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Delayed Deliveries and Sluggish Sales Make it a Not So Merry Christmas for Retailers

fedex SantaI was expecting one last gift to show up before Christmas but it didn’t get here. No big deal. I ordered the item late on Amazon and I wasn’t sure it would arrive. Besides, we had more than enough under the tree, so it will be a nice surprise for my son a week from now when all the excitement is over.

79 Percent of Consumers Will Still be Shopping on December 26

opF6XRiWe’re headed into the final weekend before Christmas which means cash registers – both virtual and physical – will be ringing and ringing like joyous holiday bells. eCommerce sellers will see the slow down first as only a small percentage of consumers will be fork over the fee for overnight delivery. Then, they’ll be forced back into the brick and mortar stores, a few of which will be open on Christmas Day.

There will be 24 hours of silence, then the shopping will begin again. RetailMeNot says that 79% of consumers plan to go shopping after the holidays. Almost half of the consumers surveyed say they’ll probably be returning gifts then using the money to buy something they actually want.

70 Percent of Shoppers Believe Holiday Discounts are Fake

100percent off40% off! 50% off! Prices so low, we’re losing money on every sale!

Discounts just aren’t as special as they used to be and this time of year they’re the norm not the exception. Retailers both online and off are slashing prices or offering large discounts in hopes of getting holiday buyers to fork over just a little bit more cash. That’s right – they’re charging less and hoping to get more.

Insane? Not really. It’s all just a mind game, after all.

According to a survey by UK marketing expert David Rawlings, 70% of US shoppers believe that holiday discounts are fake.

Older, more affluent shoppers and those who live in the Northeast are even more likely to believe that retailers are lying about discounts.

Study Says Choice Overload Leads to No Sale

product groupingTake a run around the internet and you’ll spot the trend right away – images, images, images with very little text. Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, image sites are hot but that doesn’t mean it will work for your ecommerce store.

A new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration shows that, if your goal is selling products online, image overload might actually work against you.

The researchers began by studying consumer preference while performing typical online shopping tasks. They then asked the participants whether they’d prefer to have an assortment of products shown as a group of images or as a group of descriptions. They ran the test with a variety of product types and the result was the same; from crackers to mutual funds, everyone preferred the visual presentation.

What Showrooming Giveth, Webrooming Taketh Away

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-mLast Christmas, brick and mortar retailers were worried that showrooming would cut into their bottom line. This is when a customer visits a store but then uses their smartphone to find the same item for a lower price online. I swear this is why some of my favorite stores have the worst cell phone reception inside their walls. No problem, I’ll just step outside to search.

This Christmas it’s the online retailers who need to worry thanks to a new trend called webrooming. (That’s web – rooming, not we-brooming.)

According to a new Harris Poll, more customers will be doing their initial research online before running out to buy at the store.

Let’s start with a clearer definition of terms. Here’s the way Harris phrased the question:

The Black Friday Results Are In and It Was. . . .

thanksgiving weekend. . . .mostly good!

It’s Cyber Monday, which means folks are supposed to be making the switch from brick and mortar deals to online deals. During the night, the good people at the National Retail Federation pulled out their adding machines and set to crunching the Black Friday numbers. Here’s what they found out:

More than 141 million unique shoppers took advantage of the Thanksgiving weekend to do a lot of their holiday shopping. This is up from 139 million last year.

Many people grumble about stores that open on Thanksgiving but 27% more people shopped after dinner bringing the total up to 45 million. That’s a number that will certainly encourage stores to continue the practice.

More People Will Shop on Black Friday, But Most Retailers Expect Zero Growth

black friday calmI’m a shopper, seller and marketer so Black Friday is a huge day for me. Thanksgiving is the day of rest needed before the start of a four-day marathon that will have me monitoring the internet even more than usual. I’m already feeling it from all sides – the anticipation, the concerns, the contingency plans. Will the orders come in? Will we be able to keep up? Will it be a banner day or no better than business as usual?

Results of a survey from The Small Business Authority shows that most retailers aren’t expecting a major blow-out. 70% say that they expect business to be the same as it was last year on Black Friday. 23% thought they’d see an increase of 4% or more and only 7% thought they’d see a decrease.  In 2012, 25% predicted an increase and 17% thought they’d see a decrease, so we’re a little less pessimistic this year.