NRF: Mobile capabilities, web personalization top priorities
HTT Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 2/15/2012 2:11:32 PM
Washington - A recent survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation found retailers this year will continue to invest in IT and ecommerce, enhancing customer service initiatives and building on their mobile platforms
Developed with KPMG, the 10th annual "Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2011, Forecasts for 2012" surveyed 247 retail executives. Their goal is to enhance customer engagement, capture wallet share and accelerate sales growth, according to NRF.
According to the survey, 82% of retailers said customer service strategies will be their top priority in the coming year, up from 75% last year.
For the first time in the survey's decade-long history, retailers' websites or online channels eclipsed physical stores as the top channel for marketers (81% for brick-and-mortar versus 86% online). Some 85% said they will emphasize increasing online sales, up from 83% in 2011; and 38% will put more focus on bossting ecommerce sales, up from 29% in 2011.
More than half (53%) said they will focus on web personalization engines, which includes location-based services and tracking methods unique to shopping habits.
Improving their interface with handheld technologies, such as mobile point-of-sale, will be a core focus over the next 18 months. While 17% already use mobile POS technologies in their store, an additional 33 plan further POS investments.
The survey found 45% of retailers are developing widgets, gadgets or advanced links that can be incorporated into their social media pages, and another 41% are planning to develop the items over the next 18 months.
Other survey findings:
•Thirty-three percent reported increases of greater than 5% in same store sales in 2011, up from 21% in 2010. Additionally, 63% reported gross margins greater than 40 % in 2011, up from 40 % in 2010.
After years of practicing cost containment, this year more than half (52%) of respondents plan to increase their IT budgets.
Nine in 10 (91%) respondents said they will focus on leadership assessment, development and succession, up from 83% in 2011. Additionally, 52% will increase associate training, up from 39% last year.
•As the number of multichannel shoppers continues to grow, so will retailers' focus on price optimization - more than one-third (35%) of respondents will focus on solidifying their price optimization technologies over the next 18 months.
Nearly six in 10 (59%) said new customer acquisition is their top strategic priority for 2012, up from 55 % in 2011.
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- Jan 26, 2011
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