Monday, October 25, 2010

Going On-line for Holiday Sales

Two Separate and unrelated articles from Chain Store Age last week:
First – Traditional Retail Holiday Sales
Chicago ( October 19, 2010 ) Sales during the upcoming holiday shopping season are expected to increase 2.9% versus last year, according to ShopperTrak’s Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE). The company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) forecasts a very slight 0.1% traffic decline for the same period.

Next – On-line Holiday Sales
Washington, D.C. ( October 21, 2010 ) A survey released Thursday by found that the majority of online retailers are expecting strong sales this holiday season.’s eHoliday Study, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 63.8% of retailers expect their company’s online sales to grow by 15% or more compared with last holiday season. That’s up from 45.7% of retailers who had those expectations last year.
Ok, let’s state an obvious fact.  On-line sales are growing this holiday, and it may mark an important year that the penny drops for most non-online equipped retailers and service providers.
An important speculation. We will soon be in a retail world where it is far easier to shop online than it is to shop in a store.  Wow, good for the consumer, bad for the retailer – and the provider of goods and services that are not heavily invested on-line.
What would you answer to the following hypothetical questions:
  1. Are you ready to go on-line and replace your traditional business if needed? 
  2. Does your product or service have a unique story – that is explainable on a screen the size on a phone?  You may not need the most unique product – but you need quick engagement. 
  3. What on-line market would you say you compete in?  Who are your competitors?  If you haven’t been carefully watching on-line, you may not even know your competitors names.   If your off-line market is a more traditional market, you may find that your on-line space is taken at this point while you weren’t watching.  So, is there a market where you can be competitive?  Go upmarket and be price competitive to luxury, go to adjacent categories and redefine your offering.  Offer something unique to what is online and say it clearly.  Remember, if you are compared to the wrong market, shoppers will be able to compare your price to competitors with just another click.
Let’s go figure this all out before it we miss the holiday.  This could be a great time.

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