With all the reports coming out that the 2009 holiday season spending is going to drop again this year, Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) sales are looking to be more and more key for a successful retail holiday season.
While most data supporting consumer trends are collected from major chain retailers, the sales of goods are all inclusive as they are reported through the U.S. Census Bureau.
The City of Turlock will benefit from sales tax collected from the chain stores or the “mom & pop” stores. Besides the everlasting competition between big chain stores and small businesses, both are now competing with online retailers such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com.
The City of Turlock will also lose out on sales tax dollars even if people are shopping on Walmart.com or Target.com and get their items shipped to the local Turlock store.
The National Retail Federation forecasts a 1 percent decline growth in total retail sales for the 2009 holiday season, totaling $437.6 billion. Online sales are expected to do better, with Forrester Research projecting an increase of 8 percent to $44.7 billion. Last year online sales declined by about 3 percent, this was the first time ever that online sales did not register an increase.
Despite Black Friday offers, many people will be looking for online specials only available through company websites. According to NFR, 9 out of 10 retailers will be offering Cyber Monday deals.
ComScore reports that 42 percent of all 3rd quarter online sales included free shipping, up from 31 percent at the beginning of 2008. Experts are suggesting that consumer trends will practically demand that retailers offer free shipping.
NFR’s website says “Though Americans were less inclined to purchase gift cards last season, the popular gifts retain their spot at the top of the list among gift recipients. According to the survey, 55.2 percent of adults would like to receive a gift card this holiday season, with clothing (48.8%), books and DVDs (48.6%) and electronics (33.2%) among other popular choices.”
At the very least, Turlock retailers should be offering gift cards/certificates via an online point of sale. It is not too late to start marketing this online sale as the busiest online shopping days include many days after Cyber Monday.
For the City of Turlock, this year is too late to focus on local dollar retention and increased sales tax revenue brought in by online sales.
David Fransen has proposed for about 18 months that the City of Turlock support businesses that are attempting or willing to attempt to compete for online dollars by way of website grants and an internet directory hub or local search.
Mayor Lazar and Councilman Kurt Spycher have been the only ones who have discussed in length the new concept of Turlock business development online.
Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association had previously looked into a proposed 3D version of Downtown on the internet.
TDPOA has revamped their website www.turlockdowntown.com and are working on an online directory.
The City of Turlock’s focus on business development continues to go toward job creation and land development such as the Westside Industrial Specific Plan.