Stores With Online Retail Sites May Be Merriest of All [3]

According to reports released by Forrester and the National Retail Federation (NRF), this holiday season is looking to be a good one for retailers. But the jolliest retailers of all may be those traditional stores that also offer their customers a retail Web site, a recent BusinessWeek article reported. More and more, multichannel operators are learning that online stores can spur the performance of their bricks-and-mortar outlets.

In October, NRF released the findings of its 2003 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. The survey found that the average consumer plans to spend $671.89 this holiday season, up 3.6 percent from 2002 when consumers spent an average of $648.85. Moreover, of those surveyed, 36 percent said they would shop online. (To read a previous article on the NRF holiday survey, click here [4].) And Forrester Research predicts that holiday sales made online will rise 42 percent to $12.2 million, BusinessWeek reported, and expects that online sales will rise a steady 20 percent annually through 2008.

The good news for bookstores with -- or thinking of creating -- an online store: Multichannel retailers that spoke to BusinessWeek noted that not only are their online operations becoming a source of profits, they are also helping to boost offline performance. Since businesses first started selling online, retailers worried their Web sites would cannibalize their traditional stores. According to these retailers, the opposite is occurring and "many traditional retailers are looking to their Internet operations as a creative and highly effective means of boosting both sales and profitability," as reported by BusinessWeek.

In conclusion, the article stated that, as online sales continue to grow, "handsome profit margins should follow, especially for the multichannel operators that have figured out how to make the Web work for, rather than against, them. This holiday season should provide ample evidence of that."

To read the BusinessWeek article in full, click here [5].