The Black Friday stats are in, and the news is decidedly mixed for the nation’s retailers. Numbers compiled by National Retail Federation showed that sales for brick and mortar businesses were down a full 11%, with fewer consumers braving the crowds to take advantage of sale prices and holiday items. However, for online retailers the cheers are audible, with more consumers buying online than ever before. In fact, data analysts at comScore.com reported that web shoppers spent over a billion dollars on Thanksgiving and Black Friday alone, up 32% from the year before.
What does it all mean? For any retailer, the message is clear. It is now “mission critical” to have a strong online presence, whether you’re a brick and mortar store depending on walk-in customers, or online only. From checking store hours and doing price comparisons on their favorite products to skipping the crowds altogether and spending online, consumers are relying upon their desktop and mobile devices more than ever before to browse and purchase. A great website, optimized for mobile as well as desktop users, accompanied with strong organic rankings and a strategic paid Adwords campaign is now essential for any effective marketing program.