Some people may bemoan the premature arrival of holiday commercials and sales, but for retailers who are anticipating the busiest time of year for their shops, it’s a welcome trend. And despite naysayers who want advertisers to hold off, there are plenty of shoppers who prefer to get their gift-buying out of the way before it gets too close to the chaotic days before Christmas.
A survey by Shop.org, a branch of the National Retail Federation (NRF), finds that online retailers are planning on getting the ball rolling earlier than usual. Their study found that 61.6 percent of online retailers will begin to market promotions for the holiday before October 31, an 8.7 percent increase from 2011. Another 38.4 percent of online stores will start airing advertisements by mid-November or later.
These numbers may come as no surprise, since many shoppers will be turning to the internet to do their shopping. Around 51.8 percent of shoppers surveyed by the NRF will start looking on the web for gifts within the coming weeks, and 22.1 percent say they’ve already started.
“For retailers, there is no better time to shine than the holiday season, and it’s evident that online retailers are already planning to go the extra mile for their customers this year,” said Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org executive director. “Consumers can expect even more of an integrated shopping experience this holiday season with companies also looking to enhance their mobile marketing efforts to capture the attention of the millions of holiday shoppers who are already thinking about their shopping list.”
So where do these survey results leave retailers who rely on in-store sales during the holiday season? They suggest that this year more than ever, brick-and-mortar businesses will have to step up their game to bring shoppers through the door. Purchasing brand new mannequins for sale to put in display windows can make a big difference. Don’t forget to use online marketing, even if you don’t run a shop via the web, to reach out to customers who are browsing the net for gifts.
Physical stores also hold an advantage over online retailers in the later weeks of the holiday season, as shoppers who wait to buy gifts won’t be able to turn to the internet to get their presents in time for the holiday. Merchants can capitalize on this by pushing their sales back a few weeks, and refreshing store fixtures and display tables to appeal to shoppers’ senses.