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According to the Rakuten Shopping Secrets survey, conducted with consumers over seven markets, Americans will spend almost 14 hours shopping for friends and loved ones this year. This breaks down to 3.94 trips per person, spending an average of 3.5 hours per trip. Children, partners and moms were found to take the most dedication when shopping at 90 minutes, 77 minutes and 70 minutes respectively.

The survey revealed the most difficult person to buy gifts for is a spouse or partner (20%), followed by mom (12%), dad (10%) and finally children (9%). However, some Americans find the shopping ordeal pretty easy with 20% saying they find "no one" difficult to buy for. These may have been the same respondents that admitted they spend around half an hour treating themselves to a little retail therapy.

Read more: Rakuten Shopping Secrets survey results

For local business success you need word-of-mouth marketing and of course a great product, but you cannot ignore the importance of an online presence. You have to establish a strong web identity, which means well-constructed SEO to be sure your business appears among relevant search results on Google and other search engines.

The need for SEO for a local business is so great, that most will not survive without a plan to capture local online searches. Here’s four facts about SEO that are undeniably important and should drive SMBs to devote resources to SEO strategies:

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser Blog

Whether you’re an online or traditional retailer or even in the supply chain or licensing business, competition is something you always want to keep an eye out for. Many retailers have tried to fend off competition with price wars, which means lowering their prices to stay more competitive in their industry. This is not always the right approach—customers seek value and do not want the most inexpensive product out there, especially if it looks low-quality.

In today’s economy, many retailers are seeing that higher quality with higher prices can be the best solution.

Read more: 4 Ways to Make More Money

Mind Candy, the global entertainment company behind the Moshi Monsters franchise, today launched World of Warriors, an epic adventure and combat strategy game, exclusively on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In World of Warriors players must amass an army of history’s greatest warriors to defeat a power-hungry warlord and his evil Skull Army.

Read more: Mind Candy’s World of Warriors Now Live on the App Store

Smartphone apps have radically changed the way people shop, and retail businesses that don't adapt risk losing money. A study by UsableNet found that more than 10 percent of smartphone users have used their phone in-store to look up product information and compare prices. Consumers still want the experience of talking with a salesperson and seeing the product in person, so the brick-and-mortar store isn't a thing of the past yet. Here are some of the best smartphone apps out there to help drive foot traffic into your stores.

Read the full article on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

As we prepare to kick off the holiday shopping season with two of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s a good time to look back and take stock of how much the retail industry has changed in just one year.

Last year, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craze was all about m-commerce – especially optimizing the mobile experience for the holiday season. And indeed, TechCrunch reported that overall online sales saw a 19% increase on Black Friday 2013, but mobile sales surged 43%. Cyber Monday also saw record-breaking results: e-commerce sales increased by 20% from 2012-2013 while m-commerce sales increased by 55% year-over year, according to Mashable. The question is, how will the Black Friday Weekend, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be different in 2014?

For much of 2014 retailers have taken note of the general rise in popularity of online retail channels, and have wondered whether brick-and-mortar retail would survive to see another holiday season. But on the brink of Black Friday Weekend 2014, brick-and-mortar retail has never been more relevant – and online retail channels are just as critical.

Read more on the Retail Merchandiser blog

“Stores are wonderful. You can examine all the stuff for sale, and then buy it cheaper from another company online!” Sound familiar? This modern consumer tactic, commonly known as showrooming, is expected to continue during the upcoming holiday season. While some retailers perceive the practice as a threat, smart merchants are beginning to use it as an opportunity. With the help of in-store analytics technologies, stores can take action to convert showroomers into brick-and-mortar buyers.

A 2014 retail survey by Accenture reveals that in-store shopping is rebounding in popularity, but still needs improvement. The good news is that data capture and analytics technologies for brick-and-mortar environments can help retail organizations provide their customers with the best possible in-store experience. These solutions provide information to help decision-makers better understand today’s multichannel shoppers, delivering the equivalent of clickstream analytics for walk-in stores.

Read more on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

Your retail store’s design is one of the most crucial elements of your success. The impact you make on your customer when they first walk in the door is what stays with them forever, so when they hear or see your name anywhere they think of the design. A lot of store owners, however, decide to focus on the interior more than the exterior. The walls, lighting, layout, and colors are all important elements of your design, but the real eye-catcher happens before the customer even walks in the door. The moment the potential customer sees your store, they immediately record this image in their mind because this design is how they’ll find you from now on. That image is their first impression.

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser Blog

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