Christmas in July: A Holiday Guide for Cross-Channel Retailers
It’s that time of year again: the holiday rush. Well, at least all the planning that comes with the holidays. If you’re like most cross-channel retailers, the next five months are probably the busiest time of the year for you.
As expected, there’s much anticipation about this year’s holidays following last year’s banner holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers rang up their best holiday season in six years in 2010, with sales up 5.7 percent over 2009.
Last year’s e-commerce sales increased over 2009 even more dramatically. According to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse eCommerce Index, which monitors spending across the entire spectrum of online transactions, e-commerce sales in 2010 rose a healthy 15.4 percent to $36.4 billion. Despite the fact that consumer spending has slowed recently thanks to rising gas prices and a weak labor market that’s taken some steam out of the economic recovery, there’s no denying that retailers are gearing up for the busy holiday season.
In that spirit, the staff of Retail Online Integration has put together a 2011 holiday guide with everything you need to know about social media marketing and inventory and fulfillment best practices this season.
Check out our first feature, Social(izing) During the Holidays, where ROI Senior Editor Joe Keenan discusses how large (RadioShack) and small (Kembrel) retailers are incorporating social media into their holiday marketing plans. You’ll learn how RadioSchack experimented with a promotion centered around social network foursquare during last year’s holiday season. The electronics retailer’s first go-round with a social media holiday promotion was such a success that it’s busy planning follow-up campaigns for this year.
Then be sure to read Curt Barry’s article, Are You Ready for Holiday 2011? Barry, a cross-channel retail fulfillment and inventory planning expert, shares important nuggets such as the following: ensure your marketing and inventory planning forecasts are in sync on a weekly basis; develop companywide planning calendars and projections for all promotions in all channels — catalog, online, email, retail stores, mobile, display ads; and have a plan in place to attract consumers to spend their Christmas gift cards. — Melissa Campanelli