According to The 2006 State of Retailing Online from Shop.org, conducted by Forrester Research, online sales will top $200 billion this year, after reaching $100-billion only three years ago. 2006 online sales (including travel) are expected to rise 20 percent to $211.4 billion. Sales excluding travel will reach $138 billion.

The largest non-travel categories this year will include

- Computer hardware and software ($16.8 billion)
- Autos and auto parts ($15.9 billion)
- Apparel, accessories, and footwear ($13.8 billion)
- Pet supplies and cosmetics and fragrances are expected to experience growth rates over 30 percent, more than any other categories.

According to the report, online sales last year rose 25 percent to $176.4 billion. Excluding travel, online retail sales rose 28 percent to $113.6 billion, representing 4.7 percent of total retail sales in 2005.

Multichannel strategies by retailers to sell merchandise and also to increase store sales include:

- 79% of retailers have consistent pricing across channels
- 46% allow their customers to buy and redeem gift cards online and in stores
- 33% give customers the ability to accrue loyalty program points across channels
- 26% offer in-store product information online
- Retailers reported that 22 percent of offline sales are influenced by the Web, and 38% of online customers are new to a company's entire business.

Scott Silverman, Executive Director of Shop.org, said "... encouraging different channels to work together, instead of in isolation, ...is paying off for companies in the form of higher sales."

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