Tobin College Marketing Chair Iris Mohr Talks Shop(ping)
Iris Mohr, Ph.D., is not just an educated consumer.
The chair and associate professor of marketing at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, a longtime observer of the retail scene, has been a sought-after media expert as she watches 2017 holiday shopping trends closely.
Drawing on her expertise in retail and fashion marketing, Mohr cites the so-called “retail apocalypse” as one of the reasons that Black Friday, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season, has become almost irrelevant.
"The deals aren’t as significant from any other day of the year," she told the Tampa Bay Times on Nov. 24. “After all, many retailers now offer some Black Friday sales over the summer to generate traffic in traditionally slower months.”
Another factor slowing the usual day after Thanksgiving frenzy is the increasing prevalence of online shopping. In a Nov. 18 story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which serves a community with a large contingent of seniors, Mohr noted that all segments of the population are now doing their holiday gift buying remotely – and not only for the sake of convenience.
As more seniors are using smartphones, there’s a safety level that comes with shopping from home, Mohr said.
All is not doom and gloom, however. Mohr still sees hope for retailing, but only if it evolves to meet changing consumer tastes.
“It’s not any more about just going to the store and getting those discounts,” she pointed out to the Baltimore Sun on Nov. 17. “You can get those discounts online.”
“There has to be a greater shopping experience,” Mohr added, detailing how malls can meet heightened consumer expectations by remodeling, and adding dining and entertainment venues. Those actions, she believes, can enable malls to deliver the experiences that consumers desire, while selling them the goods they want at the same time.
“At the end of the day, shoppers still want to see, touch and try products on,” she said. “They want to interact and talk to sales people and get opinions. There’s still room for it to be a fun holiday shopping experience.”