How should retailers handle the holidays after Black Friday?
December 09, 2014

For many retailers, Black Friday represents a major tipping point in the holiday shopping season. It's the point where a lot of stores seek to gain customers from the bargain hunters and early birds who would like to get their shopping done sooner rather than later. But more importantly, these merchants will be able to make a decent profit out of large amounts of sales. However, what if those sales aren't actually materializing? How does a retailer manage to get their fair stake during the holiday shopping season if it's off to a bad start? Through effective reading of consumer data through mobile point of sales solutions, they will already have a plan in place.

Crashing down
While the National Retail Foundation attempted to spin things in a positive light, the news did not look good for retail, based on initial reports. Black Friday 2014 took a downturn on all aspects. Average spending went down from 2013 during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend by nearly $28 to $380.95 per shopper, overall consumer traffic declined by 7.4 million unique shoppers and 15.3 million trips, and overall spending decreased by $6.5 billion. The only increase was in non-gift purchases through Black Friday discounts, and that increased less than one percent.

The reasons for the losses vary. The NRF claims that shopping has diversified over the years as part of the omnichannel shopping experience. With the rise of 24/7 shopping online and Cyber Monday taking a major role in affecting sales, it seems likely that there was some impact on where and how customers shopped. But while Cyber Monday did gain an increase in sales, the gains were most seen from before and during the holiday weekend, with double-digit increases in sales. In addition, Cyber Monday sales only reached $2 billion for this year.

There are other factors that have been in play. Many stores are spreading out holiday deals much earlier in the holiday shopping season, usually in the weeks before Thanksgiving. But given that the holiday shoppers were slow to start this year based on previous reports, non-retail issues may be playing much larger factors in the decline. Over the weekend, the New York Times noted several protests in metropolitan areas as part of a boycott effort in the aftermath of a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that average hourly earnings have only increased 51 cents over the past year, which may be dissuading consumers from spending in the first place.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2