Traffic Picks Up on the E-tail Superhighway

Discussion
Dec 22, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Retailing, it turns out, like nature, abhors a vacuum.


As stores in New York look for ways to cope with the impact of a transit strike that has put thousands in the city on foot, their online extensions and rivals are swooping in to capture unspent holiday dollars from consumers without a strap to hang onto.


Heather Dougherty, an analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, said, “This is definitely a way to recoup lost sales that they feel from the transit strike.”


According to The Associated Press, “Officials from Toys R Us Inc. and Bluefly.com, an online seller of discounted designer apparel, reported big surges in traffic and sales on Tuesday.” The transit strike went citywide on the same day. 


Moderator’s Comment: What type of impact will the NYC transit strike have on online sales this holiday season? Will shoppers in New York that go online
to make purchases because of the strike reduce the amount of purchases they make in physical stores in future holidays as a result?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Traffic Picks Up on the E-tail Superhighway"


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Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

An inability to get into the city to work and shop may not have a huge impact on online shopping because of the timing, as has been pointed out, but it may encourage people for future occasions. I’m not sure to what extent grudges will be held for inconvenience but if shoppers have to find alternative outlets for their money this time around, they may well stick with that route later on.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 2 months ago

Believe it or not, few of we non-elite New Yorkers give a hoot in heck about business in the Big Apple. Out here in the untamed wilderness, we’re doing just fine. Our stores are open and we can get to them. But, during conversations at Starbucks, we do agonize over problems in “the greatest city in the world.” We feel their pain.

But it’s their pain, not ours, and we encourage them to deal with it. Christmas sales nationally will not be significantly impacted by New Yorkers’ temporary transportation dilemma. If it encourages some of them to go to the internet to make their purchases – knowing that delivery will most likely be post-Christmas – then that’s the American Way. Somehow they’ll have to deal with receiving “Amazing Amanda” a few days late. Perhaps Santa was affected by the transit strike, too.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

It’s one more shove from brick to click, certainly, and I agree with earlier posts here. This will also provide a boost to suburban NYC stores, as people will shop there rather than braving a trip into the city. (I assume Metro North and the Long Island RR are still running.)

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 2 months ago

One wild card here is whether merchandise ordered online for NYC delivery will get delivered on the date promised. With the traffic jams, I’ll bet some of it doesn’t. Another effect could be to drive some sales back to local merchants, as people work from home, and get out of the house only as far as they can walk.

Mark Burr
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

Based on the date being so close, even anything off the net is likely to be late. Remember, it’s virtual only in regards to the portal through which the purchase is being made.

I really think that it means little to the overall e-tailing scheme of things in the long run. It’s only New York City, and after all, as Doc points out, those of us out here in the wilderness will get into our vehicle of choice and mosey on down to enjoy the last Marshall Field’s Christmas.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 2 months ago
The negative impact on New York City retailing is tremendous. Store employees can’t get to work on time, if they show up at all. Tourists will be scared off if the strike lasts much longer. People who live hand-to-mouth can’t get to work, so they can’t buy their Christmas presents. New York City is a last-minute Christmas shopping town, and the fact that Chanukah and Christmas coincide makes things worse, because the proportion of Jews in New York City is quite high. The Christmas trade, due to the tourism component, lasts through the first week in January. If the strike goes much longer, that will be heavily damaged. Some people will buy their presents online, but for many, the shopping experience isn’t worthwhile unless they personally pick out the merchandise in person, wrap it themselves, and give it to their loved ones in person. Furthermore, a high proportion of the New York City economy is cash based, and people who live in the world of cash-only cannot easily buy things online.
W. Frank Dell II
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

I predict there will be some increase in internet sales due to the NYC transit strike, but not related to Christmas. Christmas internet sales ended on Monday, December 19th for merchandise to arrive by the 24th. The increase in sales will be for other than Christmas merchandise which consumers want or need, but are unable to travel to the store. The result could be from transfer of sales from brick to click, but mostly for known merchandise.

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