BrainTrust Query: E-Commerce Has December Advantage
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hurlbut & Associates blog.
There’s been a lot written about the growth of online shopping, especially on the year-over-year increases of Cyber Monday. What’s been clear for several years is that e-commerce is taking more market share with each Christmas season and that’s affecting brick ‘n’ mortar retailers more and more.
Anecdotally, I’ve had a number of people suggest to me that, apart from the Black Friday mayhem, the malls and major chain retail stores just didn’t seem as busy as they once were during the holiday season, even in the past several years since the recession. The malls weren’t as crowded. Lines at checkout weren’t as long. Parking spaces were easier to find. I felt the same way when I was out in the stores.
What I believe is that e-commerce business not only peaks during the Christmas season, but so does e-commerce market share. The Christmas selling season is when the hassle of heading out to the stores is the greatest. It’s so much easier to get what you need from your laptop or smartphone. Call it the e-commerce convenience advantage. At Christmas time, e-commerce clearly has a convenience advantage over brick ‘n’ mortar retailers that isn’t so much the case the rest of the year.
The major national chains have attempted to offset the convenience advantage through their own e-commerce sites. The very best independent retailers have sought to do the same within their niches, but the impact on them is still pretty significant. December is still the biggest month for most independent retailers, but it’s no longer quite the behemoth month it once was. You used to be able to count on December to make up for the vagaries and mistakes of the prior 11 months. December no longer packs quite the same punch it once did.
This is further reason why retailers have to be at the top of their game from the first day of the year right through to the last. The days of getting by without getting the very most out of your business day in and day out are over. Taking your business to the next level means taking your own retail business management skill set to the next level, now more than ever.
Discussion Questions: Do you see online shopping gaining an extra convenience advantage during the holiday shopping season? How can brick ’n mortar retailers best work with this principle? Are there any new drivers behind the online channel’s apparently accelerating momentum?