Other than Amazon, E-Commerce Winners All Traditional Retailers

Early on many traditional retail organizations set up their e-commerce divisions as completely separate from their stores. The perception that online and offline retail are binary or mutually exclusive and in competition has persisted to this day.

But consumers are more agnostic and fluid in their behavior, increasingly buying both online and in stores. This past holiday shopping weekend saw 165 million people shop online and/or in stores. The National Retail Federation added that about 90 million of them, or about 54%, were multichannel shoppers. The number of people who shop only online or only in stores are less than half of the multichannel population.

Now comes data from Hitwise that shows that, with the exception of Amazon, all the top-performing e-commerce sites are associated with traditional retail brands. The following graphs show Hitwise transaction data for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
Hitwise shopping data Hitwise shopping data Hitwise shopping data

Store shopping analytics firms RetailNext and ShopperTrak both reported, to varying degrees, that in-store visits on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were down compared to 2017. By comparison, Adobe reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales broke records (more than $14 billion combined).

But what the Hitwise data show is that stores and their online extensions are symbiotic. Indeed, Euclid Analytics has pointed out that when stores close, e-commerce for the same brand goes down in that geography. Stores support e-commerce. That should now be clear to everyone; it’s “and” not “or.” This is why so many direct-to-consumer brands have opened stores.

However all this doesn’t mean that traditional retailers will necessarily all survive. The role of the store and the in-store experience need to be rethought and reinvented for new generations of shoppers who increasingly demand convenience and inspiration.

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