The final sales from the holiday shopping season won’t be officially in for a month, but one thing is for sure: Amazon came out the clear winner.
Big surprise. (Insert sarcasm font.)
We’ve noted in the past that the retail industry is in flux as it adjusts to the emergence of e-tailing, especially among mobile phone users. According to Amazon, 60% of its shoppers used a mobile device this season and that its sales through the Amazon app doubled.
Amazon rocked during the holiday season and the online retailer is the main point of contention for the brick and mortar retailers. They are simply at a loss at how they can combat the growing effect of e-commerce.
Sure, most – if not all – retailers have their own apps and websites from which shoppers can buy Christmas gifts. Many offered consumers the chance to order from the store itself if the product was not in stock.
But Amazon’s large inventory, with even products from the competition, makes it a far easier and simple choice for those wanting to get the right gift – and buy it quickly.
The tactics retailers are employing are all fine and dandy, but most miss the most important point: Each retailer must own something. I’m not specifically talking about becoming specialty shops. I’m more in the mind of what Sears used to be: The place where you bought appliances and Craftsman tools. Now, Sears has become so enamored of being everything to everybody, it’s become irrelevant.
The same thing has happened at JC Penney, Kmart and many others. It is, therefore, no surprise that, according to a MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse survey, that the top sales came from jewelry and women’s apparel. Niches, so to speak.
There is another element, of course, of which retailers fail miserably. Few of them have any emotional meaning to customers. They are simply looked at as warehouses with products inside them. The only reason to go to one is simply based on location. Their pull as destinations is waning.
By next Christmas, expect to see even greater sales for the likes of Amazon and the brick and mortar stores to continue to flounder.