Ahh, the holidays. A perfect time for retailers to prepare for a marketing blitz and provide a number of unbeatable deals that customers will eat up – especially when Black Friday comes around in November. However, the real question is what kind of marketing will take top priority.

According to a study from eBay Enterprise released earlier in the week, it appears that digital will be taking the top spot. The 2014 Holiday Retail Audit report, which surveyed over 1,000 retailers online across the board, showed that 63 percent would use online tools more than any other marketing strategy during the holiday season. Social media will take a strong focus on this, according to the report, with possible “flash deals” and other specials. Email promotions followed in second place with 22 percent, while search engine optimization was close behind in third, with 12 percent.

Even though it’s deemed a “competitive weakness,” 32 percent of retailers said they planned to utilize mobile commerce over the course of the season, but didn’t mention specifics. Half of that percentile will be trying it out for the first time – a possibly risky move, but one that could pay off reaching out to the right audience.

Customer data, however, will retain a huge focus. Nearly 90 percent of retailers believe they’re prepared to capture customers’ data in-store, while 54 percent were a bit concerned about keeping said data protected. A majority of those seemed to be larger retailers, who expect anywhere from $50 to $250 million when it comes to online revenue. Considering the recent breaches with Target and Home Depot over the past few months, data protection is a high concern with these companies.

In comparison to Amazon, a big competitor in the holiday season, 60 percent of retailers feel that their mobile commerce doesn’t quite stack up. However, Tom Barone, head of North America omnichannel operations for eBay Enterprise, believes that they can keep up simply by increasing delivery speed. “Multichannel retailers can optimize their brick-and-mortar locations as distribution points to fulfill orders closest to customer location, reducing shipping times and cost through inventory and order management solutions,” he says.

It’ll be interesting to see what approach these retailers take in the months ahead. The shopping madness is about to begin.

Source: Clickz