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Survey: Retailers adjust for short holiday season

holiday shopping online

Retailers are optimistic about the 2019 holiday season, despite its brevity.

According to the new edition of the annual Adobe Analytics Holiday Retailer Insights survey, 61% of 403 surveyed U.S. retailers with annual revenues over $500,000 expect the holiday season to be better than 2018. However, 41% of respondents are concerned about the shorter season this year. 

In response to there being six fewer days between Black Friday and Christmas in 2019 than in 2018, three-quarters of respondents plan to start sales earlier due. Almost eight in 10 (78%) plan to increase customer communications, while 62% will send holiday-specific emails, texts, and social posts. Another 62% of respondents agree that social media influencer campaigns are becoming an important marketing channel.

More than half (55%) of respondents offer buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) services. This includes 64% of respondents with annual revenue over $10 million and 48% of respondents with annual revenue less than $10 million. Forty-eight percent of larger respondents and 45% of smaller respondents say BOPIS represents a significant portion of their sales.

Only 7% of respondents currently use voice technology as a sales tool. However, 62% re investigating or plan to use voice technology for sales in the future, while 31% don’t see value in voice. Fifty-six percent of respondents leveraging voice-enabled sales track customer usage and results.

Examining retailer views toward online holiday sales, the survey found that 94% of respondents agree having a physical presence gives a competitive edge over online-only retailers. Top concerns about online holiday sales include staying price competitive (40%), shipping on time (23%), converting visits (22%), and competing on perks such as free shipping and driving site traffic (20% each).

Other interesting statistics include:

•    56% of respondents are creating experiential shopping (mock showrooms, augmented reality, other additive elements) for the holidays.
•    66% say loyalty programs provide net benefit to their business.
•    73% say company apps are becoming an increasingly important sales driver.

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