From The Wall Street Journal:
As more holiday sales shift online, both retailers use new tactics, play to their strengths
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. battled to capture spending over the holiday weekend, as the shifts that have upended the retail industry this year were on display: fewer people visited traditional stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday while online purchases continued to surge.
On Thanksgiving evening, Alex and Yanira Garcia, who say they traditionally buy nearly everything on Amazon, chose to stand in line at a busy Wal-Mart store in Westbury, N.Y., to purchase pajamas, toys, a TV and other gifts that filled two shopping carts.
“I heard that lots of stores are giving you deals so you come in the store,” said Mr. Garcia, a 39-year-old cook at an elementary school. “So here we are.”
The number of people visiting U.S. stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell 4% from last year, according to RetailNext Inc., which analyzes in-store videos to count shoppers. Meanwhile, online sales increased 18% over that period, said software company Adobe Systems Inc., a shift that is forcing traditional retailers to adopt new tactics.
. . . .
Wal-Mart also calibrated the selection of discounted products it offers online versus in stores, U.S. CEO Greg Foran said in an interview.
Online, the retailer offered more electronics and bulky toys that customers want shipped to homes, then stocked stores with additional lower-priced deals like $5 DVDs, pajamas and other items customers prefer buying immediately or are unprofitable to ship, Mr. Foran said.
In stores, “is [Black Friday] the mayhem that it might have been eight or 10 years ago?” Mr. Foran said on Thanksgiving. “I think that world is gone.”
. . . .
Rosa Hilburn, 58, was among the first people inside a Target in Houston on Black Friday morning, but she was in and out in minutes with only a small bag of loot—several shirts and a Garth Brooks album for her husband.
Ms. Hilburn said she was “really shocked” there weren’t more people at the store but attributed it to the changing times. “Most people do it online now like the millennials,” she said. “But I still like to see and touch things.”
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)