So, here we are! Right smack in the middle of the hottest season for retail. Many retailers are reaping the benefits of the holidays while others aren’t quite seeing the growth they may have expected. A few of the articles I read this week point out the differences between those that are smiling and those that are scratching their heads.
In this article that describes the disruptive trends that threaten retailers, there is a great Darwin quote: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” The seven disruptions that the author describes are spot on to what we think retailers need to focus on to capture marketshare and win their respective segments. But what’s important here is that retailers must adapt to not only these seven but also the next trend, and the next and the next or they’ll be on the next ‘dinosaur’ list.
Although analysts expected a strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday due to falling gas prices, the numbers didn’t quite live up to the hype. Black Friday sales dropped 11% from last year, and while Cyber Monday rose 8%, it was below most predictions. However, the companies in this article were able to oversome the drop in consumer spending. But how did they do it? They highlight a few key factors: personal, frequent and social communications with customers; technology updates; and a consistent shopping experience across multiple channels.
This article provides a great overview of not only what TO DO but what NOT to do during the holiday and cites several examples of companies that are doing it right and those that are not. What it seems to boil down to is customer experience and loyalty – which involves promotional strategy, inventory availability, online vs. in-store experience and even culture. There is a contingency that believes that retailers should not be open on Thanksgiving to allow their employees to spend the holiday with their families. While they complain about it on social outlets, it’s not clear whether it ultimately affects sales.