While some are cautious about what the first 100 days of President Donald J. Trump’s administration might bring, many retail executives are optimistic about 2017.
TD Bank surveyed a select group of industry executives who attended the National Retail Federation’s Big Show convention on Jan. 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The survey indicated that of the 173 executives polled, 74 percent believe sales will increase in the next 12 months, with 18.5 percent believing sales will remain steady. Further, 48.6 percent of retailers reported that they met their revenue goals in 2016, while 33 percent said they exceeded their revenue goals last year, TD Bank said.
Of the 173 executives polled, 24.9 percent said their business vertical was apparel; 20.8 percent in technology; 10.4 percent in food, drug or mass merchant, and 9.3 percent in specialty retail. In addition, 5.2 percent said their vertical was the department store channel, 4.1 percent in footwear and 2.3 percent in jewelry.
Among the key findings, more than one-third — 43 percent — of retailers said a credit promotional finance program was either extremely or moderately important to their business. Further, 46 percent said that most consumers seeking financing options when making purchases are Gen Xers, those consumers between ages 35 and 54.
TD Bank, which provides commercial lending programs to businesses, also asked the executives what factors they consider important when evaluating financing partners. The top consideration for 20.6 percent of those polled wanted customizable programs, followed by 16.9 percent seeking quality of customer service. Credibility of lender placed third at 15.3 percent.
The executives were also asked how they saw mobile technology being applicable to the credit sales process within the next two years. Most respondents — at 43.4 percent — expect customers will browse, apply and buy online. Second, at 30.6 percent, was the expectation customers would browse online, and then apply and buy in a store, followed by 23 percent who said customers would browse in the store and then apply and buy online.
David Boone, TD Bank’s executive vice president for U.S. card partnerships and shared services, said, “The biggest challenge for retailers is the balance of traditional commerce with online and mobile commerce and ensuring customers at every channel are having the same positive, inspiring and legendary experience.”