Boxing day was a bust. We spent much of the day trying to figure out why, and we came up with a few answers. It’s come down to either: (a) everyone knows Boxing Day sales are incredible, but also doesn’t want to be part of the crush; or (b) everyone went to the big box stores; or (c) everyone shopped online.
It’s perfectly possible Amazon and other e-tailers could have had awesome one-day-only deals. Even though there’s so much fuss over Cyber Monday, Boxing Day is a universally recognized deal-grab that any business dealing with the public would be stupid to not take advantage of. This is altogether likely, and I don’t have the stats, but I don’t think I could be as frustrated with that; it’s not because online shopping is killing retail, it’s because ecommerce is an entirely different industry selling a similar product. It’s like comparing journalism to copywriting – same product, worlds apart.
Well, sure, lots of people go to big box stores for the great deals – doorcrashers have been a way of life for them for years, whereas my chain is only three years into the Great Door Crasher trend. But one of my colleagues figured that one box store has, maybe, 13 of a given TV which means a hundred people will go and 87% miss out. We, however, have four locations for each of their single monoliths, and if we have four TVs per location, it means there’s actually a much MUCH larger percentage chance you’ll get what you want from us. But if a TV goes Doorcrasher in a boutique, does it make a sale?
We ended up asking a couple of people, by the end of the day. And it turns out most people know – deeply believe – that boxing day in the malls will be idiotically busy, and try to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. One customer even called it Pugilist Day – needless to say, we lost our hats laughing.
But is this the case?
There’s a gap, where everyone avoids an action because “everyone else” will be doing it. People avoid entrepreneurship because it’s already done. Shoppers avoid the busy days, because they want to avoid the crowds more than they want to take advantage of the deals. As the actions and their consequences scale upwards, the result of this intentional deviance gets bigger, and eventually we see what we had yesterday: malls with no one in them on the biggest shopping day of the year.
I almost wish I was at the shop today to see if everyone who avoided coming in yesterday showed up today; that’s the other result. If everyone takes the road less travelled, you still end up in the middle of the pack. But of course, you can’t see this because the pack surrounds you, and for all you know the other road holds ten times the number of people.
Being different just like everyone else – isn’t always a good idea.