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Mobile to Be Retailers' Ally This Holiday Season

Affluent consumers spending more dough on the go . / Credit: Affluent mobile shopper image via Shutterstock

Retailers are expecting a mobile Christmas this holiday season. New research has found that 53 percent of retailers expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of their holiday sales this year.

Eighty-one percent of the 77 retailers surveyed for the research say they will upgrade their e-commerce platforms as a way to deal with expected mobile growth.

Retailers are predicting that increases in mobile sales will help their in-store sales as well since online shoppers may be drawn to physical stores to complete their purchases. Social, media on the other hand, is not predicted to have a large impact on sales, with just 16 percent of respondents saying social will drive significantsales. 

Despite their high expectations for mobile, retailers are not sold on the overall prospects of the holiday season. Sixty percent of respondents say they expect sales growth in excess of 10 percent for this holiday season. The bulk of those sales are expected to come in late November through December, the researchers found. 

[Even Mobile Shoppers Want Real Retail Experience]

"The survey demonstrates that retailers are expecting to benefit from mobile investments made in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season," Dan Darnell, vice president of marketing and product at Baynote, a provider of customer experience solutions for retailers that conducted the research. "By using mobile as a tool to drive discovery, in-store purchases and overall customer experience, retailers will increase customer connectivity and be able to provide information and incentives that will encourage customers to complete transactions and engage with the brand post-sale."

Retailers are also expecting to rely on promotions in order to drive sales this year. Thirty percent of retailers say they will begin to offer promotions in October while an additional 40 percent say they will wait until November. The most popular promotions will be flash sales, free shipping offers and buy-one-get-one-free offers. 

Respondents also say they will try to improve their sales by improving search engine optimization and search engine marketing efforts. Overall, 46 percent of respondents expect to make investments in SEO and SEM efforts. Other retailers are also planning on improving their search abilities on their own sites.

“While retailers have expressed cautious optimism for the 2013 holiday season, that optimism hinges on the ability to drive sales through strategically timed promotions in the fourth quarter," said Lauren Freedman, president of ecommerce consultants the e-tailing group, who conducted the research with Baynote. "Retailers have made aggressive yet realistic goals for the season, and as a result, all eyes will be on bottom-line performance."

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