A year ago, when we were thinking about retail in 2010, we looked for glimmers of uptick, worried that some businesses might not make it, and girded our loins for more of the same.
Well, 2010 wasn’t as bad as we thought and in some sectors it was pretty good. As a matter of fact, the numbers coming in −both in sales and consumer confidence− seem promising, with the expected amount of post-recession caution. November was one of the best months for retailers and December is looking very good. It’s likely the result of pent up demand −the desire to shop without a gray cloud over our heads− combined with retailers/brands aligning their inventory and deals with consumer attitudes.
The last year has taught retailers big and small more about how and why we shop than ever before. Paying attention to how consumers −all of us− react to adversity, what drives our purchase decisions, and our rational and emotional needs has been as important as new products and services.
We saw consolidation and retreat (Borders Books made a bid for Barnes & Noble and Google tried to buy Groupon), tighter stock levels, as well as new, exciting takes on tried and true incentives like coupons, loyalty points, and limited-time-only offers that bring to mind Kmart’s classic Blue Light Special.
All in all, we consumers have more control than ever before. We are more thoughtful about everyday purchases. We have new considerations to go along with the old: local and “green” are as important to us as selection and value. We have tools in our hands, literally, that give us information and incentives when we want and need them.
Next: Part 2: It’s the Experience, Stupid
Originally published: Retail 2010: The Year in Review | The Metropreneur Columbus http://bit.ly/f2LPuA