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Retailers' New Year resolutions

Last year was plagued by many industry issues from rates rises to floundering footfall, which landed retailers with a lingering hangover, but with January now in full swing it’s time for businesses to boost their prospects for 2014 with New Year’s resolutions.

Verdict Research has predicted that fashion and footwear sales will rise 22% over the next five years, so it is now more imperative than ever that retailers ensure their multichannel strategy is in line. Consistency across all channels is key as disjointed representation does little to boost a brand image, if anything hindering it.

Mobile and tablet commerce should, and surely will be, at the top of many retailers’ resolution list. The festive period proved that the domination of digital is continuing to grow. Tablets drove almost a third of all online sales on Boxing Day as ecommerce revenues rose by more than 40% on December 26. Sales completed via mobile devices were also strong, growing 63% year-on-year, and exceeding 45% of total online sales.

In order to capitalise on as many sales as possible retailers must look at mobile optimising their sites and then driving traffic to them. For smaller stores unable to offer ecommerce it is key that Google listings provide exact addresses ensuring shoppers can find your store.

Coming hot on the heels of ecommerce is social media presence, which many retailers have been stepping up over the last few years. As well as using it as an avenue to raise retailer’s profiles by tweeting or posting about latest news it is also an integral tool to get opinions from consumers.

Over the next year sportswear retailers should cash in on the World Cup, which starts in June, however there is no reason why other retailers can’t jump on the bandwagon with sportswear-inspired displays, World Cup parties complete with screenings of the matches or even table football tournaments in store.

One of the most notable trends over the last year has been retailers reaping the rewards of a no discounting policy. The likes of Fat Face, White Stuff and Next are proof that holding back and not eating into the discounting pie will help stave off unflattering margins. This year retailers should reconsider their Sale strategy and consider reducing discounting to help boost their bottom line.

Of course it is difficult to know what this year will throw at the industry, especially with the uncertain seas of the economy, and so for 2014 retailers are best to stick to the old Scout motto and ‘Be Prepared’.

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