retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that online sales have grown by close to 20 percent this holiday season, and that the bulk of the growth is coming from retailers that have a multi-channel approach to the business, using brick-and-mortar stores, catalogs and the Internet.

Among the examples cited by the NYT are companies such as Lands’ End, Best Buy, J. Crew and Wal-Mart.

Even pure-play e-commerce companies like Amazon.com and eBay have seen the multi-channel light, according to the NYT, linking up with brick-and-mortar companies in strategic alliances that can drive customers back and forth, generating more sales for everyone.

Indeed, the Seattle Times reports that “many analysts agree that what once was an activity of the high-tech-minded elite — the average shopper two years ago most likely had a household income of $100,000 or more, plus a college degree — has lost its novelty factor.” While online shopping still isn’t mainstream, it is fast moving in that direction.
KC's View:
At the end of the day, what matters is more sales. It doesn’t matter how they come in.

The mistake made by so many retailers, especially those in the supermarket channel, is to look at e-commerce as a separate initiative, as opposed to a strategic component of an overall marketing program. That’s changing now, we think, as retailers get smarter.

The bottom line will be that retailers ignoring this trend will be at a severe competitive disadvantage in the not-too-distant future.