appy Thanksgiving, readers! This week, obviously, is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. It’s where you get together with friends, share exciting things, and enjoy what life has to offer.
I’m, of course, talking about Black Friday. The yearly holiday where you get to know your Amazon delivery driver on a first name basis, and make every effort to make it to Cyber Monday with a few bucks left in your account.
Black Friday at my house is a dark day, indeed. For years, I’ve been in the camp of having everything delivered to my house. First, it started with Amazon, then it reached groceries. Soon, I’ll be having someone come here to cut my hair and change the toner on my printer.
What a world we live in where both 54th Street food and your razor blades can be delivered straight to your door!
Unfortunately, that means the brick and mortar experience needs to step it up. I’m all for supporting local businesses. There are some really adorable clothing stores in Platte City. There are some really cool stores along 64th street as well. But until the experience becomes as easy as Amazon, it’s going to continue to fade.
Now, I realize that the biggest draw is the home delivery. Let’s assume Joe’s T-Shirt store won’t be able to compete with that. But people still love to walk around and shop. Window shopping will never not be a thing.
What businesses need to do it make buying just as easy as online. How many local stores have you walked into where the card reader you are supposed to put your super-secret chip card into says “NO CHIP”? How often have you heard of breaches of credit card information by local businesses. (Hy-Vee, anyone?) How often have you had to stand in a long line to buy a shirt or a bracelet or a dog collar for your pooch?
Local businesses – you can make point of sale on a phone now. You can tap someone’s watch to sell your wares. You can eliminate lines by staffing more than one person, like every CVS I’ve ever walked into.
Unfortunately, shop owners are good at presenting merchandise. They’re about as adept at learning how to take a credit card transaction as my mother is learning to launch a nuclear missile. But unless and until you make it nearly as easy to walk out with that T-shirt of a little kitten clinging to a tree saying “hang in there, baby” then I’m more likely to just find it online.
So – enjoy Black Friday. Enjoy Cyber Monday. But also pay attention to Small Business Saturday as you walk the squares in Parkville and Platte City. Support those businesses who make it easy to sell to you. Maybe not as easy as delivering to your door, but certainly just as special.
Otherwise, Black Friday will turn into the day we all sit in a darkened room searching Amazon for items they could get three blocks away.
(Chris Kamler is your tech expert and Rambling Moron who you can find on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. Also chase him down on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)