Photo: By mjb84 on flickr
Retailers are acutely aware of consumers’ tight budgets this year and are doing what they can to stay competitive against their retail opponents.Experts are predicting that consumers will spend slightly more on holiday-related shopping this year, and stores are doing what they can to ensure they get a sizeable piece of those purchases.
U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday-related shopping, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. This is up from last year’s figure of $681.83.
Retailers are taking drastic measures to become even more competitive this year.
Last year, Toys 'R' Us opened at midnight on Black Friday, but this year they will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. They also plan to double their normal workforce by hiring 45,000 seasonal employees. Also, like many other retailers taking advantage of empty storefront, Toys 'R' Us will launch at least 600 pop-up stores exclusively for the holiday shopping season.
Sears is preparing itself for its Black Friday shopping sales by opening on... Thanksgiving Day? Yes, for the first time in the store's history it will be open for Thanksgiving Day shopping.
Best Buy is hiring 29,000 seasonal employees and has started its holiday TV campaign earlier this year.
Best Buy is hiring about 29,000 additional holiday employees, which is about the same as last year. It also began its holiday TV campaign more than a weak earlier than last year. And last Friday and Saturday, Best Buy discounted a number of their electronic items, such as the 40-inch LCD HDTV for $399.99.
Wal-Mart is offering free online shipping through December 20 for more than 60,000 of their holiday products. The offer requires no minimum purchase, unlike other major online retailers. Return shipping is also free or the items can be returned to a store.
Borders Group Inc. launched a revamped website Monday. It hopes the website will help it compete against Walmart, Amazon and the electronic books industry. Borders said the site is easier to use and offers 'a more competitive pricing structure for customers.'
In early October, eBay launched a campaign to promote their eBay Buyer Protection Program. The program was introduced in January 2010 and 'covers the purchase price plus original shipping of most purchases on eBay.com.' A distinguishing characteristic between eBay and other auction and shopping websites is the customer service it provides, which is why eBay is aggressively pushing its Buyer Protection Program.
Following other stores' lead, JCPenney has launched a new mobile initiative, which includes 'a mobile commerce site, location-based check-in offers, enhancements to its mobile apps and an exciting mobile experience via Apple(R)'s iAd platform,' according to a JCPenney press release. The release goes on to say that JCPenney is among the first companies to team with Apple's new iAd platform, which features a 'gift hunting game, encouraging users to find a $10 off $50 coupon as they explore an assortment of JCPenney gifts.'
'This year, consumers can expect to see more competitive teaser and balance transfer rates, some as low as 0%,' according to Wallet Pop's Martha C. White. She interviews a Corporate Insight senior analyst who says 'Issuers are getting their toes back in the water and getting more aggressive. I think that's going to translate into some nice credit card promotions this holiday season.' White says the two best card offers overall are the Discover More-- which lets new cardholders earn $100 cash back if they spend $500 on the card in the first three month-- and Chase Freedom Visa-- which offers 1% cash back on all purchases.
Source: Wallet Pop
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