Clark County retailers flip ways to keep away from vacation flop

Pam Edwards loves the excitement of the holiday season, and a large part of them walk through the shops decorated with festive, vibrant and Christmas aromas.

“I love seeing it for myself,” said a Vancouver native who works as a psychiatrist and lives in Scappoose, Ore.

Last year, Edwards made about 80% of his gifts by buying in front and 20% online. But with the plague everywhere, it is not.

“It probably exploded,” he said.

Edward is not uncommon in the strangest time of vacation shopping. A Washington State University study released Tuesday shows that people are losing interest in Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. Instead, they buy online for the first time if manufacturers and shipping companies cannot meet the requirements at the last minute.

“The urgency of these shopping days is declining,” said Professor Joan Giese, who works at Tri-Cities School at WSU.

The study, which surveyed nearly 1,700 Pacific Northwest consumers, also found that their online purchases were unstable; people miss shopping in stores.

“Consumers like to shop in stores to be encouraged – to be able to navigate and find unique ideas,” Giese said. “Retailers are mind-boggling. Patients need it because of inspiration. ”

The survey found that 63% of respondents said they wanted to avoid traveling during the holidays. Direct reports from the Portland-Vancouver area indicate that about 70% said they had avoided all trips.

The story of two companies

Two types of retailers see the holiday through different mirrors this year: brick and mortar stores and retailer numbers. Many Clark County stores fall into the category of social media, but many have tried to change that. This leaves a lot of uncertainty about online sales this year.

In Vintage Books, 6613 E. Mill Plain Blvd., owner Becky Milner is preparing for the online holiday season. She has created a lot of work on her page to donate books and other gifts, but she still uses the shopping space with 10 people allowed in the store at any given time.

“Just a day off when people can hide in the corner – this is a place for people to have this sanctuary,” he said.

Some Vintage Books customers are not interested in online shopping, which is why they will call the shop to order. The opportunity to help customers is when Vintage Books is able to offer more, Milner said.

“Most of our clients don’t have computers or don’t have them,” he said. “Many people are older and want to simplify their lives. He calls them and says he is looking at this and that: ‘I want something for a 14-year-old boy,’ and we say ‘OK.’ Concierge – several employees like to do this. ”

About 20% of Vintage Booksellers each year come on holiday, but Milner said he does not know if this will help this year.

The bookstore website, like many local retailers with a new or smaller page, is facing online competition. An ordinary person in Vancouver who is looking for a book is looking for a major retailer, the first in the world.

Whether there is a pandemic or not, a WSU survey found that 71% of respondents said that in-person purchases are important to help local businesses stay open.

The holiday season is linked by numbers and the world is different from Slumberkins in Vancouver, based on online marketing and there are no bricks and mortar.

“Have the opportunity at all times to be who we are,” said Kelly Oriard, co-founder of Slumberkins Co-CEO.

The 5-year-old company sees an increase of 150% revenue this year, and earns about one-third of its annual revenue on vacation. Corporate sales reached a peak during the epidemic by providing animals full of books to deal with the crisis.

“We feel very prepared and very happy with this holiday season,” he said. “While this year has been very difficult, Slumberkins has been working harder than ever.”

Shopping in the market

At the Vancouver Mall, the staff is preparing for a busy Friday, though it may be less than in previous years.

Sales hours will increase that day, says Tracy Peters’ s general manager, but shoppers should not be prepared to make midnight trips Thursday evening – the store will be closed on Thanksgiving.

The market has been operating for a short period of time from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the epidemic, and will return to a period of early Friday, said, opening at 8 p.m.

Market-wide signals will be changed on holiday, says Peters, including one-way entry points and exit lines and lines outside each vendor. Many stores have added home greetings to stay within the 25% threshold.

Employment is also limited in the area of ​​retail space, and there is a parking lot at home, but Peters says given the number of sales during the epidemic, he does not expect to be forced to line up at the entrance to the market.

“Now we’re not even close to living in it,” he said.

The epidemic has changed shopper practices in ways that could deter the type of homes that are often associated with Black Friday, Peters said.

Buyers have been active in the epidemic, come up with their own goals and come in and go out quickly. They are also widely distributed, with an increase in customers coming in on weekends rather than on weekends.

Good Friday is changing as well, and that is expected to run again this year, according to sales officials at Bree Sanchez. The sale is scheduled for an entire week or the entire holiday season, instead of just focusing on a Friday.

The market is trying to rely on the latest developments, and has recently redesigned its website with the “Shop Now” approach which allows visitors to browse store listings at various stores to purchase items in advance or create lists for planning visits to the mall. They can also book stops and order food to go.

About 70% of retailers in the market are on the list, Sanchez said, with the aim of including all retailers early next year and increasing efficiency so that consumers can place items from multiple retailers on a single digital car.

A traditional Friday tour of Santa will still take place at the Vancouver Mall this year, Sanchez said, although the Santa set is also designed to prevent direct contact and maintain a separation distance of 6 feet.

The closure due to the epidemic has affected almost all retail groups this year, Peters said, but retail has been on the rise in customer service since the first months. Another promising package for the federal government could also encourage holiday shopping, he said – if the time comes.

“The amount of money at the right time really helps families and retailers,” he said.

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