What retailers are doing to get you shopping in August

This year the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will rise 3.6 percent — a significant jump from last year’s 3.2 percent. With less than two months before Christmas, here’s what retailers — the…

What retailers are doing to get you shopping in August

This year the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will rise 3.6 percent — a significant jump from last year’s 3.2 percent.

With less than two months before Christmas, here’s what retailers — the very ones that you buy from — are doing to get you shopping. The list contains recent developments, organized by category:

Baby and parenting

Gosha LLC, the a maternity and maternity-wear company, relaunched its line of maternity clothing on Wednesday. It will begin with 56 styles (and plans to offer 80 next year), priced from $99 to $119, including crop tops and dresses.

Kohl’s, the Milwaukee-based department store, launched its maternity section last month with styles from brands like Kate Spade New York, J.Crew and Rebecca Minkoff. The company says it expects to open five additional maternity locations.

The retailer also offers some free shipping, and for maternity styles, it charges only the standard $8 shipping fee. For other items, the fee is $5.

Amazon (also, Amazon) launched a maternity section in 2013, but has not announced when it plans to expand to the store level. When it did include maternity styles, the company charged $25 plus a $49.99 delivery fee for baby essentials such as bottles, strollers and car seats. For clothes, the price for the entire items in maternity was $49, or $79, depending on whether it was full-length or maxi.

Back to school

On July 30, Kmart launched full, free shipping on sales of $49 or more, with no minimum purchase required. It also said it will bring the number of holiday items it ships exclusively to customers to more than 5,000.

Kohl’s is offering free shipping on clothing purchased online until Nov. 24, with no minimum purchase requirement.

Target launched free, two-day shipping on nearly all items (and Cyber Monday sales) beginning Sunday. It offers free shipping to most customers in Canada, and through its membership card, Target REDcard Rewards.

More to come

As my colleague Luke Broadwater wrote last week, many retailers will have seasonal holiday openings, and others (including Best Buy) have shifted up their release dates in the hopes of enticing more people to shop early. Some, such as Walmart, are opening up their brick-and-mortar locations earlier in the year, perhaps giving customers more reason to want to shop in person.

Marketers are also pushing gift-giving incentives, with companies such as Gap getting rid of holiday coupons in favor of something called “happier customers,” which will print on all of the company’s plastic inventory cards.

Finally, John Fortin, senior manager of Digital Experience for Macy’s, revealed some strategies his department store is testing, noting that consumers expect delivery times to be faster, likely thanks to Target and Amazon, as well as online ordering capabilities.

For example, Macy’s is cutting down on the number of times the time it takes for a sweater to arrive, and customers are better informed by the number of items a particular sweater is sold out of, Fortin said.

“When you talk to customers, [they] really want to know where your product is — where they see that sweater they’re interested in,” he said.

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