National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend an average of $967 per person this holiday season. “Consumer confidence is high,” says Katherine Cullen, NRF’s director of retail and consumer insights. “People are feeling really good about the state of the economy.”
As the industry remains optimistic about the 2017 holiday season, retailers are embracing this trend. Retailers are promoting deals earlier in response to consumer behavior and increased competition from the Amazon effect.
Walmart is throwing 20,000 parties in November and December. Sears is putting their entire store on sale for the month of November and Macy’s has a Samsung pop-up store in its flagship New York City location. Virtual reality headsets are being provided for furniture shoppers and JCPenny is giving customers coupons worth up to $500 when they shop in stores on Thanksgiving Day.
Although traditional brick-and-mortar stores are operating on thinner margins competing with Amazon, many are embracing the momentum and taking advantage of their retail store footprint. “It’s very tough to develop a brand online. A physical store can be a very powerful branding tool,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Retailers and banking on the in-store customer experience and engagement model they have been building over the past couple of years with store infrastructure modernization and digital engagement investments. More than ever before, it will be easier to make purchases with mobile checkout. Consumers can expect less time in-line and increased customer service as employees are able to deliver endless aisles capabilities and receive product information in real-time.
Long gone are the days where retailers can get away with out of stock merchandise and lackluster service. This holiday season, busy consumers are putting their trust back into the store with the expectation they will receive a superior customer experience at a fraction of the cost and retailers plan to deliver.
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