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Retailers Reveal Their Holiday Plans

NEW YORK — With Black Friday fast approaching, retailers including, Best Buy, Target, RadioShack and Toys“R”Us have shared their holiday strategies, which include expanded assortments, increased multichannel options and ubermarketing campaigns.

For the first time, Amazon is allowing its third-party sellers to feature their holiday deals on its high-traffic holiday shopping pages, including the “Gold Box Today’s Deal” page, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal pages, and category-specific holiday pages.

The most popular holiday categories, including CE and toys, will have numerous deals each day from various sellers throughout the holiday selling season, the e-tailer noted.

Less trumpeted was a higher order minimum to qualify for Free Super Saving Shipping, which Amazon quietly raised from $25 to $35.

Best Buy, which has lost share to Amazon and other online retailers, is taking on showrooming in a series of lighthearted holiday spots that began airing last week. The commercials, featuring actors Will Arnett, LL Cool J, Maya Rudolph and Jason Schwartzman, highlight the chain’s multichannel capabilities and tout the benefits of its brick-and- mortar stores.

The celebrities appear in separate vignettes as storytellers relating tales of potential holiday shopping disasters that were averted by patronizing the No. 1 CE chain. The closing tagline: “Your ultimate holiday showroom.”

“Consumers want the right gifts, at the right price, as easily as possible,” said marketing senior VP Scott Moore. “Whether in store or online, there’s no better way to shop for consumer electronics this holiday.”

Target is also addressing multichannel by allowing customers to pick up select online orders at its stores for the first time. The service, which was pioneered 10 years ago by Circuit City, is limited to about 35,000 items including CE and home furnishings, but will not be available Thanksgiving week (Nov. 24-30).

The discounter’s holiday initiative also includes an extension of its one-week price-match window to cover the period of Nov. 1 to Dec. 21, and a multimedia marketing campaign dubbed “My Kind of Holiday” that will cross broadcast, radio, in-store, catalog, digital and social-media channels.

“This campaign will inspire people with products and ideas, compel them with unbeatable prices, and enable them to shop Target through the most digitally enabled effort in our history,” chief marketing officer Jeff Jones said.

RadioShack this week is also launching a comprehensive holiday campaign. The chain’s marketing executive VP Jennifer Warren told TWICE the effort, dubbed “Tech the Halls,” will tout the retailer’s breadth of name-brand products and reinforce RadioShack as a shopping destination for gifts. The campaign was inspired by consumer insights gleaned from some 2,000 customer interviews, and will encompass “broad media placement” including TV spots, circulars, email, local direct mail, online ads and social media, she said.

Toys“R”Us has similarly launched what it described as a fully integrated marketing campaign, encompassing digital, radio, print and TV advertising. The centerpiece is a reality TV spot that follows a group of underprivileged kids who are taken on a surprise trip to a Toys“R”Us store, where they are each allowed to select a complimentary toy.

“While the holidays are a busy time for families, we wanted our new marketing campaign to cause viewers to pause and be reminded of the true joy that lies at the center of gift-giving,” said the chain’s U.S. marketing senior VP Peter Reiner.

Other Toys“R”Us holiday enhancements include free layaway, an expanded price-match guarantee that that now includes online retailers, and an extended return policy that runs through Jan. 25, 2014.