Retailers this holiday push for more efforts to combine online, in-store shopping

A new report published last month by commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE shows that retailers are increasing strategies to draw online shoppers into their stores this holiday season.

The report highlighted four key trends and found an overall connection between retailers’ strategies and their increased capabilities to cater to shoppers across all channels – in stores, online and mobile.

Increased shopper optimism is the first trend the report found.

The first half of 2018 saw the highest retail sales growth in six years. As a result, CBRE predicted retail sales gains of up to 4.8 percent this holiday season. Trend also shows that few of retailers’ transactions are strictly in-store or online anymore.

The second trend focused on retailers’ transition from buy-online/pickup-in-store programs to buy-online/ship-to-store.

Rather than only purchase merchandise stocked at the store, the ladder program lets shoppers browse through a wider inventory stocked at a retailers’ warehouse that’s delivered to the nearest store. Retailers said they believe this process will cut delivery costs while generating add-on sales to shoppers who pick up their orders.

The third trend focused on retailers’ enhanced loyalty programs.

Big names like Macy’s and Nordstrom have included perks like exclusive access to fashion shows in their programs. The trend highlights retailers’ efforts to enhance connections between their brands and consumers.

The last trend focused on the closure of Toys R Us and the 5 percent — or $1.3 billion — of the total toy market that’s up for grabs.

Retailers are feeling optimistic. Leading companies like Target and Walmart are expanding their toy sections while companies like Ace Hardware and Michaels  which don’t sell toys  are having limited time toy offers.

CBRE Vice President Steven Winters said the omnichannel approach is the one that will continue to benefit these retailers.

“New Jersey continues to experience a robust retail market as we head into the holiday season,” Winters said. “Overall retailer strength and consumer spending show that the investment in omnichannel strategies continue to pay off. Retailers are seeing that on-line shopping and brick-and-mortar stores go hand-in-hand in a successful business philosophy.”