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Survey: Retailers show cautious optimism for holidays

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – U.S. retailers are showing cautious optimism for the upcoming holiday shopping season. According to a survey of 77 U.S, retailers in July 2013 with annual revenue of less than $20 million to $5 billion by e-commerce technology provider Baynote, 38% of respondents project an 11 to 20% year-over-year increase in online sales, with 22% predicting an increase of 21% or more.

In addition, 53% of respondents expect mobile transactions to account for a significant part of holiday revenue and 38% believe mobile will drive renewed in-store interest that will lead to increased revenue.

Furthermore, retailers plan to offer promotions, such as flash sales, buy-one-get-one free offers and free shipping, at selective times throughout the holiday season. Thirty percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to October 1; more than 40% of retailers will wait until early November.

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Digital ad spending sets another new record

BY CSA STAFF

Fortified by growing e-commerce sales and time spent across digital channels, the U.S. retail industry will grow its digital ad spending more rapidly this year than in 2012, according to new figures from eMarketer.

By the end of this year, eMarketer predicts, U.S. retailers will have increased digital ad budgets by 15.7% to $9.50 billion, following growth of 14.5% last year.

Much of that spending can be expected to focus on drawing holiday shoppers, as the last months of the year account for a disproportionate share of retail revenues. eMarketer predicts 23.5% of all U.S. retail e-commerce sales this year, for example, will take place in November and December, amounting to $61.8 billion. eMarketer estimates U.S. retail e-commerce sales will grow 16.4% to $262.3 billion this year.

Retailers already spend more than any other vertical industry on digital advertising, and this year’s increases are expected to give the industry a 22.3% share of total U.S. digital ad spending — identical to last year’s share. This figure is expected to fall slightly in coming years as the overall market grows slightly faster than retail.

Research suggests much of the incremental digital ad growth coming from retailers is going toward mobile advertising, particularly search, as well as select mobile display venues with large audiences and strong targeting, such as Facebook and Twitter.

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends as well as trends in specific consumer behaviors. It analyzes quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

Additionally, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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Canadian retailer Jean Coutu Group debuts online shopping via window displays

BY Antoinette Alexander

Longueuil, Quebec — Canadian drug store operator The Jean Coutu Group is looking to boost holiday sales and make shopping more convenient this holiday season with the launch of an “e-store” window inside the Longueuil Metro Station.

Located in the A Wing of the Longueuil Metro Station, a key public transit hub, the e-store window allows consumers to make holiday purchases online on the spot using their smartphones. Purchased items can be delivered to the address of their choosing before Dec. 24.

The e-store window offers several products of the Jean Coutu Online Boutique, such as fragrances, toys, candy and electronic products.

"This initiative differentiates us on the online shopping market and offers consumers the opportunity to make holiday season shopping both easy and effective," said Alain Lafortune, EVP of purchasing and marketing at the Jean Coutu Group.

From their smartphones, customers can scan the QR code associated to a product on display in the e-store shop window. Once the code is scanned, the consumer is directed to the Jean Coutu Online Boutique to proceed with the transaction. The e-store window will be available until Dec. 13.

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