So What Happened?

The “experts” have already begun to analyze retail sales for the fourth quarter, in spite of the fact that there are some significant shopping days still ahead before the end of the year.

We’re hearing that retail sales were down in most major categories, which makes me wonder. If you’re a retailer, has anyone asked you for your Christmas figures? If not, where do the numbers come from? I’m willing to bet that most of the stores where I shopped this year have never been polled. Does that mean that my purchases don’t count? Do I have to shop at Wal-Mart or Target to be included in the sales figures? If you know the answers to any of these questions, let us know.

Another interesting trend this season, Amazon.com had a significant increase. Apparently consumers were more inclined in 2008 to shop online. But this fact also raises questions? Why the increase in online shopping? Christmas shopping used to be fun. Has the brick and mortar experience deteriorated to the point that people would rather sit in front of a computer screen than spend a few hours actually touching and feeling the merchandise before they buy? Are Amazon’s prices so enticing that shoppers just can’t resist?

I think independent retailers (and the chains too, for that matter) should look carefully at the shopping experience being delivered to the consumer. Are we doing everything we can to make the typical shopper want to come into our stores? If not, what can we do better? Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I just can’t believe that so many people would rather avoid the whole hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping in favor of sitting alone in front of a computer screen. Of course I’m sitting alone in front of a computer screen right now, so what do I know.

Happy Boxing Day!

2 Responses

  1. Thank you.

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