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Black Friday and Cyber Monday – Early Results Show Promise but it is a Omnichannel Marathon

Thanksgiving holiday came and went with Black Friday breaking records from last year. 

The highlights of the numbers that have been quoted in the press today are:

  • Sales increased 6.6% over the same day last year, representing $11.4 billion in retail purchases and biggest amount ever spent during the day. 
  • Retail foot-traffic increased by 5.1% over 2010  Source:  Shoppertrak

Looking beyond the headline numbers, here are  some other interesting data points:

  • Black Friday has been stretched with pre-promotions and longer shopping hours.  Retail sales were up over 3.5% the week of November 12th and 18th
  • Data from ShopperTrak indicated that consumers are visiting fewer stores per trip (being more efficient due to time crunch) with average of 3.1 stores down from 3.19 last year.  Shoppers are also doing more research on purchases before the trip.

Another report from ComScore shows  that Black Friday extended online before  Cyber Monday.

bfads.net web page
Bfads.net, number one most visited web site on Black Friday promotions
Source: ComScore

  • $12.7 billion has been spent so far online to date this holiday season with $816 million in Online sales on Black Friday
  • Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 18% to $479 million (perhaps after dinner  shopping instead of watching Thanskgiving football?)
  • Top five online retail properties (excluding auction sites) are Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple with Amazon having 50% more visitors than any other retailer

What does this mean for retailers?  Here are some thoughts:

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday – Happy Thanksgiving to all Retailers and Shoppers

This Friday starting at midnight marks the official start of the holiday shopping season for American consumers.  After the traditional thanksgiving feast (Many Retail Stores are opening at midnight with specials) up to 152 Million Shoppers are expected to visit stores and websites this Black Friday Weekend, according to NRF Survey published in November. 

As we approach this long weekend holiday, I thought I’d share a few articles that would make good reading while the turnkey is in the oven.

  • Laura Heller wrote an article on Forbes Blog “The Point of Purchase”  analyzing Walmart’s Black Friday Advertising  as a reflection of trends for the retailers strategy this year. 
  • The publishing of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is always noteworth and this year is no exception.  Neiman Marcus generates a huge amount of press coverage and brand exposure for the holiday catalog.

I’d like to wish all the retail staff in the stores and  web operations that I know will be working hard this weekend a Happy Thanksgiving.

See you all in January at the National Retail Federation Conference and Expo in New York City!

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Simplifying Compliance – Education and Solution on PCI Data Security 2.0 from Cisco

For retailers and merchants, January 1st, 2012 is the deadline after which all audits for PCI compliance need to be at the Data Security Standards 2.0.  At Cisco we have invested  in education content as well as architecture designs for PCI 2.0  to help retailers address compliance and secure credit card data.

Need to learn about the basics of PCI 2.0?  Check out the following Fundamentals of PCI  YouTube Video

For a little more deeper education about PCI including navigating the ins and outs of compliance, dig into design and implementation, and tips for a successful audit, check out the following Cisco Techwise TV episode titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About PCI But Were Afraid to Ask”

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In Between the Numbers: The Omni-Channel Paradox: Will Less Store Staff Mean Less Online Revenue?

October 26, 2011 at 9:22 am PST

Was reading the National Retail Federation’s forecast for Holiday 2011.

One topic caught my eye: the expected level of seasonal store-level employment.

The NRF expects that the industry will hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this year, roughly equal to last year’s 495,000.

We can expect a majority of those individuals to be in the stores – hired at the store, for the store.

A big question for retailers in this omnichannel world: What’s guiding the hiring?  Comp-store forecasts or the needs of the omnichannel shopper? If it’s store-level revenue, there’s a good chance of a critical mismatch between the needs of the brand and the level of onsite support.

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In Between the Numbers: Consumer Decision-Making: A Book Worth Reading (and Thinking Long and Hard About)

October 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm PST

Allow me to suggest a must-read volume for all retail technologists: How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer.

Good friend and UK colleague Lisa Fretwell tipped me off to this book, which explores – through entertaining narratives and occasional in-the-weeds psychology – the process by which we make decisions, and why certain decisions are made.

Obviously an important topic to those of us seeking to influence consumer behavior.

Two caveats: If you’re looking for a bullet-point guide on how to position your next in-store solution, this isn’t it. It also doesn’t (thankfully) boil down neatly into nifty PowerPoint slides.

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