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Positive Outlook for 2014 Holiday Season

It’s only October, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) released a report this month projecting sales in November and December to increase a “healthy” 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion. This number is higher than last year’s increase of 3.1 percent for the same time period. According to the NRF, this would be the first time since 2011 that holiday sales would rise more than four percent.

Improvements in key economic indicators (consumer credit, jobs, housing data, disposable personal income and previous months’ sales numbers) are going to give way to increased spending power, but it’s expected—as in previous years– that shoppers are going to be very price sensitive.

Although Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has long been the “official” start of the holiday shopping season, many eager retailers are not even waiting until Thanksgiving. It’s not uncommon to see holiday items in stores long before Halloween. The shopping season is getting longer; more promotions and Black Friday deals are being rolled out long before the actual day and as a result, there are more opportunities to save. People aren’t jumping at the first sale they see—they are willing to hold out to see if prices will drop even further.

This uptick in consumer spending would be a welcome change from 2014’s rocky start and slow summer season. But despite the optimistic holiday outlook, shoppers are expected to keep one eye on the country’s economic recovery and continue their never-ending quest for the lowest price.

Is your POS system ready for the holiday season? If you haven’t already enabled the digital receipt option on your POS terminals, it’s a good time to give it a try. pcAmerica’s Cash Register Express and Restaurant Pro Express have the capability to email customers digital receipts and vendor purchase orders in lieu of traditional paper ones.

Shoppers are rarely able to keep track of all the receipts they receive, but these proofs of purchase are important, especially as holiday shopping time begins. If a receipt is lost among wrapping paper and gift bags, shoppers may simply print out another copy instead of being forced to keep or re-gift an item they would rather return. The ability to make hassle-free returns moves customer service lines faster and increases the chance that people will shop at the store again.

E-receipts are a smart choice for businesses and their customers. Please contact your account manager at pcAmerica at 1-800-722-6374 to find out how you can start issuing digital receipts.