Retail TouchPoints – The overall economy continues to grow, but for a number of leading retailers, lower gas prices and rising employment didn’t translate into a happy holiday season. In fact, the new year brought announcements of layoffs and store closings at Macy’s, rumors that Kohl’s would be going private, and announcements that Walmart would be closing an unprecedented 269 stores worldwide in 2016.
Retail TouchPoints asked industry experts to weigh in who were the real winners and losers of holiday 2015, as well as how widespread the “fallout” from this lackluster season is likely to be.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Hyper-promotionalism was a self-induced problem;
- Customer Service failed to help frustrated shoppers;
- Personalization will help General Merchandise stores survive;
- The “Amazon Effect” means each consumer’s best experience translates into their minimal expectation everywhere; and
- Store closings will accelerate after the difficult holiday season.
Ken Morris, Principal, Boston Retail Partners:
According to NRF’s retail sales report, the general merchandise segment had the most disappointing sales during the 2015 holiday season. The ongoing challenge for general merchandise retailers is that most of the products they sell are commodities and can be purchased elsewhere — consumers can compare prices and find the best deal online. The best way general merchandise retailers will survive is to establish a relationship with customers for a truly personal and enhanced shopping experience.
The biggest bright spot for the 2015 holiday season was definitely online and mobile commerce, which out-performed in-store sales. However, 90% of all sales still come from stores. With the holiday campaigns starting earlier, the day after Halloween, and the same door-buster deals available online, many consumers chose to shop online rather than fight the crowds. Retailers need to cater to ‘my daughter not my mother’ — the Millennial segment that is always connected and prefers the digital shopping experience, especially for commodity products.
Read Full Article: Will ‘Fallout’ Spread After Tough Holiday Season? 5 Experts Weigh In