Were there customers banging on your storefront, at-the-ready to stampede through your brick-and-mortar this Black Friday? If not, you weren’t alone. At no surprise to many retailers, Adobe Analytics reports that consumers made a record-breaking $2.1 billion in online sales on Black Friday. According to ShopperTrak, there was an overall 1.7 percent decrease in foot traffic during this year’s major shopping event. Still, the trend still forecast a stocking full of coal for retailers this holiday.
To the advantage of many business owners and customers alike, this December will offer more opportunities to shop with four Saturdays on the calendar before Christmas. ShopperTrak estimates that eight of the holiday’s biggest in-person shopping days are still ahead. Are you ready for them?
Target is just one of many retailers who have noticed the change in consumer spending patterns and has drawn out the spending season by creating a “Cyber Week.” Or a week-long, daily release of new doorbusters, available online.
More shoppers than ever before are traveling to stores to pick up items they purchased online. For some customers, heading to a brick-and-mortar for free shipping is worth the trade-off. For others, picking up merchandise in-store is a safer alternative to unattended packages on doorsteps. To counteract porch pirates, more police stations across the country are offering their services as free pick-up locations for your packages.
“If you have an online store, consider promoting free pick-up in your brick-and-mortar this holiday season to drum-up your foot traffic,” says Katy Albrecht, Publishing Editor of Off-Price Retailing Magazine. “Make your shipping options obvious on your website and email campaigns throughout December. You’re likely to earn a few add-on purchases when customers begin browsing your in-store selection. Also consider having a separate station for buy online, pick up in-store purchases for even faster check-out.”
According to the New York Times, “Walmart, Target and other retailers are also trying to keep customer frustration under control by equipping employees with mobile checkout technology, uploading store maps to their apps and offering shoppers free coffee and snacks this year.” Hashtags like #OptOut and #BuyNothingDay highlight the growing trend against participating in Black Friday shopping, whether it be for economic protest, personal preferences, or simply a desire to use the time off for events with family and friends instead.
“Psychologists call this reactance—when people are pressured in one direction, they can do a 180,” says Zlati Meyer, a Contributor for USA Today. “Overwhelmed by Black Friday ads and media coverage, shoppers may do the same thing as when confronted by a pushy car salesman and simply walk away.”
“Retailers can take advantage of this resistance by creating in-store events for one of the upcoming Saturdays in December,” says Albrecht. “Give your shoppers (and their friends) a reason to stop-in. Get creative! If you’re selling holiday pet apparel this year, host a Santa photoshoot for shoppers and their furry friends.”
“While the motivation to head over to a mall is dying, the desire to find good deals won’t change anytime soon,” says Karthik Easwar, a consumer expert at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. Give your customers the deals they’re craving year-round by shopping online through OFFPRICE365, or register to attend the next OFFPRICE Show, February 3-6, 2019, in Las Vegas.