For those of you in the U.S. (and even for those of you who are not, but who like to celebrate scary stuff), Happy Halloween...the monsters and gremlins will be out in full force this evening. Keep an eye on the kids trick or treating, and make sure you have plenty of dry ice and candy corn.
Meanwhile, get ready to shop 'til you drop this coming holiday season at a PC near you.
Holy E-Shopping Carts, Batman, CNET noted this AM that Forrester announced a report that an additional 2.5 million U.S. shoppers would log on to the Net to shop this holiday season, and bring the estimated overall sales revenue to more than $18 billion.
That's a 25 percent jump over last year, and this despite the rise in energy costs and recent reports that suggested shaky consumer confidence. With that as a backdrop, don't forget that 96 percent of all retail sales are still done in the store. That provides retailers everywhere with a huge opportunity to create synergies between the online and offline shopping experience.
Our recent Investor Relations podcast series pointed out that shopping has become much more than a simple exchange of money for goods and services. It is an experience, a form of self-therapy (although I wouldn't advise talking to the mannequins in the window displays at your local mall).
Apple's retail stores, Nike's store in NYC, Starbucks, Border's Books, any Best Buy. These are brand experiences -- places where you can learn and shop and sometimes even just be.
So, while I head over to Golfsmith.Com to check out those Taylor Made RACs I've been dreaming about (you know, the dream where I give Tiger, Ernie, and Michelle lessons on how to improve their swings and get more distance on their drives), check out our recent podcast entitled "The Future of Shopping." It's a fascinating look into the stores -- and customers -- of the future, and features two IBM retail industry experts, Joe Gagnon and Chris Wong.
Just make sure your credit card is safely tucked away first.