It might be October 4th, but retailers are already decking the halls in anticipation of the 2021 holiday shopping season. A number of holiday forecasts from Bain, Deloitte, and Mastercard have predicted an increase in year-over-year spending of at least 7%. But, while shoppers are ready to spend, retailers are facing labor shortages, supply chain challenges, and long shipping times.
In response to consumer demand and significant challenges ahead, both ecommerce and brick and mortar retailers have released information about holiday shopping and deals, in hopes of encouraging shoppers to buy early. Last week, Walmart revealed its annual “Top-Rated by Kids Toy List,” and Amazon has updated their Kids Gift Guide page with a “New Kids Gift Guide Coming Soon” banner.
The challenges faced by retailers means they will incur plenty of extra costs this season. Salesforce is predicting an additional $223 billion in costs, meaning customers can expect higher prices while holiday shopping.
Perhaps, to entice consumers who will be on the hunt for a deal, Target has announced for the first time, from Oct. 10 through Dec. 24, shoppers are able to request a price adjustment on any item purchased if the company drops the price later in the season. The retailer is also continuing to match select competitors’ pricing within 14 days of a customer’s purchase. Their online and in store “deal days” will kick off on October 10-12.
Meanwhile, brands are working hard to fix some of the unique behind the scenes challenges they face. Amid labor shortages, holiday hiring efforts have already begun. To tackle supply chain issues, Target, Costco, Walmart, and Home Depot have gone as far as chartering their own container ships. This move is an attempt to avoid delays caused by backed-up ports.
Experts are recommending consumers start shopping as early as possible, with the international president of UPS saying, “I half-jokingly tell people ‘order your Christmas presents now.’”
Amazon search trends are also showing early increases. According to Amazon Seller Software JungleScout, the 30-day trend of “Christmas” has increased 26%, “Christmas gift” increased 85%, “Christmas gifts for women” has increased 76%, and “Christmas gifts for kids” has increased 124%.
There’s no doubt some consumers have already kicked off their shopping. So what does that mean for your brand? If you haven’t started getting ready for Q4, you’re already behind. It’s time to start implementing your holiday push plans earlier than anticipated.
It’s critical to consider the entirety of your holiday presence. Now is the time to begin paying attention to inventory, checking product listings to ensure they are well optimized, and all back-end attributes are accurate. Take the time to polish your Brand Store, adjust copy for seasonality and holiday-related keywords and check for third-party variations. Start testing campaigns, aligning on bids and budgets, and syncing all your efforts with search, programmatic, and Amazon DSP.
If you haven't started on your long list of holiday to-dos, now is the time to consider a strategic partner to help. Contact us now to discuss Q4 and beyond.