Monday, April 16, 2012

National Retail Federation Report: Online Channels Eclipse Retail Stores

Washington, February 15, 2012 –

According to a just released report by the National Retail Federation, retailers’ websites and online channels have eclipsed physical stores as the top channel for marketers for the first time.

The NRF report, which surveyed 247 retail executives from various sectors, finds retailers are focusing more than ever on customer-centric tech functions including e-commerce, customer service and mobile platforms in an effort to build customer engagement, capture wallet share and accelerate sales growth.

Retail executives say they will invest in programs that directly resonate with today’s shopper. According to the survey, 85% will emphasize increasing online sales, up from 83 percent in 2011, and 38 percent will have a greater focus on increasing mobile mCommerce sales over the next year, up from 29 percent in 2011.

Additionally, more than half (53%) of those surveyed say they will specifically focus on web personalization engines in the coming months, which includes such enhancements as location-based services and tracking methods unique to shopping habits.

To grow customer interaction, 45 percent of companies are actively developing widgets, gadgets or advanced links that can be incorporated with their social media pages, and another 41 percent are planning to develop these items over the next 18 months.

To better serve mobile-savvy shoppers in their stores, retailers also stated enhancing handheld technologies, such as mobile point-of-sale, will be a core focus over the next 18 months. While 17 percent already use mobile POS technologies in their store, an additional 33 percent indicate they plan further POS investments during that timeframe.

As the number of multichannel shoppers continues to grow, the NRF study found retailers’ will continue to expand price optimization - more than one-third (35%) of respondents will focus on solidifying their price optimization technologies over the next 18 months.

Nearly six in 10 retailers say new customer acquisition and customer satisfaction are their top strategic priorities for 2012. More than half (52%) of respondents plan to increase their IT budgets in the coming year, investing in IT, e-commerce, customer service, and mobile platforms.

For more details and other results from the NRF report, visit their website at:

Bill Kaufmann

Manager, Digital Marketing Strategy