News & Insights

Holiday Shopping is Alive and Well

September 22, 2015

The football season has kicked off and the leaves are starting to turn. That’s right, fall is upon us. Unfortunately autumn’s beauty is fleeting, and soon we’ll be faced with the eternal darkness of winter. The good news is the holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re a retailer your holiday season probably started sometime around Memorial Day.

While Black Friday may not hold the same mystique it once did, the atmosphere around holiday shopping is no less fervent. Things are just a little more spread out. In many cased “Black Friday hours” start Thursday afternoon, before the pumpkin pie even hits the Thanksgiving table. E-commerce has shifted some focus away from in-store promotions; bloggers and social media have made it nearly impossible for retailers to keep any secrets. All of this has made this retail slugfest even more competitive.

Does this mean retailers should just give up on trying to get people into their stores – of course not. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in-store shopping still accounts for an overwhelming majority (86%) of holiday sales.

2014 Holiday Spend

Online shopping may not be taking over quite yet, but it is growing at a slightly faster rate: according to NRF data 2014 online sales grew 6.8% over 2013, while in-store sales grew 4%.

Retailers are well aware of this trend. Over half of retailers believe that brick-and-mortar-only stores will not survive in the future (CIT/Harris Poll). As a retailer, if you’re not preparing for this shift, you’re probably one of the ones that won’t make it.

The key to survival will be balancing brick-and-mortar with a solid online presence. The retailers that understand this realize that their online presence and marketing are now more important than things like merchandising or opening more stores.

A good omni-channel marketing strategy takes consumers through the entire journey, across multiple touch points. A marketer should be prepared to provide a seamless experience through websites, mobile apps, social media, and a positive in-store experience. The overall goal is to convert shoppers into buyers, no matter where that purchase takes place. The marketing message across all channels must be clear, consistent and complimentary. The online or mobile shopping experience must mirror the in-store experience. It’s not about in-store vs. online consumers. Today there are just consumers, and they’re looking for the most information and the best experience no matter where they are.

Please contact your Chicago Tribune Media Group representative to learn more about omni-channel marketing, and how it can help your business prepare for the upcoming holiday season.