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Predictions for 2011: Act Now! Retailers will continue to find innovative ways to get you to buy…today.

While at a recent planning department meeting, the discussion turned to predictions for 2011. I had been on vacation  and came back to the office totally blank. I couldn’t think of a single trend so I thought about what I did over my holiday break. And for me, that was some serious shopping.

In the month of December, I went to at least three one-day sales at Neiman Marcus Last Call prompted by an email the day before. I got online event notices that sent me to Gilt Groupe’s website for some daily sales where I waited for their ticking clock to indicate that buying could start and tried to grab a few things as “sold out” buttons began appearing. I checked Loehmann’s one-day deals on Facebook and I opted-in to a few daily Groupon deals.

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Essentially, I had been part of a 2010 trend that I think will continue into 2011 and beyond….the rise of “flash” sales and “mob” deals. The tough economy has spurred many retailers to find more inventive ways of getting people into stores (both real and virtual) with quick-hit discounts and group opt-in deals to boost slumping sales.

The digital world has become the perfect place to spread the word. Online gets offers out faster than ever before. No need to sift through inserts in the paper, now the discounts and deals you want are sitting in your in-box, every day.

Locally, Austin retailers are adding their own spin on this growing trend. Betty Sport, a local active wear store offered up “instant” coupons at their anniversary event. The kicker was that you didn’t know what discount (anywhere from 10% to $100 off) you’d get until checkout. Shoppers packed into their tiny store ready to try their luck at getting the really great deal.

Another local clothing boutique, Kickpleat, posts photos of their sales items on their website with updates on price reductions. When a cocktail dress I had been eyeing went to half-off, they got me into their store…that day.

Well, I’m off to check my e-mails because as I’ve been writing this post, at least one sales alert will have hit my in-box and time is running out.

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