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2021 holiday sales: Ecommerce vs physical stores, deals for crypto customers

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(© Rido – stock.adobe.com)

Widespread lockdowns and forced many to give up a lot of their usual routines and habits. The option to shop online helped many survive the pandemic without sacrificing the pleasures of shopping completely. While this happened mainly in the uncertainty of 2020, many have already become accustomed to looking for deals online.

The winners and losers of pandemic shopping

It’s no secret why shoppers didn’t rush to stores to score big deals on their favorite clothing, gear and electronics. This was especially evident when Black Friday sales dropped sharply from previous years  Widespread fear and safety concerns made looking for essentials (and non-essentials) much easier.

However, many traditional stores are expected to see reduced revenues since fulfilling online orders is more costly. Shipping and logistical costs increase when customers order online, as compared to the simplicity and convenience of physical shopping.

The most resilient retailers will be those who already have online logistics sorted out. Of course this includes the likes of Amazon and Walmart, and others who were wise to diversify their reach to digital platforms.

Major sales events

Each year millions of people look forward to holiday shopping, when they can save with big deals while enjoying the experience. However, this year things may look a bit different in cities all across the US as many stores opt for ecommerce. Among these stores are Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, as well as many more who are closing their stores completely on Thanksgiving.

This is sad news for those who saw Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, as a chance to score rare deals. Typically the stores would remain open during the holiday to give shoppers access to deals without the chaos of desperate shoppers. ‘Turkey Day’ is one of the biggest shopping days in the US, but the traffic will all be online this year.

“It has become less of a physical event and more of a virtual event in the last five to six years,” said Dave Marcotte, senior VP of Kantar Retail concerning Black Friday.

In 2019 Thanksgiving digital sales surged to $4.13 billion, and this year it is expected to hit $6.21 billion according to eMarketer predictions.

Last year, Amazon postponed Prime Day to October which gave other retailers the cue to also announce sales in the same month. Although this year Prime day happened in July, there are rumors that a second sales event could happen in the fall. Even sites like luckydealnews are gearing up to be an ally of on-line offers for a piece of the action. Such affiliate sites will highlight the best offers, for 5% or more of sale.

Retailers welcome crypto customers

For those who keep a digital wallet with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency tokens, there are also ways to shop during the holidays. While not widely accepted yet, some major retailers ranging from electronics, to appliances and clothing are accepting crypto. Among these are Microsoft, Overstock, Home Depot, and NewEgg.

Sometimes however, shoppers like to gift a hot coffee or a healthy snack to their family and friends. Fortunately for them, Starbucks and Whole Foods are also among those accepting crypto. With these, digital wallet transactions are made through apps. Starbucks used the Bakkt app which launched mid-2020, and Whole Foods partners with the Spedn app.

Among other ecommerce stores accepting crypto for holiday deals are Gamestop, Jamba Juice, Regal Cinemas, and more. Shoppers can search for products using the Spendabit search site to look for retailers accepting BTC and other forms of digital currency.

Story by Fernando Acevedo