Looks like online retailers have reason to celebrate this holiday season.
According to recent reports, there was more than $7 billion spent over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States to kick off the holiday shopping season. Retail giants like Kohl’s and Walmart saw increases in online shoppers, and all told, more than 154 million consumers made a purchase from eCommerce sites on Cyber Monday.
For this month’s Omnicommerce Tracker cover story, PYMNTS spoke with Carl Prindle, president and CEO of Blueport Commerce, about what strategies were successful during the holiday shopping weekend and how even retailers in industries that typically struggle online can find omnichannel success.
Online sales have become a crucial part of the retail economy in the United States. ECommerce accounted for more than $100 billion in the third quarter of 2016 alone, according to research published by the U.S. Census Bureau. What’s more, online sales have grown every year since 2011, according to the same study.
Furniture retailers have largely not felt the effects of the online boom, however. According to Furniture Today, just 26 percent of all furniture retailers are enabled for eCommerce, and less than three-quarters of the top 100 furniture retailers offer online sales.
Prindle said that several obstacles have stopped furniture sellers from realizing their full online potential. The biggest challenge lies in overcoming consumer preferences, as most customers prefer to preview and test big-ticket purchases like furniture in person.
“The store plays a huge role,” he said. “So, what we focus on is: How can you enable a best-in-class research process online that enables customers to make purchases from their home or lead them into your store?”
Around the Omnicommerce world
Over the course of the past month, several retailers rolled out new services, features and products designed to use technology to improve their omnichannel experience.
Ahead of holiday season shopping, online footwear and clothing retailer Zappos announced last month that it had renewed its price-matching program. Meanwhile, fellow eCommerce giant Amazon revealed that it had expanded the availability of its Amazon Home Services offering into 20 new U.S. cities.
Companies also sought to bolster their delivery services, as PetSmart and Domino’s both debuted new delivery programs. PetSmart improved online order fulfillment with a redesigned online store, while Domino’s has started delivering pizzas in Auckland, New Zealand, using drones.
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