Online retailers like Amazon and Gilt Groupe are set to sneak behind enemy lines en masse on Black Friday this year, and there is little brick & mortar retailers can do to defend themselves. Bored shoppers waiting in long lines for a chance to pay will naturally pass the time by playing with their smartphones. Online only retailers are looking to exploit that opportunity, offering the same products for less in mobile-only deals targeted to the times people are expected to be in those long lines. Result? Frustrated shoppers put their purchases back on the shelf, having ordered the same thing for less on their smartphones.
While this may not have a huge impact on share this shopping season, it does begin training consumers that maybe camping out for 2 nights in the Best Buy parking lot is a stupid idea. That will not be good for traditional retailers who count on the amped-up bargain hunting frenzy they’ve managed to create over the years.
If traditional retailers want to survive long-term against companies like Amazon, they’d better crack the code on an in-person shopping experience that trumps the convenience and low prices of online retailers. If Nordstrom can’t do it, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for Best Buy. As for me, I think I’ll bargain hunt from bed next Friday morning. My iPhone is always close by.