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Omnichannel retailing key to holiday success

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The upcoming holiday season is projected to be a good one for the retail industry. But much of the sales growth will be a result of additional traffic on retailers’ websites rather than in their stores.

Online spending during the upcoming holiday shopping season is expected to grow 14.8%, to $124.1 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, the Web analytics division of Adobe Systems Inc. That compares to the 2.7% growth expected for brick-and-mortar stores, highlighting the ongoing switch from stores to Web ­shopping.

Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers and trillions of customer visits to U.S. retail sites, says that this year’s online sales will benefit from an extra day between Cyber Monday and Christmas.

Much of the growth of online shopping is being driven by convenience. A recent survey by the technology firm Genesys found that only 37% of Americans plan to brave the Black Friday crowds and actually visit physical stores on what has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year. A majority of the 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed said the stores would be far too busy, and 31% said the Black Friday deals on offer would “not be worth the hassle” of buying them in a physical store on that day.

Adobe Analytic’s data does suggest that the omnichannel model has the greatest appeal for holiday shoppers.

Retailers with both online and physical footprints are expected to see 28% higher conversion in their online stores when compared with retailers lacking a traditional storefront.

The report also forecasts increased numbers of consumers buying online and picking up items in-store (BOPIS) during the holiday season.

BOPIS has increased 119% since January 2018 across all retailers and over 250% for large retailers, the company’s data suggests. And a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers shows nearly half (47%) expect to browse in-store for a product they intend to buy online later. That figure jumps to 58% for Millennials.

This year’s holiday initiatives by Target and Walmart, among others, show that they understand this new reality, and are investing in ways to make the shopping experience faster and easier for all of their customers, however they choose to shop.


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