Attention All Slowpokes! The Clock Is Ticking … Time To Hit The Stores!

You haven’t finished your holiday shopping? What are you waiting for? With one week left until Christmas, do you really think the deals are going to get better?

According to The NPD Group Holiday Shop-O-Meter, consumers report they have completed 44 percent of their holiday shopping. That means the last minute Charlie’s and the real bargain hunters still have some work to do. With so much shopping left to do (more than half of shopping left to go) retailers still have opportunities. In order to beat the competition, it’s crunch time for retailers to pull out all the stops. If they plan on getting that last surge of sales to come their way, they need to look hard and fast at their inventory levels and the depth of the promotions (discounts) they plan to offer. This year, consumers have proven they are motivated by the deal. Twenty-five percent off isn’t going to cut it in their eyes. They want deeper discounts and accessibility. Look for deals to be emailed, texted, shared and even on-air with special hours and special savings. Retailers will be looking to sell out (before Christmas) rather than sell off (after Christmas) when they are forced to post steeper discounts making their profits almost non-existent.

I have seen consumers in a state of confusion this year; confusion over what to buy for those on their shopping lists. I regularly spend time interviewing shoppers to learn what they plan to purchase, and am surprised by how many are asking me what types of gifts they should get for their family members. Why are they asking somebody like me? I suppose some of it has to do with a lack of “newness”, which has caused a sense of confusion. There is no “hot”, new must-have item (besides a few video game consoles and some beauty products). How many more TV’s, tablets and cell phones does a person need?

You can never plan too early to get a jump on your competition. Retailers need to start now to create new products to market for next year. Learn from 2013 if you want Holiday 2014 to be a success. If not, we won’t see growth next holiday, for sure. It is very hard to discount your way to growth and very easy to bore the consumer into maintaining mediocre holiday sales. The process of providing innovative merchandise begins now. Do you want to be on the outside looking in?

The time is now to evaluate, educate and entertain how you will make Holiday 2014 engaging.

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