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OfficeMax adds new search engine

BY Staff Writer

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax Inc. announced Thursday a new search engine on Officemax.com designed to speed up shopping and provide more accurate search and recommendation results.

In its first month with the new search engine, OfficeMax said that OfficeMax.com has already experienced an increase in conversion rate and customer satisfaction around site navigation, and more than a 60% increase in average revenue per visit.

"Search is the backbone of any successful internet retailer, and is the key to delivering the speed, accuracy and convenience that customers desire in their online shopping experience," said Jim Barr, OfficeMax executive VP and chief digital officer. "These improvements to our search capabilities make our customers’ online shopping experience more intuitive and easier than ever before.”

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OPERATIONS

Booze & Co.: Shopping trends for 2012 holiday season

BY Allison Cerra

New York – Emerging consumer buying trends will have significant implications for retailers this holiday season, according to a new survey from Booz & Co.

In its 1,600-person survey — which polled consumers, retail store staff and retail executives to determine buying habits and potential trends for this holiday season — Booz & Co. found that in-store competitive browsing, heavy online shopping and downloaded gifts top the new shopper behaviors expected this holiday season. The company specifically called attention to multichannel shopping, which it said will be a core part of how consumers shop: 40% of surveyed consumers describe "showcasing" as their new shopping strategy: browsing in-store before buying online, which creates a major challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Additional key findings include:

  • 52% of consumers will closely consider affordability in their shopping decisions;
  • 73% of consumers said they expect to find great deals this season, compared with 62% last year;
  • 51% of consumers reported that economic survival is a great reason for celebrating this year;
  • More than 80 million shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this season, about 4% more than last year;
  • Downloadable gifts will become a distinct and rapidly growing category this year, as 45% of consumers expect to give at least one downloadable gift (i.e., an e-book, a music download or a movie);
  • 53% of consumers intend to buy at least one luxury item (up from 41% last year), and the item is likely to be one the whole family can enjoy; and
  • Consumers are looking forward to the holiday more than last year; 53% expect to host multiple gatherings, compared with 45% last year.

"The biggest challenge this season for brick-and-mortar retailers is determining how to drive more than their fair share of ‘showcasing volume’ to their websites rather than Amazon.com or another competitor," said Thom Blischok, chief retail strategist for Booz & Co. "While technology enhancements and economic uncertainty will both impact this holiday season, there is a dose of optimism compared to 2011, as people shop with a value-seeking mindset."

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Survey: Four out of five smartphone users access retail content

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — Four in every five smartphone users – 85.9 million in total – accessed retail content on their device in July, according to a study by comScore. Amazon sites led as the top retailer with an audience of 49.6 million visitors, representing 46.6% of smartphone owners, followed by eBay with 32.6 million visitors and Apple with 17.7 million visitors.

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