Retailers Ride Holiday Growth Wave into 2011

Retail momentum continues, as consumers’ desire for discounts is fueling promotions and shopper incentives

Retailers were generally pleased with the 2010 holiday season, seeing 5.7 percent growth over 2009 and handily beating initial projections by the National Retail Federation.  In fact, the NRF further says that January marks seven straight months of retail gains, demonstrating that many consumers are ready to spend after a long and difficult economic slump. It’s a winning situation for consumers – retailers are anxious to maximize this upswing and are upping their game with continued promotions and discounts. 

Good news for shoppers who have come to expect some level of competition for their spending power. Their expectation of value is rock solid and increasing the pressure on retailers to deliver.  For retailers it is a bit trickier though, and marketing efforts must break through the barrage of promotional activity to really get the consumers’ attention as they travel the path to purchase. Shoppers have become savvier about sifting through their options – comparing prices and demanding value as they prioritize their spendable income.

In turn, marketers are layering additional tactics onto established and successful retail marketing strategies.  Capitalizing on what they already do well – such as developing incentives that demonstrate real customer understanding – marketers are raising the bar by adding underused channels such as front door marketing into the mix.  Bypassing a crowded field of messages, retail marketers are in some cases exceeding a 20 percent response rate.

Are your retail marketing initiatives generating the results you need, especially as Americans seem to be stepping out of their years-long spending slump? And if not, what are you doing to expand on your campaign strategies?

The Short List: Brands, Marketing to Women, and Loyalty Programs

Our mish-mash list of articles on the web that we find interesting, compelling, and should be on your radar.

  1. According to an Experian study, this year’s holiday season is expected to grow 1% to 2% over last year’s. The holiday and winter shopping season competition is gearing up, with retailers hoping to attract female shoppers with their latest partnerships with private labels. MNG by Mango recently finalized their exclusive deal with JC Penney, Macy’s launched Madonna’s Material Girl collection earlier this month, and Sears still exclusively distributes the junior brand BONGO.
  2. Marketing to women apparently means better packaging, for one thing.
  3. Expect to see an increase in Kroger’s store-branded line of cosmetics and beauty later this year and into 2011.
  4. Do customer loyalty programs give you a competitive edge?  Ninety percent of respondents in the National Restaurant Association’s latest survey think so.
  5. The latest partnership between online and offline media is apparently scented banner ads.

STORES’ Top 100 Retailers List

STORES’ 2010 Top 100 Retailers list includes big names like Kroger, Target, and Walmart (no surprise there). Although the list doesn’t differ drastically from 2009’s Top 100, there are some unique additions and incumbents:

  • Ikea places at #92 as a foreign-based company that has not taken over an existing US-based company
  • Walmart takes #1 and the company plans to still generate $100 billion in annual sales
  • 16% of Target’s (#3) annual sales were from groceries
  • Walgreen opened its first store in Alaska, establishing the company’s presence in all 50 states

Read the rest of the article here.