Monthly Archives: December 2010

After Christmas Blues…

I’ve been anxious this past week and I’m just starting to define why. Leading up to Christmas (like, two months prior!) I’m consumed with what to get everyone on my list. I’m canvassing the Internet and the local stores doing research on everything from a laser parking assistant (trust me, it’s a real product) to the cleverest Hallmark card I can find. All of this frantic activity stops on the morning of the 25th. Even with all the moaning and griping I do about shopping, I find that I miss the hustle of it all after the holiday.

I’m sure I’m not the only one suffering the blues here; retailers must be going insane. After the rush to return the ugly sweaters and the imitation iPods, there’s not a lot of activity until we all go looking for Valentines’ cards, jewlery and over-priced chocolates. What is the solution? I’m not sure, but what if we developed (and marketed) gifts that have some immediate recurring revenue? The Wii and Blu-Ray players are a start, but even then the initial gift usually comes with a bevy of games and asssorted DVDs.

Retailers and e-tailers need to be thinking about how to bring those shoppers back shortly after the holidays; maybe it’s holding customer events in the store (e-vents online) that begin to build a community among the shoppers. Gaming contests, chefs teaching us how to properly use those new Ginsu knives or a class on getting the most out of our iPads. As marketers, we must keep the momentum going after the holidays or we’ll all be singing the blues this winter.


My Christmas Conundrum


Let me start by confessing something.  It’s been eating away at me for years and years. Whew, so here it goes…I am a horrible Christmas gift shopper! OK, I said it and now it’s out there in the open. I’m truly awful at every aspect of the gifting process.

I can never figure out what to get someone, even those I’ve known all my life (Hell, especially those I’ve known all my life!) Once I do decide on a gift, usually with input from friends; I’m sure I don’t shop for the best deal and almost always pay too much.  I can’t even wrap the damn things; my gifts are so easy to spot under the tree because they look like they’ve been wrapped by a kindergartener or a gorilla. OK, that’s not fair; I have in fact seen some gorillas do a better job than me.  

This year is no different, I’m stressing on what to get mom (she’s the most difficult to shop for on my list). Having dinner with a friend, I mentioned the problem and she asked what my mother liked. “Reading”, I said – remembering all the books I’ve given my mother on Christmases past. Then something amazing happened, instead of offering a book idea, she offered a “reading” idea. “How about a Kindle”? She asked. Wow! What a great idea.  So, I ran with it.

I had thought about them in the past for myself, and thought that the iPad might be a better buy, until I read a review about customers’ “love” for the Kindle. What emerged was an overwhelming preference for the “readablility” of the Kindle. Most quotes were from people who owned both gadgets, and the results were heavily favoring the Kindle because it is lighter and easier to hold in one hand, the screen had less glare, and the non-backlit feature was actually easier on the eyes!

The folks at Amazon should play up on this positioning but no where in the ads or campaigns have I seen direct comparisons to the iPad. I know when considering a digital reader, the iPad is in the evoked set of competitive products but the Kindle rates superior as an e-book reader. Maybe they don’t want to go toe-to-toe with Apple, but in this case I think they should.

OK, there’s one Christmas gift down and only a few more to go… I wonder if Amazon offers gift wrapping?

Cyber This!


Well, is the recession finally starting to let up on us a bit? Maybe, if you look at, and take into account the sales numbers for this past Monday. To be more specific, online sales on what we now call Cyber Monday.  According to ClickZ we reached a billion dollars in sales online Monday for the very first time. I’m taking this as good news on a few fronts.

First, consumer spending is up this holiday season – way up; up 9% Friday, 16% on Monday; and that 16% equals well over $100M over last year’s figures. Next, retailers are capitalizing on online shoppers as Cyber Monday blew away Black Friday, $1.028B to $648M. Now, 2/3 of a million is nothing to sneeze at but topping a billion online is significant.

Lastly, consumers are spending more per capita. The average sale was $114 online versus $102 last year; up a full 12%. I’m encouraged by this news and I hope you are also. I mean really, when was the last time we had any increases in sales figures, let alone double-digit gains. Let’s hope this a sign of a strong 2011 to come!