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RetailNext: Upcoming weekend will be a ‘monster’ for stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The initially predicted “super weekend” (Dec. 21 and Dec. 22) will now become a “monster weekend” for brick-and-mortar stores, according to RetailNext, whose analysts predict a low single-digit uptick in traffic for brick-and-mortar stores, which will translate into an estimated 5% sales growth this weekend, resulting from improved conversion. The impact of last weekend’s snowstorm, coupled with the online shipping cutoffs, makes this weekend for brick-and-mortars even more substantial.

Despite the relatively modest traffic uptick, RetailNext expects sales growth due to the year-over-year improvements in conversion. Those shoppers entering the brick-and-mortar environment are leaving with product, and the company expects no less this upcoming weekend.

RetailNext advises that retailers can quickly act on shopper readiness by ensuring stock is to the floor, staff is ready to convert shoppers (they will need little convincing), and “add-on” sales are in action to create an opportunity to drive shopper yield. Utilizing mobile functionality to help with conversion while shoppers are in the store could make this a top weekend for the year, surpassing even Black Friday Weekend.

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Nordstrom in partnership with 3-D footwear imaging company Shoefitr

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Shoefitr, which provides improved fit and sizing information for customers buying shoes online, has partnered with Nordstrom to help customers shopping on Nordstrom.com find the right fit. As part of the partnership, Nordstrom has also made an investment in Shoefitr.

The capability is now live on Nordstrom.com and uses Shoefitr’s 3-D imaging software to provide size and fit recommendations on some of the company’s most popular shoe styles that the customer is interested in buying.

"We build products that give online shoppers an experience that mimics the tactile comparisons customers value in-store and provide guidance similar to what they would receive from store employees," said Matt Wilkinson, CEO of Shoefitr. "The result is a more personalized, informative and engaging shopping experience."

"We started as a shoe store and shoes have always been core to our business," said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct. "We know our customers love to buy shoes in our stores or online. Our goal is to offer the kind of selection, sizes and service to make sure our customers find shoes that fit properly. Shoefitr’s technology is one of the ways we’re bringing that focus on fit to help customers shopping online. We think ultimately this will add to their confidence about buying shoes from us online."

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comscore: Strong weekend spending helps online sales exceed expectations

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — U.S. retail e-commerce spending from desktop computers for the first 45 days of the November-December 2013 holiday season totaled $37.8 billion, according to comScore. For the first time ever, the most recent workweek saw five individual days eclipse $1 billion in spending, led by Green Monday with $1.4 billion.

The week before (Dec. 2 – Dec.6) fell short of that accomplishment when Friday, Dec. 6 missed the $1 billion milestone by just $16 million. Overall there have been ten individual $1 billion days this season, and the most recent week (Dec. 9 – Dec. 15) reached nearly $7.7 billion in desktop spending. Total spending since Thanksgiving has been $19.2 billion, up a healthy 21% versus the same period following Thanksgiving last year.

One of the emerging storylines from the 2013 holiday season is the growth of online retail spending during the weekends, according to comScore. Historically, the work week tends to be when the heaviest online spending happens, in part because people are in front of computer screens for longer periods of time, while the weekends tend to be stronger for brick-and-mortar retail and lighter for online buying. This year, however, exceptionally strong year-over-year growth rates of at least 30% have been seen on each weekend since Thanksgiving, while gains on the weekdays have been between 10-16%.

"One of the most interesting stories we are seeing this holiday season is the explosion in weekend online spending," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "While we have seen solid growth during the days between Monday and Friday, weekend growth rates have surged to nearly 4x what we’re seeing during the work weeks."

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