Following the US January 2016 retail results, retail expert Dan Wagner gives his input.

The January figures may be a welcomed result for retailers, but strong employment, wage gains and a sharp reduction in oil prices, played a much bigger part in keeping sales above level. Dan Wagner advises that retailers need to invest in a solid omni-channel sales strategy, in order to engage consumers, who are increasingly buying goods on their mobiles, and be ready for any pitfalls in the future, should fortunes in sales change.

Dan Wagner, Founder and CEO of Powa Technologies, comments on US January 2016 retail sales data: “The Commerce Department’s January retail sales of a 0.2 percent gain in January shouldn’t be met with great excitement among retailers, even though the figure was slightly higher than what was anticipated. Sales were supported by wage gains, strong employment and the continued downward spiral of gasoline prices.

He added: “While the January retail sales figure is a welcome relief from last year’s dismal growth in sales, it would be prudent to remain cautious over how sales for the rest of the year will unfold. For instance, the National Retail Federation’s forecast for US 2016 retail sales, released on Wednesday, predicted 3.1 percent sales growth, excluding autos, gasoline and restaurant meals. While this is decent sales growth, it remains to be seen if this will actually occur. For those with short memories, the NRF predicted 2015 sales growth at 4.1 percent but fell well short of that mark last year, the weakest year since 2009.”

“Retailers must take the necessary steps to create a solid omni-channel sales strategy; in order to minimize the impact of the real possibility of continued less-than-stellar sales growth this year. Those who can successfully integrate the online and offline worlds will be in the best position to fully engage consumers who are increasingly buying products from their smartphones and other digital devices, no matter where they are located. If companies don’t make investments in this transformative technology, then they will be left behind while others embracing innovative solutions will sprint ahead.”

Dan Wagner is the CEO & Founder of Powa Technologies, an online and mobile commerce retail solutions company. Powa is a Unicorn company worth over $2billion that works with over 1700 retailers worldwide.