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Retailers get ready for the holiday season

by Released

Mobile technology will play a more prominent role than in years past, as retailers seek new ways to generate sales and collect strategic data, according to CBRE’s recently released U.S. retail holiday trends report.

CBRE cited an eMarketer forecast that predicts 38 percent annual growth in retail sales made through a phone or tablet in the full year of 2017, which will account for 34.5 percent of all e-commerce purchases. The majority of those sales will go to brick-and-mortar brands.

This holiday season will see enhancements and new technologies featured in retailers’ mobile apps, like in-store scanning that gives customers instant access to detailed product information and reviews, “wish lists” and customized product offers. Both retailers and landlords will leverage mobile and social media advertising heavily this year — from “photo boxes” that encourage customers to take selfies at a shopping center or in a store, to increased advertising on key social media platforms.

In addition to improving the customer experience, enhanced mobile features generate key advantages for retailers: apps that can collect key customer information on preferences and shopping habits, and then generate tailored product offerings and advertising. This allows retailers to connect directly with consumers through features like push notifications and text messages that are tailored to a shopper’s personal preferences. This strategy is called “clienteling,” and it is increasingly popular among retailers that are seeking to build brand loyalty by proactively contacting customers rather than waiting for customers to come to them. As such, expect mobile investments to rise not only during the holiday season but throughout 2018.

A rise in discounting is expected for this holiday season, as retailers seek to compete on price and win the wallets of increasingly price-sensitive consumers. Retailers in nearly all categories have faced considerable pricing pressures over the past few years, driven by several key economic and consumer trends.

The trend toward rogue retailing, highlighted in last year’s CBRE U.S. Retail Holiday Trends report, will intensify this year with retailers’ increased focus on pop-ups. Both retailers and landlords will leverage pop-ups — short-term installations either in traditional retail storefronts or nontraditional venues such as shipping containers or kiosks — with more features than ever before.

This season will see an increased emphasis on new technologies in pop-up concepts as retailers experiment with new strategies to lure the increasingly tech-savvy shopper.

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