Retailers to Focus on Consumer Initiatives in 2012, Study Says

       

       

WASHINGTON-U.S. retailers will boost their investments in information technology, e-commerce, customer service and their mobile platforms this year, according to a report from the National Retail Federation and KPMG.

The annual study, titled “Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2011, Forecasts for 2012,” involved a survey of 247 retail executives from various sectors. For this first time in this survey’s 10-year history, retailers’ websites or online channels eclipsed physical stores as the top channel for marketers (86 percent online, 81 percent brick and mortar, according to an NRF-KPMG statement). Eighty-five percent of the respondents said they will invest in programs to increase online sales, up from 83 percent last year, and 83 percent will have a greater focus on boosting mobile-commerce sales over this coming year, up from 29 percent in 2011.

In addition, 53 percent of the participants said they would put more effort into Web personalization engines in the coming months, including enhancements such as location-based services and tracking methods unique to shopping habits. Retail executives also said they will focus more on hand-held technologies such as mobile point-of-sale.

These strategies are all about building customer engagement, increasing “wallet share” and accelerating sales growth at a time in which technology is playing an ever-larger role in the shopping process, according to NRF and KPMG.