IDC Retail Insights Advises Retailers on Top 10 Technology Initiatives to Prepare for the 2011 Holiday Season 

FRAMINGHAM, MA, August 17, 2011 – IDC Retail Insights today announced the availability of a new report, Perspective: Top 10 Recommendations for the Holiday Season (Document # GRI229659), describing 10 key initiatives retailers can put into practice immediately in the areas of e-commerce, store systems, merchandising, supply chain, and product management, to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Navigating the advantages that technology may provide in engaging both loyal and new consumers can determine the difference between retailers' ending the year in the red or in the black.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, retail IT organizations are now preparing to fulfill availability and scalability requirements as well as complete ongoing rollouts to avoid any disruption to business operations and retail sales. This new IDC Retail Insights report emphasizes four IT-enabled mega-trends including: cloud for cost and scale advantage, mobility for unified consumer interaction, omni-channel for same-shopper sales growth, and intelligencefor better decisions, to help retail IT organizations prepare for the holiday season.

The report begins with recommendations to defend against landed cost fluctuations, as today's rising commodity prices may, in turn, force increases in prices to consumers at a time when economic uncertainty is causing them to remain highly sensitive to price changes. To succeed in the dynamic environment leading up to the holiday season, retailers need to focus simultaneously on better understanding and delivering value to their customers; collaborating with their trading partners by providing visibility into trade promotion performance, pricing, inventory assortment, and shopper behavior; and continuously managing exceptions to planned costs, adjusting retail price, promotions, and allocations as necessary to optimize sell-through, sales, and margin.

Additional initiatives described in the report include:

• Ensuring price and promotion engines are ready for holiday traffic

• Improving online retailing conversion rates

• Leveraging social media to boost customer acquisition, retention and conversion

• Creating web sites optimized for mobile retailing

Leslie Hand, Research Director, IDC Retail Insights states, "No doubt, retailers can expect consumers to be very discerning in their holiday shopping this year, and this may result in continued profit pressure for retailers due to excessive or sub-optimal discounting strategies. In addition to managing these risks, retailers are also faced with fending off competition, sometimes coming from new sources: blurring segments, direct sales from manufacturers, growing e-commerce sales and new entrants, local niche merchants and social commerce web sites. Retailers must remember to fix what they can now, and prioritize for post-holiday investment what can't be fixed, so they are not similarly disadvantaged in 2012."

More insights will be revealed during a one-hour, complimentary web conference on August 31 at 10:00 a.m., US Eastern time titled, Ten Tactical Initiatives to Implement for the Retail 2011 Holiday Season. IDC Retail Insights analysts Christine Bardwell, Greg Girard, Leslie Hand, and Ivano Ortis will present.

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with one of the report's authors, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or sarahbethmurray@gmail.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contactinsights@idc.com.

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