The holiday shopping season will start in early October this year as the three major retailers all start their sales early.
You might think you are crazy if you are seeing holiday items at a retailer already. Don’t worry you aren’t crazy.
Retailers have jumped over Halloween right into the holiday season. After multiple retailers struggled with excess inventory, they are now pushing to get a taste of the holiday shopping frenzy early.
Inventory management proved to be disastrous earlier this year as Walmart (WMT) – Get Walmart Inc. Report suffered from an excess of bad inventory through the summer. Target (TGT) – Get Target Corporation Report also dealt with inventory that wasn’t selling during the same period. Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report didn’t suffer the same inventory management crisis that Target and Walmart did because a good percentage of inventory sold on Amazon’s site is from third party sellers.
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Getting Over the Inventory Hump
Both retailers worked to get over the hump of inventory management issues, with similar strategies. If a customer bought a product that wasn’t selling and then tried to return or exchange the product, the retailers would offer to allow the customer to take the refund and keep the product. If the customer wanted to exchange an item, the retailers may let them take the new item and keep the item the customer wanted to return.
Seems like a strategy that would be a double hit to the retailers, but it was actually saving the retailers by not having to pay staff to repackage, restock and also keep the inventory that wasn’t selling. Getting a customer to take it home, made it the customer’s problem not the retailers.
Retailers have also ramped up their seasonal hiring early to coincide with the projected early sales in October. Retailers project ahead, and that’s part of their success. One thing that is looming is the idea that a recession is coming, or we are already in a recession and it could get worse. With interest rate hikes and inflation all around, this tells retailers that consumers are going to start to buckle down even more on their excessive shopping, sticking to the necessities.
Recession scares could boost seasonal workers to want to get more hours before the holidays enabling them to have some extra cash for gifts. Target is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal workers to deal with projected sales and shopping for fourth quarter.
Here’s the Big Deal
Amazon had some intel “leak” about the possibility of a second Prime Day Sale in October. This leaked information isn’t exactly a surprise, as the retail giant has had similar October sales like this before. There’s a good chance that other retailers like Walmart and Target aren’t just trying to get ahead on holiday shopping, but ahead or at least on par with Amazon for the holiday shopping rush.
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Walmart announced that it would have early Black Friday sales and it will feature hot holiday electronic items, like televisions, phones, tablets, etc. Walmart has stated that because of the early holiday offerings, it will be accepting returns through January 2023. Although the sale has been announced, the actual rollback on prices has not happened
Target announced on Sept. 22 that it is launching the return of its Target Deal Days in October to start its holiday shopping sales. Target shoppers will be able to take advantage of the deals starting October 6-8. Shoppers do not need to be a Red Card holder to take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of deals coming for the holidays. There may be an extra 5% savings by being a part of the Target Circle, Target’s loyalty program.
Getting consumers to pull the trigger on their holiday shopping early is key to the success of the October holiday shopping sales. However, expect great deals or even better deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.