According to an article by Ann Zimmerman of WSJ.com, people bought $36.4B of stuff from online retailers this holiday season (between October 31and December 23).
This represents an increase of 15.4% over the same period last year. Online retail sales now account for about 10% of all retail sales – excluding gas and automobile purchases. 1 in 10 dollars made in retail this holiday season was made over the internet via ecommerce enabled websites.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that the sector that experienced the largest growth was specialty clothing retailers –up 25% over last year. This is interesting because most of us like to try stuff out – especially things we need to wear.
What does this say about our perceptions of the buying experience? Continue reading
On my smart phone I have two apps called TheFind and Red Laser. They allow me to effortlessly comparison shop wherever I happen to have 3G. This means I can comparison shop within the walls of any brick-and-mortar retail establishment. I have become what some have coined an “empowered shopper.”
In a WSJ.com article by Miguel Bustillo and Ann Zimmerman state that on Black Friday of 2009 empowered shoppers represented .1% of all shoppers that patronized brick-and-mortar retail stores. On Black Friday 2010 empowered shoppers represented 5.6% according to data gathered by Coremetrics.
How worried you are about this trend is dependent upon what type of business you are. If you are a provider of unique or vital services or utilities this trend may be interesting, but not alarming. If you are a seller of things online, this problem is not really new to you as online retailers have always been susceptible to instantaneous price comparison. But, for brick-and-mortar retailers this trend may be alarming. To some it may, like so many other technologies, represent the end of retail as we know it.
This trend may be alarming, but it does not represent the end of brick-and-mortar retail – just the end of it as we know it. These apps like so many other technologies will not ruin retail. The internet has not ruined newspapers or magazines (although it has certainly strained things) and Facebook has not completely ruined face-to-face interaction with your friends.
Here are some suggestions, from the marketing professional perspective, we have for our friends in brick-and-mortar retail: Continue reading