business news in context, analysis with attitude

(And Why Food Retailers Should Care)

Reuters reports that two elements could play into the hands of Internet retailers during the coming holiday season: economic weakness that will encourage shoppers to surf the web in search of better deals, and a late Thanksgiving that will shorten the traditional holiday shopping season by six days.

Some research firms are projecting that online holiday sales will increase between 25 and 35 percent over last year.

The coming holidays should be particularly kind to established retailers such as and Wal-Mart’s online operation that have recognizable product lines, reputations for accurate fulfillment, and perceived values.
KC's View:
We were just thinking the other day that we probably should do most of our Christmas shopping online…and then along came this new story to suggest that we are on the cutting edge of consumer activity.

So, what does this have to do with traditional food retailers, which are less affected by how people shop for holiday gifts?

We think that the shortened season could well have an effect on food retailers, even if it is less obvious. Less time for gift shopping will mean an increasingly harried and time-stressed consumer…and if we had a food store, we’d start figuring out now how to help those folks out.

(Sort of like Tesco is doing with its online division in the UK, putting everything under the “Christmas Made Easy” banner, as reported earlier on MNB.)

To begin with, we’d ask them, maybe by setting up a “How Can We Help You This Holiday Season?” hotline.

If a retailer posted a sign and distributed flyers that said something along the lines of, “Times are tough and time is tight. So, we want to know how we can help you with your shopping needs during the coming holidays. So call us, and give us an idea how we can help…”, we think they’d get a lot of calls.

People would just be thrilled that someone was asking, and willing to listen to a response.