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Deloitte Says Non-Stores Will Rule This Holiday Season

A 2% increase in holiday sales may not sound like much, but with unemployment still running rampant through the US, it’s good news for retailers. Financial consultants Deloitte, are joining those that went before them saying that there will be an increase in spending this year and that much of it will be due to the online sector.

Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist says,

“Should consumers receive good tidings later this season in the way of falling energy prices or additional stock market gains, they may be able to lend retailers a bit more holiday cheer. However, given the unsteady pace of economic recovery, retailers should expect only a small uptick in holiday sales this year.”

For Those Who Abandon Shopping Carts

Tell the truth. Have you abandoned a shopping cart this week? I’m not talking about the people who leave actual carts in the middle of the parking lot when there’s a corral two feet away. (Though they annoy me, too.) I’m talking about the 70% of shoppers who load items into a virtual cart on a website only to walk away without buying anything.

We all do it. Ironically, I was going to do it today simply to see if the online store I was buying from would offer me an incentive to come back and finish. I decided not to count on it and it’s a good thing. According to an article on eMarketer, only 35% of marketers send out a remarketing email to people who showed an interest but didn’t follow through. Odds are the small site I was buying from wasn’t part of that 35% but they might be in the future.

New Report: Making the Most of Transactional Emails

According to a new Experian Marketing Services report, transactional emails that include relevant and related products and services have 20%  higher transaction rates than those without.

Blown away, aren’t you? Okay, probably not. It’s no big marketing secret that suggestive selling and cross-promotions work, so why doesn’t everybody do it?

Let’s go back to basics. A transactional email is one that a customer expects. Could be an order confirmation, a shipping notice or information on returns and exchanges. Experian analyzed more than 1,800 emails of this type that were sent through their CheetahMail system and found that more than 100% of the time (how is that possible?) these emails are opened by the recipient. You won’t find anywhere near that kind of open rate on bulk emails.

Edible Social Media Marketing

Hungry? Check Twitter and you’re sure to find some suggestions that will satisfy both your tummy and your need to share information online. But among all the discounts and Foursquare check-ins, there’s one company that has made social media an integral part of their dining concept. It’s called 4food and it’s giving all new meaning to the phrase “have it your way.”

4food serves hamburgers with a healthy twist. They have one shop in Manhattan but they’re getting press from all over thanks to their innovative concept. Instead of offering a set menu, the customer is asked to create their own special burger by mixing and matching ingredients from a long list. You can give your order to a waiter, the old fashioned way. Or you can sit down to an iPad (which is bolted to the table) and take your time developing your masterpiece. Then, you can surf the web free of charge while you wait for your creation to arrive.

Men Put on the Dad Lens When Buying for the Family

Everyone knows how important it is to market to moms, but what about dads? A survey by the newly formed Dad Central Consulting (an off-shoot of Mom Central Consulting) says that  92% of dads put on their special “Dad Lens” when shopping for the family.

What this means is that they use a different set of criteria when choosing items such as groceries, cars and home entertainment, than they used before they had kids. For marketers, this is a significant piece of information. Now, instead of marketing a car to men for its good looks and speed, this survey would suggest you go with safety and room to grow.

The survey also found that 77% of dad said being a parent significantly influenced their decisions and 82% said being a dad influenced who they trusted when seeking advice.

Mobile and Online Deals Expected to Drive Holiday Sales Dollars

In a recent survey about holiday shopping, 64% of the people said they’ll be spending less on everyone this holiday season, so that means marketers will have to work a little harder to make sure it’s their company that gets the cash and not their competitor. The trick is paying attention to how and why people are spending and customizing your marketing efforts to match.

eMarketer has a nifty new report called, “Online Holiday Shopping Preview: What Retailers Need to Know,” that can help, but here are a few of the basics. 42.7% of the people surveyed said they would only buy gifts that were on sale and 36% said they’d be doing more comparison shopping before forking over the cash.

Is There Any Room in Retail for the Small Business?

At least once a week, my husband laments the loss of a mom & pop record store we had near our home. They carried mostly used albums and rock and roll memorabilia and a visit there was like hunting for treasure on the beach. If we go to eBay, we can find all those same albums and more but it simply isn’t the same as flipping through stacks of worn cardboard and finding a gem you didn’t even know existed.

It’s a sad fact that the small business is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. comScore is reporting that small business is down 5.6% over last year with those dollars going to the big box retailers we drive by every day. Usually we blame it on the economy, but the big boys are seeing a rise in profits, so why aren’t the mom and pop stores seeing it, too?