A natural advantage for bricks-and-mortar shopping? Not so fast!

RetailWire ran a thought-provoking article after Black Friday weekend, about the relative strengths of e-commerce vs. bricks and mortar. The arguments seemed frankly “old school” considering the strides being made by e-commerce merchants every day. My opinion:

I agree  that bricks-and-mortar will continue to overshadow e-commerce, but there are good reasons why traditional retailers are growing their omnichannel strategies (and their web sales) at an accelerated pace.

Let’s start with the premise that the Black Weekend shopper is a bargain-hunter, not necessarily a loyal “best customer” that can drive store profits over the long run. So the negative experience of “doorbuster” frenzy is likely to drive many “best customers” away from the mall. And it should come as no surprise that sales actually declined this weekend, as Thursday early openings drain a lot of urgency out of the “Black Friday” experience.

As to the rest of the author’s argument, I’m not sure his points are valid. When companies like Amazon can execute same-day delivery, and when websites like Zappos can make shoe-buying a relatively risk-free experience, it’s no wonder that customer spending on apparel, beauty, etc. are migrating to the Web at a fast pace.


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