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How technology tamed Boxing Day

Dan MacKenzie got a printer, headphones, and a little extra sleep this Boxing Day.
December 26, 2013 - 2:25 PM

VERNON - It’s not so different from any other December day in the Village Green Mall. Busy—but not that busy. If not for the massive blowout sale signs boasting ‘BIGGEST SALE EVER’ you may forget it’s Boxing Day at all.

Shoppers and shopkeepers agree it’s slower than usual. Dan MacKenzie, who usually mobilizes at 5 a.m. to scoop up deals with his son in law, strolled out of Future Shop at 10 a.m. with a new printer—because it’s cheaper than buying a new ink cartridge—and wireless headphones. Visiting from Vancouver Island, MacKenzie’s late morning retail experience was more relaxed than it was mad rush. Future Shop still had plenty in stock and the line-ups were reasonable. Employees even had time to help Michelle Olsen with her broken phone.

“They were really helpful,” she said.

Her shopping partner and brother Walter scored a discounted Call of Duty video game that he’d eyed online. According to Future Shop communications manager Elliott Chun, Walter’s shopping strategy is part of a growing trend.

“Many want to research online and buy at their local store,” Chun said, adding that 90 per cent of customers visit the website before heading to the store.

An increasing number of shoppers are making their purchases from their computers, tablets and mobile devices. Between the kickoff to Boxing Week at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 and today, Future Shop saw double digit growth in its sales from mobile devices. Website visits swelled by millions.

Chun said it’s all about providing options. Customers can research and buy online, shop in their local outlets, or use a combination of both. He points out that shoppers can also return items bought online at their local stores for more convenience.

“Online and in-store shopping really compliment each other,” Chun said. “Overall, the vibe at Future Shop across the country today is it’s been a great experience.”

Boxing Week offers more time for shoppers to pull out their wallets and places less pressure on Boxing Day itself. That trend appeared to be mellowing things out at Village Green Mall where clothing stores were crowded with racks upon racks of 25, 50, and 75 per cent off merchandise, but not the expected amount of people. In some cases, there was a simple explanation: crowd control. Extreme, a clothing store located in the mall, had a Boxing Day bouncer. Only 15 people were permitted in the store at a time to reduce the risk of theft.

While multiple factors are at play in taming Boxing Day, the possibility that shoppers got everything they wanted on Christmas and are satiated is likely not one. As Chun said, Boxing Day shopping is dominated by “me purchases.” This year, Chun said people are treating themselves to big screen T.V.s, laptops, tablets, portable electronics and shiny new appliances.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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