of the top issues facing retailers and shoppers alike this holiday season.

showrooming, retail localization, walmart, best buy

Following are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,249 adults surveyed online between November 27 and 29, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

“Showrooming” and its impact on retailers

What is it?

There’s a new trend facing brick-and-mortar stores, and its industry nickname is “showrooming.”  It happens when shoppers try out a product up close in a store but then choose to purchase it online.  Over four in ten (43%) U.S. adults have showroomed, and the practice clearly affects some stores more than others.

Which stores are losing the most customers to this trend?

When those who have ever showroomed are asked to name the brick and mortar store they most frequently visit to examine a product before purchasing it online, Best Buy (24%) and Walmart (22%) are the top victims of this trend, followed by Target (9%) and, more distantly, by Home Depot (4%), Lowe’s (3%) and Barnes & Noble (3%).

  • Men (30%) are more likely to report Best Buy as their top showrooming location than women (17%).
  • The inverse is true for Walmart (18% men – 27% women) and Target (7% men – 12% women), with women more likely than men to identify each of these retailers as their most frequent showrooming stop.

And which online retailers are snapping them up?

When showroomers are asked to name the online retailer they most frequently purchase from after visiting a brick and mortar store, Amazon (57%) is the dominant response; the online mega-retailer is mentioned by the majority of showroomers, at more than a 10:1 ratio over the next strongest mentions (eBay and Walmart, at 5% each).  Other online retailers mentioned by over 1% of showroomers include Best Buy (3%), Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot (2% each).

Looking specifically at those who typically showroom at the top three brick and mortar stores:

  • 8% of Best Buy showroomers go on to purchase from Best Buy online, 71% from Amazon.
  • 11% of Walmart showroomers go on to purchase from Walmart online, 64% from Amazon.
  • 12% of Target showroomers go on to purchase from Target online, 72% from Amazon.

How much do showroomers spend?

Showroomers report spending an average of $211.80 the last time they purchased a product online after examining it in a brick and mortar store.

  • Average spending is significantly higher among those who typically visit Best Buy’s showroom ($281.50) than among those who prefer to do their in-person scouting at Walmart ($119.10) or Target ($79.30).
  • Average spending is also significantly higher among male showroomers ($269.80) than among their female counterparts ($148.70).

Making a game of it

Mimicking rankings for everyone’s favorite fall sport – football – the study also ranks retailers by their net takeaway score.  This newly created score looks at customer turnovers (percentage showrooming at the identified brick and mortar store) and recoveries (percentage that then go on to purchase from the specified website) they made as compared with competitors.  While Amazon (57) and eBay (5) both show positive scores by default – since they lack any brick and mortar presence at this time – Amazon’s dominant position is nonetheless worthy of recognition.  Best Buy (-21) and Walmart (-17) lose more shoppers to other online retailers than they are able to recover, as does Target (-7).

[via MultiChannel Merchant]

top retail stories of the year, 2012, retail localization

Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012

As readers, it’s only natural to like seeing items in lists – short, sweet, and to the point, which is why many top 10 lists were the stories you were most interested in reading on in 2012. By researching Web page views for all stories posted to the RIS Newswebsite this year, we have compiled a list of the top 10 most-read stories of 2012.
top retail stories of the year, 2012, retail localization
Listed below are the Top 10 Most-Read Stories on in 2012, including the date posted:
Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2012
1. Top 10 Retail Companies to Work For (posted Dec. 19, 2011)
2. Best of NRF 2012: Top 10 Takeaways  (posted Jan. 18, 2012)
3. Best and Worst Companies in Retail (posted Aug. 10, 2012)
4. Bottom 10 Retail Companies to Work For (posted Dec. 27, 2011)
6. 10 Retailers That Shook the World Part 2 (posted Feb. 28, 2012)
7. Top 10 Retail CEO Salaries (posted Mar. 20, 2012)
8. Talbots Closing 83 Stores in 2011 (posted Dec. 6, 2011)
Another trend noted in the top 10 list is the interest in which retailers are looking to move away from the traditional POS, moving toward mobility and the omni-channel experience. Cabela’s use of mobile apps, social media, optimizing inventory , and digital sales to become a true omni-channel retailer has rounded out the top 5, followed by Talbots store closings in eighth, JCPenney’s  use of RFID in ninth and Urban Outfitters moving completely to mobile POS in tenth.

[via RIS News]

Winter X Games 2013, Aspen, Office Depot

Office Depot to celebrate new store concept in Denver

Office Depot will celebrate the ‘Office Depot Grand Opening Street Party” on Dec. 15 in downtown Denver. The one-day action sports exhibition was created to showcase Office Depot’s new store concept and kick off the company’s commitment to being one of the sponsors of X Games Aspen 2013.

Winter X Games 2013, Aspen, Office Depot

Interactivity is one of the key features of the new Office Depot stores in Denver, including a PC Bar where people can sit down, plug in their laptop or tablet, and get to work. There is also a computer rental station, free Wi-Fi throughout the store, a recharge station, and free self-serve coffee.

[via Chain Store Age]

Retail Technology Trends for 2013, retail localization

Top 10 Retail Tech Trends for 2013

The omnichannel retail experience figures prominently in IDC Retail Insights’ Top 10 Predictions for the Retail Industry 2013. A hallmark of IDC’s offering for three decades, the annual report provides IDC’s outlook on the IT market, across industries, in the coming year.

Retail Technology Trends for 2013, retail localization

“The year 2013 will be a turning point in terms of industry momentum around delivering on the omnichannel promise,” said Robert Parker, group vice president, IDC Retail Insights. “This trend means we will be applying “new rules” to both the customer experience and supply chain execution. Technology will have a critical role.”

Here are IDC Retail Insights’ Top 10 Predictions:

  1. Omnichannel retail maturity will move from foundation to convergence, and from precision to immersion;
  2. Retailers omnichannel objectives will require platform & architecture investments;
  3. Retailers pivot merchandising and marketing on customer analytics to drive revenue and profit; relevance and reciprocity being the watchwords;
  4. Retailers will invest in customer analytics, merchandising, and marketing technologies to curate commerce and contextualize communications;
  5. The time is right to break down marketing silos;
  6. Marketing processes and infrastructures will align with the omnichannel business;
  7. Retailers will remove barriers and instead encourage the “stop start shopper;
  8. The convergence of web-based customer experience touch points to unify the customer journey;
  9. Retailers will optimize omnichannel customer service and cost by enabling trustworthy, efficient and effective supply chains; and
  10. Retailers will invest in technologies that enable visibility, visualization and virtualization.

[via Chain Store Age]

Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

66 Million Have Yet To Begin Their Holiday Shopping

Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday may have seen record-high sales this year, but 36 percent of Americans who say they plan to give gifts have yet do any holiday shopping at all, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. Of those who have begun shopping, 42 percent are either three-quarters finished or finished completely (9 percent), while 58 percent said they were no more than halfway done.

Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

The full results of the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll are available at

When asked where they’d done their holiday shopping this year more Americans said they had patronized mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target (55 percent) than shopped online for gifts (39 percent).  Thirty-two percent have shopped at department stores like Macy’s, Bullocks, Sears, and JCPenney, while 28 percent have shopped at retail chain stores like Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, or Gap.

The Consumer Reports Holiday Poll also revealed that while more Americans have shopped for holiday gifts at mass merchandisers, bargains can be found online:  28 percent who have shopped at more than one type of retailer said they’re finding the best deals online, on par with the 26 percent who found their best deals at mass merchandisers. Only 14 percent of shoppers said department stores have the best deals.

“Our poll revealed that Americans have plenty of shopping left to do and are generally enjoying the holiday season so far,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “However, they are also watching their dollars very closely and just as in years past, they’re looking for bargains.”

Americans plan to spend a median of $483 on gifts this holiday season, according to the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. But when asked if they were concerned about limiting their expenses, 81 percent of Americans said they were at least somewhat concerned, including 30 percent who are very concerned. The following is a list of things they said they plan to do differently this holiday season to save money:

  • Give less expensive gifts (55 percent)
  • Be more active in seeking out sales and discount coupons (46 percent)
  • Give gifts to fewer people (38 percent)
  • Agree on more limited gift-giving arrangements within family or group of friends (e.g., Secret Santa, gift exchange) (29 percent)
  • Limit online shopping to websites that offer free shipping (23 percent)
  • Give homemade or other creative gifts instead of store-bought gifts (21 percent)
  • Limit or cut down on holiday travel (19 percent)
  • Send holiday cards to fewer people (16 percent)

When it comes to deciding what gifts to give, 65 percent of Americans said they simply buy what the person they’re shopping for requested. Four-in-ten rely on advice from friends or family, while one in five get ideas from ads or commercials, and the same proportion consult customer or user reviews or ratings. Only 5 percent of holiday shoppers get their gift ideas from salespeople.

[via MultiChannel Merchant]


Macy's Holiday 2012 Window, shopper marketing

Macy’s to keep stores open 48 hours straight Dec. 21 through Dec. 23

Last-minute holiday shoppers will have some help from Macy’s this year, as the retailer plans keep most of its stores open 48 hours straight the weekend before Christmas, from 7 a.m. Dec. 21 through 7 a.m. on Dec. 23.

Macy's Holiday 2012 Window, shopper marketing

The 48-hour shopping marathon coincides with Macy’s final scheduled One-Day Sale of the year, which concludes at 7 a.m., Dec. 23. While the sale ends Sunday morning, 57 stores will remain open 24 hours or offer extended late hours until close on Christmas Eve.

With Thanksgiving falling on November 22, consumers this year will have a total of 32 shopping days, counting Christmas Eve, and no real excuse for last-minute shopping. But the holiday does have a way of sneaking up on some shoppers, and others simply like the adrenaline rush of a last-minute shopping marathon.

“For the first time ever, Macy’s will keep most stores open around the clock for the last weekend of holiday shopping, an expansion of our successful marathon that began at select stores in 2006,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief stores officer. “We hope to make it easy for our customers across the country to finish their shopping at any time of day or night, and with the benefit of the great deals and value they count on from our One Day Sale events.”

Macy’s began the tradition of keeping its doors open 24 hours with Macy’s Queens Center in 2006. Macy’s added additional stores in subsequent years, and last year offered customers the opportunity to shop outside regular store hours in 14 locations that were open 24 hours and in 27 locations that offered extended hours.

[via Chain Store Age]