Retail Reckoning: Black Friday 2016 Shake-up

This year, as always, Black Friday will be a critical day for retail, especially those with traditional brick and mortar footprints. Last year, online shoppers roughly equaled those that ventured into the store according to Bloomberg. Many of those online shoppers spent money with pure-play online retailers like Amazon.

Reactions from retailers to this change in shopper behavior has varied widely. Many, like Target, have deployed ambitious cross channel strategies to make better use of digital and physical channels during this year’s shopping weekend. Others have taken the approach of doubling down on massive sales, doorbusters, and opening early on Thanksgiving to lure customers into the store. Finally, some like REI will all together be closed for business on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday, instead encouraging their loyal customer base to spend quality time enjoying the outdoors with their loved ones.

With the US consumer expected to spend more this holiday season compared with last year, there will be plenty of turkey on the table, the question is will other retailers be able to grab enough or will Amazon devour the entire feast?

There’s no denying that e-commerce, specifically Amazon, has fundamentally changed Black Friday. This year, the online giant isn’t pulling any punches. Hot on the heels of a blockbuster Amazon Prime Day which resulted in its biggest single day of sales ever, Amazon started rolling out black Friday deals at the beginning of the month, disrupting the idea that holiday deals should be confined to a single weekend or set of days. However, it hasn’t been all positives for Amazon, who’s Q3 earning report highlighted the growing costs of fulfillment which suppressed an otherwise successful quarter.

This coming weekend will ultimately be a litmus test for the strategy and technology initiatives that retailers deployed to better capture the dollar of the ever-evolving consumer.

Will it be enough? Can the rest of retail push back against the gains Amazon has made?

We’ll have our initial thoughts for you next week.



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