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Online or In Store?

by Hannah Stiff | Dec 11, 2019 1:49:54 PM

Where we’re at & what’s coming down the pike in holiday biz trends

Black Friday shoppers spent nearly $7.4 billion online this year, according to a new report from Adobe Analytics. That’s an all-time record. Spending at brick-and-mortar stores performed better on
Thanksgiving Day by more than 2 % (over last year) but fell nearly 3 % on Black Friday as shoppers flocked online.

The National Retail Federation reports that 190 million consumers shopped the five-day extravaganza from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. That’s $20 million more than last year, according to NRF. On
average, consumers spent $361.90, up 16 % year-over-year.

But what do those big bucks, spent increasingly online, mean for the street-side businesses that prefer to greet customers face-to-face? What does the exodus to online mean for Montanans? 

While it may seem like a far-out idea for a mom-and-pop Montana business, many larger stores are already adopting the click-and-collect method. Click-and-collect refers to companies allowing you to
place an order online, but pick it up in person, at the store. Wal Mart and Target have already implemented the click-and-collect system.

Kohl’s takes Amazon returns for free. Local Kohl’s stores are incentivizing this return option by offering customers a coupon to its store, simply for making an Amazon return. Business analysts and reporters
claim that the click-and-collect system prompts shoppers to make impulse buys when they pick up their purchase in store, increasing business profits.

Some Montana businesses are keeping with the trends and cashing in on the best of both worlds:
online and in-store purchase options. This is a great tool for Montana businesses to grow their company’s reach outside the state. Serving customers on multiple channels ensures businesses catch both the traditionalists and the shop-from-home-in-velour-sweatpants crowds.

Taking that approach a step further, retailers are now looking to offer customers a more
integrated shopping experience. This is called the omni-channel retail strategy. Omnichannel is a hybrid approach that stiches together online and in-store shopping to maximize a business’s sales.

For example, when implementing an omni-channel approach, retailers can let customers browse
items in-store, scan a tag, and add that item to a virtual shopping basket. The customer can then save the item for later, and purchase from home, in the correct size that wasn’t available in-store. This approach, according to analysts, is aimed at continuing a customer’s journey with a business for as
long as possible.

Another omni-channel approach is when a company promotes its new products on social media feeds and then offers customers an in-store coupon for that item. The hope is that multiple touch points multiply sales.

For businesses that want to retain a physical location, omnichannel and click-and-collect retail may just be the wave of the future. It may also be a way to keep customers on Montana’s main streets during critical shopping holidays. For more shopping tips visit bbb.org/holiday-tips.

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