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4 Reasons Omnichannel Retailers Came Out Ahead This Holiday Season

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    Omnichannel retailers captured the most sales over Thanksgiving weekend, and that trend didn't change over the course of the entire holiday season — to put it simply, omnichannel retailers won big, according to new research from the International Council of Shopping Centers.

    Consumers spent an average of $711 on gifts this holiday season, up 16% from 2015, and nearly 70% of holiday sales occurred in stores with both an online and physical presence. From successfully integrating technology to boosting foot traffic, the next slides explain the four main reasons omnichannel retailers dominated last year. 

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    1. Millennials Use Technology To Enhance Physical Shopping

    Consumers love technology, but they still prefer shopping in a physical store provided that store offers an omnichannel experience. A staggering 86% of Millennials used a mobile device to enhance the in-store shopping experience, doing things like comparing prices, checking availability and reading reviews, and 96% ended up buying something from those stores. Brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly adapting to the trend, noting that technology will help, not replace, physical stores.

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    2. Consumers Prefer Omnichannel Over Amazon

    When given the choice between shopping online from retailers with or without a physical location, consumers overwhelmingly chose to buy from sellers with physical locations. Taking into account both in-store and online sales, 69% of total sales this holiday season went to omnichannel retailers. Purely online retailers, like Amazon, only captured 25% of total sales.

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    3. Omnichannel Helps Shopping Centers With Placemaking, Drives Impulse Buys

    Omnichannel retailers a help center create a sense of place, transforming it from a place to buy the occasional gift to a place you want for a social hangout you frequent during the weekends. Omnichannel efforts at malls boosted traffic this holiday season, with 70% of adults visiting malls during the period and many staying to buy more than they originally intended, ICSC research shows. On top of the 73% of mall-goers who shopped, 45% ate at a restaurant and 26% saw a movie.

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    4. Gift Cards Are Still Huge

    Omnichannel boosts gift card sales by melding the in-store experience with online services, making it easier to buy and use gift cards. Gift cards are still a critical holiday item for most retailers, and 63% of shoppers chose to buy them this season, according to the ICSC survey. That makes gift cards a more popular choice than apparel, footwear, toys and games, giving another boost to omnichannel retailers.