“What three retail trends do you foresee for 2001?”
I don’t have a crystal ball, but my guess is that the economy is going to be soft this year. As for trends, I see non-technical retailers not being as strong as the brick-and-mortar sector demographically, in terms of their customer base. Brick-and-mortar retailers can take advantage of that base through integration, so they can have customers from everywhere.
From the QVC standpoint, this last  season was one of the best fourth quarters we’ve ever had, partly because of that sort of integration. We believe that customers have two basic behaviors, impulse buying and considered purchase. The impulse buying accounts for our TV side; considered purchase is what our Internet customers tend to do — 60% of them go straight to the Search button on the Web site. As an example of what integration can do, even for a retailer that isn’t brick-and-mortar, we had a 25% lift in sales last year from customers who shopped in the two mediums.
Steve Hamlin, Vice President
West Chester, PA
The top retail trend is multi-channel commerce, a single view of customers among multiple channels. They place an order on the Web, pick it up at the retail store, or buy from a catalog and pick it up from a store, that kind of integration.
As important as ever are market share and not only how to gain new customers, but how to retain existing customers. Retail stores don’t want to miss out on sales to customers; now they want to leverage their Internet presence.
On the economy, I believe that we will have a soft landing. We still have a lot of cautious optimism for our customers. We will see some slow-down in the high-tech areas, but the jury is still out on the retail sector, due to the rise in US postal rates. Retail will see some growth; however, it will be slower than in the last couple of years.
David Joseph, Executive Vice President
Page Digital, Inc.
Clearly the Internet will represent a bigger and bigger share of total sales as a result of cross-channel integration. The biggest thing in retail is multi-channel sales; this is going to be true for Lands’ End. What also has significant implications is how you manage multi-channel bonus plans.
Bill Bass, Senior Vice President
E-Commerce and International
Lands’ End, Inc.
1. More consolidation
2. More focus on profit
3. More integrated customer experiences
Also, multi-channel retailing is hip, and multi-channel retailing is trendy.
Lauren Freedman, Analyst the e-tailing group
- 1. Multi-channel retailing becomes the dominant topic it always should have been.
- 2. Finally we’ll learn the truth about Amazon.com’s finances.
- 3. Personalization enters a new phase, in which “soft” things become more important than “hard” things — reactions based on feelings, such as “I like something” versus “I’m the member of a group.”
Scott Metcalf, CEO
San Francisco, CA
- 1. The customer is in control, using multiple channels to shop, doing a lot of research, and buying on his own terms.
- 2. Using the Internet for shopping continues to be big.
- 3. Retailers will use electronic marketing not only for promotions but to maintain relationships with customers.
George Barr, Director,
Circuit City Stores Richmond, VA