Holiday Retailing 2008: Surviving the Toughest Holiday Retailing Season in 25 Years

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SmartReply Releases Industry Guide to Support Retailers called "How to Survive and Thrive the 2008 Holiday Marketing Season"

How to Survive and Thrive the 2008 Holiday Marketing Season

If the last few weeks have taught us anything at all, it's that no industry giant or business is recession-proof. Not even the last bastion of Wall Street's banking elite. In this time of economic uncertainty, recession fears have become self-fulfilling prophesies. Strategies have edged over from prudence into phobia, and the consumer conga line has slowed to a crawl. Grim economic reports continue daily, playing on the deep fears of retailers and consumers alike, magnifying market ebbs into tidal waves.

These are the realities of today's marketplace. Welcome to the 2008 Holiday Retailing Season.

For retailers especially, the announcement by the NRF (National Retail Federation), has confirmed their worst nightmare - Holiday 2008 is going to be a tough one. Two forecasts last week pointed to the weakest holiday sales growth since 1991. Both Deloitte Research and TNS Retail Forward, who used different metrics, confirmed that 2008 holiday sales will be much weaker than last year and the worst performance in over 25 years.

NRF's initial forecast echoes their findings. The trade organization announced that 2008 holiday sales are expected to grow at the slowest pace since 2002, as shoppers worry about jobs, the housing and stock markets and high gas and food prices. Holiday hiring is down and anxiety is high - even luxury retailers are concerned about the ripple-effect.

So with all the doom and gloom, what can retailers do to stay ahead of the curve and thrive this season?

"They need to put their marketing dollars to work smarter and harder, for starters," says Eric Holmen, president of SmartReply , the largest voice, mobile and loyalty solutions provider to US retail and consumer products industries. The most urgent and immediate need is for cost-effective solutions that can be implemented with speed and precision. Marketers don't have the luxury of time or experimentation right now. They must engage customers and create loyalty in a precarious environment, where consumers are less receptive to traditional forms of advertising than ever before.

With retailers counting heavily on this season to tide them over through next year, it has become critical to make it a successful trading period. Many retailers have already incorporated mobile and voice campaigns into their holiday marketing mix, recognizing that these medium are increasingly accepted by US consumers as welcome and preference-based communications. For retailers, the ability to deliver welcomed messages that provide value at a time when consumers need it most - is key. And for the company's clients, who make up many of the country's major retailers, speed to market and significantly low advertising costs is what they want right now.

To support retailers and existing clients, SmartReply has released an industry guide called "How to Survive and Thrive the 2008 Holiday Marketing Season" SmartReply's Must Do List for Surviving the 2008 Holiday Retailing Crisis - outlining steps that businesses should action right now to make it a successful holiday season.

To download a copy of SmartReply's guide "How to Survive and Thrive in the 2008 Holiday Marketing Season", please visit;

http://www.smartreply.com/white_papers/wp08_holiday/?mtyp=reg&pg=pr

While there is no simple way to recession-proof the holiday season, there are some business and marketing practices that just make better sense. And cents.

For for information about SmartReply, please visit http://www.smartreply.com or contact Vanessa Horwell at 786.206.7883 or vanessahorwell@strategicvantage.com.

About SmartReply
Creating Environments for Respectful and Engaging Communications
Founded in 2001, SmartReply offers companies a powerful combination of new media communication channels including voice marketing, mobile marketing, email and interactive voice response. With over 120 major retailers, financial services organizations and healthcare companies as clients, SmartReply is the largest and most trusted provider of voice messaging and mobile marketing solutions across the US and Canada. As the only mobile and voice services provider that is Payment Card Industry (PCI) Certified, SmartReply's clients and partners are uniquely positioned to utilize the latest in marketing technologies combined with added protection of the industry's highest data security and compliance standards. The company leverages innovative marketing technologies to drive down overall marketing costs while optimizing response rates, dramatically increasing revenues and strengthening brand affinity for its clients. Headquartered in Irvine, California, information for partners and clients can be found at http://www.SmartReply.com or by calling (800)-785-6769.

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VANESSA HORWELL
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