holiday in-store retail traffic, shopper marketing

Survey tracks top holiday retailers based on in-store traffic

The weekend before Christmas ranked as the busiest shopping period in December by in-store visits to top retailers, with Super Saturday ranking among the three busiest shopping days for Walmart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Macy’s and Kohl’s, according to Placed.

holiday in-store retail traffic, shopper marketing

“When taking a step back from the macro-level metrics around holiday purchasing behavior, and looking at data from a retailer level, it’s clear that a single day does not make or break a retailer’s holiday season,” said David Shim, founder and CEO of Placed.

Placed analyzed the shopping behaviors of opted-in panelists from its Placed Panels service to reveal the busiest shopping days for retailers this holiday season. Analysis of several key retailers, including Walmart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Macy’s, Best Buy and Kohl’s, revealed the following insights:

• Super Saturday (December 22) was the only day in December to rank among the top 3 busiest days by in-store traffic for all five of the retailers analyzed (Walmart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Kohl’s).

• For Best Buy, Super Saturday was the busiest day for the retailer during December.

• December 15 (two Saturdays prior to Christmas) was the top December shopping day for Toys ‘R’ Us customers. The day also ranked highly for Target, Macy’s and Best Buy.

• Christmas Eve was the busiest day for Target in December and the 2nd busiest day for Walmart.

• Kohl’s was the only retailer on the list that saw the day after Christmas (Dec. 26) crack the top 3 busiest days in December.

• Victoria’s Secret, Family Dollar, and Foot Locker saw the largest relative gains in visits on Christmas Eve. Macy’s, which extended its store hours on Christmas Eve, also saw strong in-store traffic.

• American Eagle showed the largest relative gain in in-store visits on Super Saturday, followed by Express and Gap.

holiday 2012 shopper marketing

10 Big Retail Trends from the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season

What did the 2012 holidays teach us about the current state of shoppers—and, of course, the places where they shop? Here are 10 notable trends.

holiday 2012 shopper marketing

The Expansion of Black Friday—and the Entire Season
Even though it has caused a backlash among certain consumersretailers have concluded that the formula for increasing seasonal sales totals is mostly based on increasing holiday promotions, deals, and store hours—hours that now include Thanksgiving night. Not only is it standard for stores to open by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on Turkey Day, but the holiday season now basically overlaps with the back-to-school shopping period, with promos and Christmas displays popping up in early September.

Soaring Online Sales, So-So In-Store Sales 
As projected, it’s been yet another very strong season for e-commerce. Online spending was up sharply on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday alike (increasing 17% or more compared to corresponding days in 2011), and consumers hardly tired of online shopping in the weeks that followed. During the week of “Green Monday” (second Monday in December), four separate days crossed the $1 billion mark for online sales, according to comScore, resulting in the highest-ever sales total over a five-day stretch.

Meanwhile, spending in physical stores was down nearly 2% on Black Friday, and after several sluggish weeks of sales, some experts lowered projections for holiday spending during the 2012 season.

Brick-and-Mortar and Online (Try to) Become One
If there’s one dominant trend in retail lately, it’s the utter blurring of online and offline shopping. For quite a while, shoppers have viewed the two modes of transaction as basically interchangeable. Retailers with a presence on the web and in real stores seem to have finally embraced the idea that both segments must be partners sending the same message to shoppers. In the past, it was almost as if the people running a retailer’s website had no contact with the people running the actual stores. Prices varied frequently, and often, products sold online weren’t sold in stores, and vice versa, leading to confused, frustrated shoppers. Early on, a retailer’s presence in social media might have come as a result of a few ambitious young interns, if there was a presence at all. Today, on the other hand, retailers and analysts talk nonstop about the need to combine online and offline sales efforts, with phrases like “multiscreen shopper,” “omnichannel shopping,” and “cross-platform marketing” popping up regularly.

Retailers understand that “showrooming” is commonplace, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to encourage a combined online-offline shopping experience. In fact, according to one survey, 91% of consumers wound up in a store because of something they saw online, and 77% admit to researching products while inside stores. Retailers have no choice but to embrace the “omnichannel” shopper. While they’re actively trying to lure shoppers into physical stores with deals and promotions, they’re simultaneously ramping up efforts to draw consumers to their websites. The results have boosted online sales, but because of the challenges of creating a truly unified online-offline experience, there remain instances of consumer frustration due to confusion over what is sold where, canceled orders, price variations between the web and brick-and-mortar, and more. This remains a work in progress.

More Shipping Deals—Speedy, Free, You Name It
In the same way that 30% or 40% off has become the starting point for getting shoppers’ attention during the holidays, consumers now often demand free shipping in order to consider an online purchase. Accordingly, free shipping has become almost universal during the holidays, and throughout the year really.

To meet the needs of shoppers, retailers provided free shipping as late as December 22 with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. For procrastinators or the merely impatient, sites also increased the possibilities of same-day delivery. The message being sent to shoppers is this: Any way you want to make a purchase, we’re going to help you make that purchase.

More and More “Leaked” Black Friday Ads
In the past, retailers used to vigilantly protect their Black Friday prices and ads from making their way to the public eye too early. The thinking was that if consumers saw, say, a bigtime Black Friday deal on a laptop, they sure as heck wouldn’t buy that laptop the weekend before Black Friday, when it was double the price. Lately, though, retailers seem to be embracing the idea that there’s little downside to earlier publicity—and just plain more of it—for sales. While some stores are coy about how their ads get “leaked” well in advance, many large chains are deciding to simply publicize their Black Friday prices well before Black Friday to get shoppers excited and help draw them in during before, during, and after the biggest shopping days.

Price Matching Crosses the Digital Line
During the holidays, many retailers have gotten in the habit of promising to match the officially advertised prices listed by their competitors in weakly circulars. Walmart even matches prices year-round. But traditionally, the guarantees have come with a large caveat: They’re limited only to prices offered in brick-and-mortar stores, meaning they wouldn’t match online prices, including those of the company that’s arguably become the toughest competitor in the business, Amazon. This season, though, for the first time ever, Target and Best Buy offered to match online competitor pricesPayPal and certain credit cards offered expansive price-matching services as well, giving shoppers more options than ever to assure that they wouldn’t wind up paying too much.

[via TIME]


Toys R Us, holiday 2012, shopper marketing

Toys “R” Us Rocks Around the Clock for Holiday 2012

Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will keep their doors open for 88 consecutive hours of shopping beginning 6 a.m. on Friday, December 21 through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, providing last-minute gift-givers with “all the toys, all the time.” Toys “R” Us Times Square, the retailer’s flagship store, opened its doors at 7 a.m. on Sunday, December 2, keeping them open until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve, providing New Yorkers and visitors 543 consecutive hours to shop around the clock. The retailer has also created a Facebook game rewarding customers with discounts.
Toys R Us, holiday 2012, shopper marketing
“By extending our shopping hours in the days leading up to Christmas, customers can take advantage of around-the-clock shopping at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide for all of their gift-giving needs whenever is most convenient to them,” said Troy Rice, executive vice president of stores and services for Toys “R” Us, Inc. “In addition, with fantastic deals and discounts and the best in-stock position on the hottest toys, gift-givers won’t need to shop anywhere else to get those coveted presents under the tree just in time for Santa’s arrival on Christmas morning.”
Shoppers will receive deals and discounts in-store only as well as the retailer’s Price Match Guarantee and a two-day sale from Friday, December 21 to Saturday, December 22, presenting shoppers with deeper discounts. Items purchased online by 3 p.m. on Friday, December 21 are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve.
To help shoppers earn discounts, Toys “R” Us has also partnered with Ubisoft to create Toys “R” Us Towers, a free-to-play toy store simulation game available on Facebook. The game will also be available on mobile devices in the coming months.

[via RIS News]

Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

66 Million Have Yet To Begin Their Holiday Shopping

Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday may have seen record-high sales this year, but 36 percent of Americans who say they plan to give gifts have yet do any holiday shopping at all, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. Of those who have begun shopping, 42 percent are either three-quarters finished or finished completely (9 percent), while 58 percent said they were no more than halfway done.

Holiday Shopping, Shopper marketing, holiday 2012

The full results of the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll are available at

When asked where they’d done their holiday shopping this year more Americans said they had patronized mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target (55 percent) than shopped online for gifts (39 percent).  Thirty-two percent have shopped at department stores like Macy’s, Bullocks, Sears, and JCPenney, while 28 percent have shopped at retail chain stores like Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, or Gap.

The Consumer Reports Holiday Poll also revealed that while more Americans have shopped for holiday gifts at mass merchandisers, bargains can be found online:  28 percent who have shopped at more than one type of retailer said they’re finding the best deals online, on par with the 26 percent who found their best deals at mass merchandisers. Only 14 percent of shoppers said department stores have the best deals.

“Our poll revealed that Americans have plenty of shopping left to do and are generally enjoying the holiday season so far,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “However, they are also watching their dollars very closely and just as in years past, they’re looking for bargains.”

Americans plan to spend a median of $483 on gifts this holiday season, according to the Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. But when asked if they were concerned about limiting their expenses, 81 percent of Americans said they were at least somewhat concerned, including 30 percent who are very concerned. The following is a list of things they said they plan to do differently this holiday season to save money:

  • Give less expensive gifts (55 percent)
  • Be more active in seeking out sales and discount coupons (46 percent)
  • Give gifts to fewer people (38 percent)
  • Agree on more limited gift-giving arrangements within family or group of friends (e.g., Secret Santa, gift exchange) (29 percent)
  • Limit online shopping to websites that offer free shipping (23 percent)
  • Give homemade or other creative gifts instead of store-bought gifts (21 percent)
  • Limit or cut down on holiday travel (19 percent)
  • Send holiday cards to fewer people (16 percent)

When it comes to deciding what gifts to give, 65 percent of Americans said they simply buy what the person they’re shopping for requested. Four-in-ten rely on advice from friends or family, while one in five get ideas from ads or commercials, and the same proportion consult customer or user reviews or ratings. Only 5 percent of holiday shoppers get their gift ideas from salespeople.

[via MultiChannel Merchant]


Macy's Holiday 2012 Window, shopper marketing

Macy’s to keep stores open 48 hours straight Dec. 21 through Dec. 23

Last-minute holiday shoppers will have some help from Macy’s this year, as the retailer plans keep most of its stores open 48 hours straight the weekend before Christmas, from 7 a.m. Dec. 21 through 7 a.m. on Dec. 23.

Macy's Holiday 2012 Window, shopper marketing

The 48-hour shopping marathon coincides with Macy’s final scheduled One-Day Sale of the year, which concludes at 7 a.m., Dec. 23. While the sale ends Sunday morning, 57 stores will remain open 24 hours or offer extended late hours until close on Christmas Eve.

With Thanksgiving falling on November 22, consumers this year will have a total of 32 shopping days, counting Christmas Eve, and no real excuse for last-minute shopping. But the holiday does have a way of sneaking up on some shoppers, and others simply like the adrenaline rush of a last-minute shopping marathon.

“For the first time ever, Macy’s will keep most stores open around the clock for the last weekend of holiday shopping, an expansion of our successful marathon that began at select stores in 2006,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief stores officer. “We hope to make it easy for our customers across the country to finish their shopping at any time of day or night, and with the benefit of the great deals and value they count on from our One Day Sale events.”

Macy’s began the tradition of keeping its doors open 24 hours with Macy’s Queens Center in 2006. Macy’s added additional stores in subsequent years, and last year offered customers the opportunity to shop outside regular store hours in 14 locations that were open 24 hours and in 27 locations that offered extended hours.

[via Chain Store Age]

Black Friday, Holiday 2012

Black Friday Weekend Sales Climb 12.8% Over 2011

Stores opening in the wee small hours of Black Friday morning (plus a few pushing back into Thanksgiving evening) may have stolen some of the thunder from Black Friday itself, but the weekend as a whole gave retailers plenty of reasons to smile. Total spending in stores and online is estimated at $59.1 billion, a healthy 12.8% increase over the $52.4 billion spent during the same period in 2011.

Black Friday, Holiday 2012

According to a survey by BIGinsight for the National Retail Federation, 247 million U.S. shoppers visited stores and websites over the holiday weekend, compared to 226 million in 2011. Shoppers spent on average $423, 6.3% more than the $398 they shelled out last year. On Thanksgiving Day, 35 million shoppers visited the stores that were open that day or shopped online, compared to 29 million who did so in 2011.

Foot traffic, as measured by ShopperTrak, also increased on Black Friday, rising 3.5% to reach 307.67 million store visits.

There’s also further evidence that the concept of “Cyber Monday” as a discrete day for online shopping is being inexorably dragged toward the Trash Bin icon. E-commerce sales were strong over the entire holiday weekend, and in fact have been showing double-digit increases over last year for the entire month of November.

According to comScore, online sales on Black Friday itself were $1.042 billion, 26% higher than the same day in 2011. Apparently not everyone was cooking turkey, eating and watching football on Thanksgiving: enough people were shopping to ring up $633 million in online sales, a 32% jump over last year. For the full November 1-23 period, $13.7 billion in online sales represents a 16% climb over the $11.8 billion sold during the same period in 2011.

In an exact repeat of 2011, the most-visited sites, according to comScore, were:
1) Amazon
2) Walmart
3) Best Buy
4) Target
5) Apple

The Chase Holiday Pulse reported a Black Friday online sales increase this year, but “only” 15.2% higher than sales for Black Friday 2011. Different tracking firms using different methodologies account for some of these disparities, but virtually all the reports show solid-to-spectacular results for 2012.

[via RIS News]

Black Friday, VIP Service, Shopper Marketing

Malls to offer VIP perks to lure more Black Friday shoppers

Black Friday shoppers at certain malls will get the VIP treatment as more retail establishments seek to offer a “white glove” experience to those willing to pay for a reprieve from the shopping day’s typical madness.

Black Friday, VIP Service, Shopper Marketing

According to, malls are feeling the pressure to increase their services as fewer holiday shoppers are braving brick-and-mortar stores. Also, many stores are offering the same types of Black Friday deals online that they’re offering in stores, giving shoppers less incentive to drive to the mall, the article reported.

VIP shopping will vary from mall to mall, but could include such perks as survival kits of water and energy bars, child care centers, reserved parking spaces, valet parking, lounge areas with refreshments, coat checks, package holding areas and security escorts to vehicles.

Showrooming, Holiday 2012, shopper marketing

Showrooming to affect up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales

IDC Retail Insights on Wednesday released a new survey report, “Business Strategy: At Hand Versus In Hand — Will Consumers Have the Upper Hand in the 2012 Holiday Showroom Showdown?,” which found that 48 million shoppers will “showroom” or use their smartphones in some manner while they shop in stores during the upcoming winter holiday season.

Showrooming, Holiday 2012, shopper marketing

This represents a 134% increase from 2011 when 20.5 million shoppers showroomed. IDC Retail Insights forecasts that the number of showrooming shoppers will grow to 59 million next year, 69 million in 2014, and 78 million in 2015. This year, according to the new research, showrooming behaviors will influence $0.7 to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases.

Key highlights of the new report include:

  • Big-ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings, and reviews, will be the most showroomed items this year;
  • 7% to 13% of consumer electronics shoppers will use their smartphones at least once in stores this season; showrooming activities will touch 1.4% of consumer electronic sales.
  • Apparel and footwear is the second most heavily showroomed category. Between 4% and 8% of shoppers will showroom this category this year affecting about 1% of its sales;
  • 64% think what they’ll learn in the store with their smartphones will have at least as much influence on their decision as what they’ll learn online before coming into the store;
  • 56% to 60% of shoppers with their smartphones in-hand say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to buy what they find in the store as they shop this season when assisted by trustworthy knowledgeable store associates; and
  • 41% of showrooming shoppers say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to rely on their smartphones when they encounter retailers who offer private or exclusive merchandise.

[via Chain Store Age]

Woman Using Barcode Reader Through Smart Phone

How showrooming may hurt holiday retail sales

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Retailers everywhere are decking the halls for the busiest time of the year. But if every holiday season has a scrooge, then this year for retailers, it’s showrooming.

Woman Using Barcode Reader Through Smart Phone

With showrooming, a consumer visits a brick-and-mortar store to research a product first-hand. But what happens next stops the sale in its tracks. Empowered by mobile information, the consumer finds a better deal from a competitor and strolls away—not a penny spent at your store.

If you’re a retailer with a brick-and-mortar store, you can bet showrooming will impact your revenue. But just how concerned should you be?

In a January 2012 Pew Internet & American Life Project report, The rise of in-store mobile commerce, by Aaron Smith, store shopping behavior was observed around the 2011 winter holiday season. The findings show that over half of U.S. cell phone owners used their phones while in the store to seek help with purchasing decisions: 25 percent to gather price comparisons; 24 percent to look up online reviews; and 38 percent to call a friend for advice. In addition, 19 percent of those who searched for a better price via phone eventually bought the product online. That’s a sizeable hole in the brick-and-mortar store’s revenue.

Retail segments hit hardest 

While most retailers are not immune to showrooming, there are some segments that can breathe a little easier. Grocery stores and retailers that offer everyday staples run a low risk, as well as retailers that offer goods at a set price, like in the dollar or pharmaceutical segments.

However, if you’re a retailer of electronics, technology, media, toys or big ticket items—pay attention. Showrooming is proving to be a big issue for these segments. These retailers must be vigilant to create a showrooming strategy to retain a competitive edge. The good news? You don’t always have to fight with price.

[via Retail Customer Experience]

Black Friday Holiday Shopping

Petitioners plead with retailers to stop ‘Black Friday creep’

Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Sears are among the long list of retailers facing a consumer backlash on over “Black Friday creep” following Walmart’s announcement yesterday that it would open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping

In the past week, more than 20 new petitions have been created on calling on retailers to allow families to spend Thanksgiving together and stick to Black Friday opening times.

Last November, more than 200,000 people joined Target employee Anthony Hardwick’s petition calling on Target to save Thanksgiving for its employees, their families and consumers by opening on Black Friday instead of on Thanksgiving itself. In addition to receiving national media coverage, Hardwick’s petition inspired more than 150 other petitions asking major retailers to save Thanksgiving and put employees and families first.