Consumer demands on shopping and purchasing practices will have a very large impact on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and shopping patterns. This year may be a turning point for the market from a retail saturation perspective and start a shift in the consumer purchasing and shopping practices that change the retail market dramatically. Last year saw an increase in the electronic sales while the brick and mortar sales remained relatively flat. Since that time consumers have expanded their embrace of the technology and there has been an increase in collaborative shopping tools that will impact the holiday and especially Black Friday shopping and purchasing to tip the scales again in favor of eCommerce.
One factor that will be very interesting to see is the impact of Amazon on the fashion and apparel market and sales over the holiday season and especially the Black Friday weekend. I think that this can be one of the greatest factors in driving the change that consumers have embraced into the retail market. Amazon is a pervasive brand and now add to this fashion apparel product and the impact on brick and mortar sales can be dramatic. I see this as a key factor to increasing consumer ‘window shopping’ in the brick and mortar stores and purchasing online through Amazon to simplify the product purchase and delivery. I have said for a while that retailers need to promote the combination of purchasing in the store and shipping to the consumer’s home to eliminate dragging the purchases around while shopping during Black Friday. Now we will be able to test out this theory with the entry of Amazon into the fashion marketplace.
I think that retailers may be realizing they have reached the saturation point from a brick and mortar perspective because we are also seeing a reduction in the number of retailers store hours on Black Friday. This could be the result of two reactions;
- Realization and acceptance of the eCommerce opportunity to increase sales without an increase in store hours.
- Pushback from employees and even consumers as a result of the crazy expansion of hours. It could be that employees and consumers are simply saying enough is enough.
This is more than likely the result of the brick and mortar sales results from last year and the retailer's acceptance that they cannot increase sales simply by opening the store earlier on Thanksgiving! This year we see the trends of more major malls and many of the retailers not opening on Thanksgiving. I think this is more the realization that the retailers have saturated the time period to the point limited return,or potentially negative return resulting from longer store hours.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors. How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience? Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes. In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas. How can you support these continuously changing requirements?