Omnichannel Sales Trends for this Holiday Season

Last week we looked at the overall forecast for holiday sales. This week we will examine omnichannel sales trends for the holiday season. Omnichannel shoppers tend to spend more that others and expect to find what they want, where they want it, and when they want it. Research surveys are showing significant trends:

  • The National Retail Federation predicts online sales growth of 8% to 11% in November and December.
  • PwC’s most recent retail survey found that two thirds of consumers consider themselves to be omnichannel shoppers. They use a combination of mobile phones, tablets, PC’s and physical stores to research and then buy.
  • According to ORC International, 67% of shoppers consider the internet site of a retailer to be important to their buying process. In the future, a little more than half, 51%, plan to spend more using the internet channel than in brick-and-mortar stores.

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What’s Up with Retail Sales This Holiday Season?

It is already time to start talking about holiday sales. A Google survey found that 20% of consumers began their shopping before Labor Day.

What is going to happen this holiday season? All of the sources I checked have estimates that are above the 2.9% average increase for the last 10 years.

The results will have an impact. Retail sales drive the U.S. economy. According to the National Retail Federation, 1 out 4 jobs are retail related . That’s 42 million jobs. Retail impacts $2.6 trillion of annual GDP. A large portion, 25% to 30%, of sales for the year are made in November and December.

Holiday gift spending should be up by about 8% according to a Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. About half of shoppers, 53%, plan to spend the same this year as last year. Those that say they will spend more tend to be higher-income consumers. forecasts a jump this year over last year of 8 to 11%. The National Retail Federation predicts a more conservative rise of 4.1%.
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Avoid EDI Difficulties

You may have heard horror stories about EDI. EDI is indeed a technology with many layers of complexity. Choosing the right EDI provider can insulate you from the complexities. Thousands of clients have found that CovalentWorks makes EDI as Easy as email®.

Here are some of the headaches we take care of:

  • Every trading partner has different specifications. No two are alike. Each trading partner’s specifications have to be mapped to business documents and tested. Mapping is further complicated because trading partners do not all use the same version of EDI and they do not all use the same transaction types.
  • Every trading partner has different testing procedures. Some will send a test order to begin the process while others will wait for a live order. Some have an informal process with one analyst, others have a strict procedure and several people involved. Still others have a web site for testing.

See my blog post from July 8th for more details on the challenges of implementing EDI transactions with trading partners.

Knowledgeable support specific to each trading partner is required after implementation is completed. You can read more about what makes for good EDI support in my post last week.

EDI does not have be difficult. CovalentWorks provides complete EDI solution delivered from the cloud.
EDI software is accessed via the web. Software installation is not needed. All you need is internet access. Implementation, testing, maintenance and support with any trading partner are all included.

Contact us anytime to find out more about how we can handle the headaches of EDI for your small business.

What is good EDI support?

EDI technology has many layers. Some have even called it a monstrosity of technical complexity. Good EDI support takes care of the complicated technical layers so that users get the assistance they need, when they need it.

Good EDI support:

  • Provides complete answers to questions in terminology users can understand. “One and done” answers should be the norm.
  • Has online help for common questions and trading partner specific requirements. It also has training videos that are available whenever needed.
  • Includes a support organization that has transparent systems so that anyone in the support group knows the latest on a given client’s status and needs. It eliminates the need to wait on one person in the group to answer a client’s questions.

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