4 Things We Learned From Black Friday/ Cyber Monday

It’s that time of the year when the seasons change over and we pour into the malls to take advantage of retail sales. The question is: Are we still going to the mall? With the projected $65 billion in global e-commerce sales this holiday season[1], how are these retailers (and their subsequent supply chains) adapting to the e-commerce wave?

Here are 4 things we learned:

Not only is shopping going digital, it’s going mobile too.

In the past, navigating mobile shops was frustrating and tedious. Now our credit cards are linked to our phones and even if they aren’t we can simply take a picture of it to make a purchase. Online shopping is easier than ever, you can do it from home or even on the road. According to the e-commerce analytics firm Custora, mobile shopping accounted for roughly 36% of all online shopping on Black Friday in the US. This is up 4% from last year.[2]

Going to the mall still has advantages.

There is still a demographic that prefers to go into retail stores to see and feel what they are about to buy. Of course, this brings certain advantages. When buying clothes, why not try them on first? Beyond this example, when it comes to the holidays, retailers have an advantage for those last minute shoppers. As Shelly Banjo put it on NPR: “That's when these retailers can really win. But that's when you show up, people are tired, the stores look all tuckered out, inventories picked over. You know, that's when people really need to rely on those brick-and-mortar stores.”[3]

Companies rely on customized software solutions to manage their supply chain.

E-commerce industry leader Amazon has been using in house software to process orders and shipments, but what impact has it had on its competitors? Up until recently, retailer Wal-Mart was using off the shelf software that was said to only display in-store items. It wasn’t until 2012 that Wal-Mart started to implement a customized shopping experience that could tailor results to customers. That year online sales went up 20%.[4]

Each Company Has its Own Mindset & Challenges

Sure Wal-Mart is targeting the market share that Amazon occupies, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense for them to copy the same technology. This year Wal-Mart will invest $2-billion into their IT infrastructure to leverage existing assets to win market share. Wal-Mart CTO Jeremy King’s plan for this holiday reflects this approach, “… by appealing to prized customers who shop across channels. People in stores, for example, will be able to use Wal-Mart’s mobile app to search inventory and see a map of hot products on the shelves. Online shoppers will be able to pay for sale items that were in the past reserved for stores, and arrange to pick them up before Christmas Eve.”

TQS Technologies believes that each business and supply chain has unique characteristics that account for it’s success. Our goal is to implement systems that enable each to thrive and allow management to forecast these activities. A majority of our products were tailored to specific requirements from our clients.

[1]"E-Commerce Returns Best Practices." Packaging News 2015. Shorr Packaging Group. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. http://www.shorr.com/packaging-news/2015-10/e-commerce-returns-best-practices.
[2] "Custora E-Commerce Pulse." Web. https://www.custora.com/pulse/home.
[3] "As Americans Increasingly Bypass Malls, What's To Become Of Black Friday?" All Things Considered. Michel Martin. NPR, 28 Nov. 2015. Radio.
[4] Nash, Kim."Wal-Mart Revamps E-Commerce Technology as Amazon Applies Pressure." CIO Special Report. The Wall Street Journal, 25 Nov. 2015. Web. http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2015/11/25/wal-mart-revamps-e-commerce-technology-as-amazon-applies-pressure/?mod=djemlogistics