It’s time for the online shopping season – an increasingly important segment for retailers – and Bronto is offering insight into the upcoming holiday market.

“Loading the Sleigh: Marketers’ Plans & Expectations for the Holiday Season,” a new white paper from the Durham-based email and marketing services firm, says retailers have to be prepared to deal with “very savvy” customers who are looking for the best deals.

There’s nothing new about retailers’ reliance on holiday shopping to make up a significant portion of their annual sales,” the paper begins.

“However, in recent years, a retailer’s approach to holiday shopping can quite literally make or break its place in the market.

“Five years of global economic uncertainty has left consumers more unpredictable than ever – but while they still want to buy
gifts at the holidays, they’ve become very, very savvy as to the new ways they get those gifts. Anticipate the ‘new
consumer’ well and you may have great news for your investors. Misread them, and you may not get to play on for another

“In fact, consumers have completely changed how they purchase. Cross-channel consumer technologies have enabled them to
shop in ways no one could have thought possible just a few years ago: Daily deal sites, cross-channel bargain hunting, using
mobile devices to pit one channel against another (even among a single retailer) – it’s all fair game in an effort to purchase
gifts for their loved ones at the lowest price possible – and in the most convenient way possible for them. It’s a win for
consumers, and they’re not turning back.

“As a result, this year’s online holiday season promises to be even more important than last.”

Based on a survey conducted by Retail Systems Research, which co-developed the report with Bronto, retailers are gearing up for more online sales with investments in:

  • Subscriber acquisition (46%)
  • Automated/triggered messages (43%)
  • Personalization (36%)
  • Segmentation (21%)

For email marketing, retailers have invested in:

  • New email service provider (50%)
  • Mobile applications (49%)
  • New e-commerce platform (46%)
  • Mobile website optimization (43%)

The whitepaper is available for download.