E-retailers are improving their conversion rates by fine-tuning their site searches. BabyAge.com gives users thumbnail photos with their results; golf retailer 3balls.com enables shoppers to refine their results; and CDW, which sells computer products, has added a dynamic taxonomy.
Wal-Mart is the lone retailer expected to make gains for December, projected to see a 2.8% increase for the month as the rest of the industry drops 6.3%. The retailer "is winning because it provides its customers with more value and merchandise," one analyst said. "That's so important right now because consumers are extremely careful with their money."
Home-improvement retailers might not have had stellar years, but they did better than expected, having been hit early on from fallout from the troubled housing market. Still, Home Depot and Lowe's are closing stores and reducing their expansion plans.
At last year's BIG Show, Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" wowed attendees with his sincerity and knowledge. This year's speaker lineup includes Best Buy's Dan Moe, author of "Retail: The Art and Science," and Michael Gates Gill, author of "How Starbucks Saved My Life."