What’s shopping like in 2022?
The year is coming to an end and the holiday shopping season is now behind us. As we head into the January slump and return season, I thought I would share some observations I had while shopping the last few weeks.
Having been in retail for over 20 years, I have seen just about everything it has to offer. What never ceases to amaze me is that so many stores and websites still fail at some basic fundamentals and shoppers are not always finding the best deals, but rather sometimes the worst.
So, here are some of the opportunities I saw while shopping:
- Bombas launched slippers right before the holiday time. By the time I went to buy them, they were out of every size but size 5 in both pairs. However, over the next three weeks, they retargeted those slippers to me over and over. Each time I thought, Maybe they are back in stock. Who would advertise something with such a broken size/curve? Nope, they were eventually 100% out of stock, but the ads continued. This is a very expensive, flawed campaign.
- Retailers still struggle with multiple gift cards. Two different retailers could not take more than one at a time. One of them had no possible way and the other had to do it over chat or phone.
- Pricing, pricing, pricing. I cannot say this enough, but shoppers are just trained now to checkout on Amazon, even when the price is much higher. Retailers still struggle to have an Amazon strategy, outside of Nike, which just cut off Amazon altogether. There are multiple ways for SMUs (Special Markup Units) to create unique pricing strategies that ensure your own website is less and also more profitable. But as a shopper, stop before you checkout on Amazon. I bet fifty percent of the time you can find it cheaper elsewhere and help an independent retailer out.
- Physical stores are a mess. Inventory is so just-in-time that shelves are bare. You can’t even call it a showroom in most cases since the “one to show, one to go” rule is broken, and carrying the eight weeks of supply for six turns is now more like one week of supply and fifty-two turns. This sounds fantastic until you consider the number of sales lost to Amazon and the likes when the shopper can’t purchase the item while in the store.
- BOPIS is just weird and broken for most retailers. It took 14 hours for a store to pick my item. Now, if it was Walmart or someone with huge volumes, I would understand. But this was a small T-Mobile store. I only did it this way because of an online promotion that wasn’t available in the store (a whole different bad experience). I have to assume they batch orders and aren’t sending them to the store in real-time, as I stood in the store and did the order, and they told me it would take a while. No, I didn’t wait 14 hours. I went home.
There were certainly bright spots, but since most reading this are in the retail and ecommerce industry, I would implore you to take a moment and shop your own stores as a guest shopper. Don’t take the easiest path, take all the paths.