Holiday Survey Preview: Alternatives to Discounts in a Challenging Year
October 24, 2011 Leave a Comment
Adding to earlier tepid forecasts for the upcoming 2011 holiday season, the National Retail Federation earlier this month predicted that holiday spending would increase 2.8% in November and December. That’s a drop from last year’s holiday sales growth of 5.6%, but still slightly above the 10-year average of 2.6%, according to the federation.
For merchants, the temptation is strong to discount steeply to overcome shoppers’ cautious spending instincts. But this tactic can cut into margins, making it especially hard for small- to -medium-sized merchants to compete against discount-oriented behemoths such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon.
Still, the Wall Street Journal reports that 48% of retailers are more optimistic about this year’s holiday sales than last year’s — partly because some are considering strategies other than nonstop price cuts to attract shoppers.
To learn which strategies promise the greatest payoff for the holiday season, register for Wednesday’s MarketLive Webinar presentation, which will review the results of MarketLive’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Shopping Survey.
An initial peek at the survey validates merchant optimism for the season. More than half of online shoppers, 56%, say they plan to spend no more than they did last year — an increase of 7 percentage points compared with last year. But the percentage of shoppers who say they plan to spend somewhat or significantly more this year has held rock steady compared to last year, at 7%, while the percentage of shoppers who plan to cut spending has dropped to 37%, compared with last year’s 44%. The data suggests the trend is moving in the right direction — toward steady growth — rather than regressing back to the radically slashed budgets of 2008 and 2009.
Additionally, the survey reveals that although consumers will spend cautiously, discounts aren’t the only way to win sales. While “saving money” remains the top reason consumers shop online, other motivations are almost as powerful — including saving time, finding unique items and skipping the madhouse crush at the mall.
Wednesday’s Webinar will translate these incentives into actionable tactics for creating holiday offers that spur sales — without breaking the bank. The survey will additional address key questions such as:
- How early do we need to start pushing promotions?
- What motivates customers to pay full price during the holiday season?
- How important will mobile be for my business this holiday season?
- Can I up my email frequency to multiple times a week without alienating customers?
- Do I need to pay attention to social networks like Facebook when it comes to holiday shopping?
- What can I do to best compete with Amazon?
The session promises to be a powerhouse of information, with MarketLive founder Ken Burke and Lauren Freeman of The e-tailing Group presenting. So mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 26, at 10 a.m. Pacific time, register now, and bring your questions and comments. We look forward to the discussion!