OLATHE, Kan. — A record 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day weekend between Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.
Black Friday was the most popular day to shop, with 76.2 million shoppers going in-person and roughly 90.6 million participating online.
The online boom was felt in Kansas City by brick-and-mortar stores struggling to stand out.
LaToya Rozof opened 79 Roze Dress Shop three years ago with the hope of giving curvy girls affordable, fashionable dresses. But what started out as a boutique for formal gowns quickly became clothing for every occasion and every season.
She said over the years, being a businesswoman has meant researching and adjusting based on what customers want over her own passions.
In fact, it was during her financial planning she noticed her customers have not been coming in as much for Black Friday year after year. For this reason, she decided to not open for the first time last week.
“The quickness and the convenience, right? You can go and buy [from] a certain retailer and get it maybe in two days, and you can do it from the comfort of their home,” Rozof said. “And I get it — I’m a consumer, too. I can’t compete with Fashion Nova. I can’t sell you this dress for $40, you know, I pay $40.”
Three of her friends have already permanently closed their boutiques because of e-commerce competition.
“A part of me is like, ‘Hey, that’s some part of the pie for me to promote this location where you can come and try on things,'” she said. “But it’s also a little disheartening, like, ‘Will I be a part of that trend?’”
Team Cocktail, a boutique in Lake Lotawana run by Lyndsey Fliehs, started online 12 years ago. In 2021, Fliehs opened her brick-and-mortar.
“The online space was very different back then. We were one of few businesses that had fun graphic tees, and now everybody has funny graphic tee,” Fliehs said.
Increased competition with mega-retailers has created challenges for Fliehs and Rozof.
Amazon announced this week it had record-breaking sales over the holiday weekend. Still, Rozof and Fliehs hope consumers will remember the joy of in-person shopping and supporting local.
“I really focus on experiences and creating different events and activities and things to get them into the store that is maybe a little different,” Fliehs said. “Because you don’t get to feel the fabric or chat with someone who designed the product if you’re just shopping online.”