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Consumer Trends

Jingle Bells in August

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Consumers may be thinking back-to-school, but retailers are focused on prepping for the most crucial shopping period of the year — the holidays.

Last month IBM released its Seventh Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report. Compiled from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark — a real-time, cloud-based platform that tracks millions of transactions and analyzes terabytes of raw data from 800 websites — the report provides insight into how shoppers are likely to behave and suggests how retailers can get ready.

Average order values and items per order both reached new three-year highs, according to the report. To capitalize on this trend, IBM strategists say retailers must rely on personalization and cross-sell recommendations to further strengthen customer relationships.

Capturing and keeping shoppers’ attention may boil down to investing in customer experience management technologies to identify and quickly resolve onsite problems. The need for an enhanced visitor experience calls for improving site navigation and providing content like how-to guides and user forums.

Mobile will play a significant role this holiday season: The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark predicts mobile will account for more than 20 percent of site sales and more than 43 percent of site traffic by November 2014. Retailers will need to pay attention to both device type and operating system to better focus their mobile app and analytics investments, while at the same time ensuring a flawless customer experience between devices and operating systems.

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