Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Small Business Saturday.
The proliferation of industry-promoted shopping days has finally achieved the unintended (though inevitable) effect of taking the wind out of Black Friday’s sales. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent about $1.7 billion less this year on holiday shopping than they did in 2012. In other words, it was a dud.
Cyber-Monday Morning Quarterbacks like myself have all kinds of theories as to why the biggest shopping weekend of the year didn’t measure up to last’s. Here are my top three contenders for why sales were down, as well as a modest proposal on how to avoid a lackluster performance next year.
#1: Too many people chose the real world over the virtual one. As the New York Times reported: “Consumers who venture out from behind their computer screens to brave the packed parking lots and long lines of brick-and-mortar stores can find themselves in elbows-out, fists-flying confrontations that have traditionally distinguished the start of the most important shopping period of the year.” ‘Nuff said. Stay home. That’s what the Internet is for.
#2: Consumers don’t like being told what to do. Hard-selling four consecutive days on the already crowded holiday calendar as “must-do” shopping experiences goes against what we at Fluid advise every retail client: Let the customers choose where, when and how they shop. In an omni-channel world there is no need to brave the fists-flying crowds, so give your customers a break and encourage them to shop from the comfort (and safety) of their desktops and mobile devices.
#3: It’s better to receive than give. IMHO, the reason that sales were down is that the emphasis on giving is totally misplaced. Sorry Santa. I want to buy things for my loved ones as much as the next guy, but not if it means getting whacked on the noggin. That said, if I’m shopping for myself, I’m willing to make a little more effort and even risk contact sports (like going to Ikea on a Saturday.) By appealing to every customer’s self interest rather than altruism, the retail industry could drive sales through the roof.
The Solution: Coming to stores everywhere in 2014: Me-Day. Forget about what others want—spend the next 12 months refining your wish list to make shopping easy and rewarding…for you. To make your life easier (and that’s what really counts) download Amazon’s Universal Registry Button to your browser. It’s a one-stop solution to aggregating all of the stuff you really want so you don’t have to waste your time emailing product links to family and loved ones when your time is better spent picking out the things that will make you happy.
‘Tis the season…