Without fear of challenge, we declare the expanded 2013 holiday selling season the all-time record holder for the number of times “cyber” was used in promoting sales. “Cyber (day/time/week/event)” emails began filling email inboxes shortly after Halloween — earlier than previous years. The number and frequency of cyber-sales emails intensified as we drew closer to the Thanksgiving holiday. It became overwhelming: an all-out, shock-and-awe Cyber Sales Attack. Cyber Day turned into Cyber Week, and then into Cyber Month.
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the cyber emails continued, as retailers nationwide scrambled to recover from less-than-expected sales during the days surrounding Black Friday. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that spending during the four days of the Thanksgiving holiday fell for the first time, dropping 2.9 percent from previous years. NRF indicated that as many as 81 percent of retailers said they planned Cyber Monday specials.
Within the firearms industry, Barrett declared on Dec. 3, “Our Cyber Monday specials have been extended a full week.” 5.11 Tactical email announced “Gear Up for 3 more days of Cyber Monday.” Galazan/Connecticut Shotgun announced its “Cyber Monday Specials.” Crosman heavily promoted its “Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sneak Peak.” There were, of course, many other such cyber promotions.
The Cyber Monday promotions worked. Bloomberg reports consumers set a single-day record for online purchases on Dec. 2. According to Bloomberg, online sales on Cyber Monday rose 19 percent over 2012 as of 9 p.m. in New York — as reported by IBM.
In Shooting Industry, we’ve reported on the increased use of mobile devices in consumer shopping. This trend continues to play a vital role in how consumers, in and out of the industry, shop. Bloomberg reports that for Cyber Monday, “Retailers catering to smartphone and tablet users benefited the most, with mobile traffic accounting for 30 percent of the total site visits, an increase of more than 58 percent from last year,” IBM said.
“This is the first holiday season where mobile is absolutely having its mark on overall retail sales, whether that’s from a smartphone or a tablet. It’s not going away.” Bloomberg quotes Ron Josey, an analyst at JMP Securities Inc. in New York.
The impact online sales has on storefront dealers is significant, and no issue generates more “Letters to the Editor” in Shooting Industry than cyber transactions, whether they relate to the online transfer of firearms, website sales by manufacturers or direct competition from online retailers.
How storefront firearm dealers adjust to this major shift in consumer shopping will be key to the survival of brick-and-mortar retail operations.
Crafting Business In 2014
This issue of Shooting Industry is the second installment of our New Business Year editions. With the December 2013 issue, this matched set is crafted to provide valuable tools for building success in 2014.
Both issues feature “New Business Year” perspectives, with insight into the challenges the industry faces, along with opportunities.
In the December issue, Ron Buschmann, owner of Shooter’s Supply & Law Enforcement Equipment in Louisville, Ky., presents his detailed planning process in the December article, “Honest Evaluation A Must!”
In this issue’s New Business Year perspective, we present the business predictions from several industry executives in the article “In Search of ‘New Norm’ Strategy” (see page 46).
The December and January issues include in-depth information on SHOT Show 2014, with this issue featuring the show’s Exhibitor’s Guide and pull-out show map.
The December issue includes our updated “The Universe’s Greatest Buyer’s Guide,” and marks the debut of our online version of this invaluable business tool. “Buyer’s Guide Online” not only provides detailed information on industry companies, it also offers links to hundreds of articles about those companies’ products — articles published in American Handgunner, GUNS Magazine, American COP and Shooting Industry.
To take a tour of “Buyer’s Guide Online,” visit www.sibuyersguide.com.
If you’re attending SHOT Show 2014, stop by our FMG Publications booth, #16327. To celebrate “Buyer’s Guide Online,” we will give away “Found It!” buttons. We will also be giving away copies of SI’s New Business Year editions (December and January) along with copies of American Handgunner, GUNS Magazine, American COP and our SHOT Show Floor Map.
By Russ Thurman
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