Retailers have pulled out the stops this holiday season, especially when it comes to experimenting with cutting-edge digital technologies. But innovation shouldn’t be reserved for the holidays — it is something that should be infused into the shopping experience all year long.
Christmas may be right around the corner, but retailers can still do a lot in the final weeks leading up to the big day by making last-minute tweaks that can impact how and where consumers shop this season. Thanks to the flexibility of the Web, e-commerce, mobile and social networking channels are rich with opportunities for retailers to lure shoppers in and keep them coming back for more.
As merchants big and small still try to figure out how to best use Facebook, a few major trends have surfaced, including some that could potentially shape the future of e-commerce.
One of the fastest-growing trends among retailers on Facebook is also the most simple: posting contests and promotions. In fact, Walmart’s Facebook site grew by 1 million “fans” in the first quarter of 2011 by running contests and offering deals.
Retailers over the years have created smartphone apps to help shoppers find stores, research products and look up reviews. Now merchants are readying for a new app trend that is expected to take the industry by storm: Paying for in-store purchases via mobile devices.
Seattle-based Starbucks is leading the way by allowing customers to check out with select handheld devices, from the Blackberry to the iPhone and iPod Touch.