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Will It Be a Green Holiday Season for Retailers?

According to the most recent holiday survey done by the National Retail Federation, American consumers are planning on spending an average of just under $689 on holiday-related items, a slightly higher amount than the average from last holiday season. Because the recession is far from over, capturing this spending by retailers could make or break them for 2010. Suppliers are heavily invested in this capture as well, obviously because they depend on the retail outlets to move their products. According to the survey, almost 2/3 of American shoppers have said the economy will impact their spending. Some will spend less, some will shop for the best price, some will use coupons and some will surf the web to find the best bang for their buck. What this means to retailers is that they have to find a way to make their outlet the most attractive to consumers. According to the survey, customer service and merchandise quality are two very important factors to consumers. These are two ways that retailers don't have to be creative in order to supply what consumers want, they just need to be diligent and ensure their employees have a positive attitude toward their customers, make themselves available to assist consumers and do a good job of quality control and carry merchandise that has a strong track record of being a solid product. Surprisingly, the younger demographic (18-24) had the highest percentage of responders that said they will choose a store based on service. With that being the demographic that uses electronic media the most, a good, positive shopping experience with just one consumer could bring you dozens more. The flipside is also true. A bad experience could end up costing you hundreds, maybe more, in sales. Many consumers this season will be more focused on value and not just price. They will be looking more at the big picture. Paying more for longevity or for less hassle (like paying $100 for the fake Christmas tree vs. $75 for the real, but think of the ease of clean up after the holiday) is part of the value equation. Getting more satisfaction for your money, even if it means spending a little more, seems to be a trend many are following. One of the biggest trends from the study (although not a surprise) is that online shoppers have much deeper pockets this year. According to the survey, people who are holiday shopping online will spend 24.6 percent more than the average adult. This group starts shopping early and tends to make a lot of non-gift purchase for themselves. This group is willing to pay more and is said that sales and discounts are not their main factor when shopping online. Regardless of the online phenomenon, many of us still enjoy the 'live'? experience of shopping in 'Brick and Mortar'? stores during the holiday season. As a holiday consumer, here are a few tips to keep our experience with you positive and ultimately green!! 1.) Offer quality and value at a reasonable price. 2.) Have top-notch customer service (who doesn't appreciate service with a smile?) 3.) Remember I use my smartphone, so the opportunities to drive me to retail are endless

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