Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Retailers Missing Sales Opportunities This Holiday Season, Some Turning Holiday Shoppers Into Long-Term Fans

The holiday season is a key time to attract new customers, according to a new survey conducted by Deloitte, but many retailers may be falling short in this critical "audition."

While many retailers make a large percentage of their annual sales during the holiday season, they also lose many sales opportunities due to poor execution and planning. According to Deloitte's survey, so far this holiday season 89 percent of shoppers have left a store, or a department in a store, without purchasing anything, most frequently because the store did not have an item they wanted to purchase, they couldn't find the item they were looking for, or the specific item or size they were looking for was out of stock.

Indeed, it's clear from the survey that many consumers try out new stores during the holiday season and that this is a key time for retailers to attract new customers. So far this holiday season, 38 percent of consumers have shopped in a retail store that they had not been in previously, and 45 percent of consumers have shopped at an online retailer that they had not visited previously. A strong majority of these shoppers made purchases: 89 percent made a purchase in one or more of the "new" retail stores they visited and 70 percent made a purchase at one or more of the "new" online retailers they visited. Most importantly, these trials can turn first time customers into repeat customers -- approximately nine out of 10 of these consumers (93 percent for stores, 89 percent for websites) expect to add one or more of these retailers to their future shopping repertoires.

The Internet has been instrumental in helping consumers find these new retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. An Internet search was the No. 1 factor that led consumers to a new online retailer, and approximately one in seven survey respondents said an online search led them to the store-based retailer.

Additional findings from this survey:
-- 31 percent of consumers have purchased gifts that they researched on the Internet and bought in a store
-- 14 percent of consumers have purchased /ordered on a retailer's website and then picked up in a store
-- 13 percent of consumers have purchased gifts that were environmentally friendly, or green
-- 13 percent of consumers have purchased gifts online, while at work

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