This year brought with it the demise of Blockbuster, JCPenney limped along, and Best Buy had to change its playbook. Those are just a few of the retailers who had to get smarter as consumers became more demanding and downright savvier with their shopping. Diane King Hall takes a look back at the year in retail.
This was the year consumers employed everything in their arsenal to get a deal: online newsletters, price-matching, text coupons, and just plain old haggling.
Jharrone Martis, director of consumer research for Thomson Reuters, tells us one of the tricks.
"Oftentimes what we see is consumers, they go into the store and they scan the item to see if they can find it cheaper online, but immediately what they are doing is they are going up to the cashier to say, ‘Hey will you match this price?’” said Martis.
Those tools present a challenge to boots-on-the ground retailers.
"Why would you go to that store? Thaa brick and mortar store? It's probably about the service and the convenience,” said Michael Kercheval, CEO of International Council of Shopping Centers.
But shoppers remain tight-fisted. Sales rose a paltry 1.9 percent in November, according to Retail Metrics, despite many stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. It begs the question: is brick-and-mortar on death's door?
For years, this was the norm, carrying lots of bags and hoofing it, but with the change of times comes a change of norms.
Cyber Monday alone pulled in record numbers this year.
Virtual shopping carts totaled more than $2 billion, according to Adobe Systems.
Martis says not so fast.
"Brick and mortar is definitely not going out of style. Brick-and-mortar is still the number one choice of shopping experience for consumers over online,” said Martis.
Kercheval says the winners in this battle will be those who master both.
"One of concerns is as online sales continue to grow, it doesn't as much erode away from the retailers who have the omnichannel presence, but it does hurt those brick-and-mortar stores that don't have an online presence,” said Kercheval.
And while retailers try to navigate the tricky world of turning a profit and pleasing consumers, arguably the biggest black eye of the year, a breach at Target.
The big box chain warned consumers who shopped at its stores between Thanksgiving-eve and December 15, that 40 million credit and debit cards were compromised.
We'll only know in 2014 what kind of damage that did.