2011 Cross-Channel Trends: Clear Skies Ahead: Recovery and Growth Forecasted for 2011
As we ring in a new year, many retailers are wondering what's in store for 2011. With an economy that's still bouncing back from the Great Recession, it's hard to predict the future (yet we're going to try anyway). For many retailers, 2010 proved to be a year of recovery. They're hoping to continue down that path again this year. To help you get a feel for what lies ahead, Retail Online Integration surveyed leaders in the cross-channel and e-commerce retail space in the fall of last year to get their predictions for 2011. Here's what we learned.
A Positive Outlook
"We expect our business to continue the recovery that began mid-2010," said Spencer Chesman, president and CEO of igourmet, an online retailer of gourmet gifts, imported cheeses and specialty foods, adding that he hopes to see top-line results approach prerecession levels by the fourth quarter of 2011.
Richard Sexton, president of Carolina Rustica, a cross-channel retailer specializing in handcrafted iron and wood furniture, echoed Chesman's sentiments. "We're finishing up this year at about 30 percent over last year, and expect to see gains next year of about 20 percent to 30 percent."
Companies like igourmet and Carolina Rustica are increasingly turning to the web to continue the success and growth they enjoyed in 2010. Enhancing the user experience, leveraging social media and establishing an even better online presence were among the common themes the survey respondents hit on.
"We've really changed the way we think about our website," said Scott Drayer, director of marketing and business development at Paul Fredrick, a cross-channel men's clothing retailer. "We've placed a great deal of focus on what we can do to produce a better on-site experience for the customer.
"We've seen quite a bit of change in our customers' channel preferences and shopping behaviors over the past 18 months to 24 months, so the site, the user experience and the conversion of browsers to buyers is even more important to us than it had been previously."