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Pandemic boosts the start of holiday shopping faster than ever – Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada 2020-10-05 11:09:20 –

New York (AP) — Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of old-fashioned traditions that have been overturned by the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers will start the holiday season earlier this year, hoping to avoid the crowds in the store in November and December and ship bottlenecks.

Stores such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target usually offer the largest Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving weekends, but now start in October, so the stores won’t get crowded later and are latent during a pandemic. A dangerous situation arises.

Retailers are also trying to avoid a flood of orders near Christmas, as more people are expected to shop online. This can delay your parcel and increase shipping costs. When shoppers were trapped in their homes early in the pandemic, many struggled to keep up with the surge in purchases. Even Amazon, which spent 25 years building its warehouse and delivery network, had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to meet demand.

Black Friday has long been an informal start to the US holiday season, but retailers have been promoting holiday shopping for the past decade or so.

There is more urgency this year. Stores had to rethink their regular vacation plans as the coronavirus was still widespread in the United States. Thanksgiving Door Buster will be cancelled. There will be over-the-counter sales the day after Thanksgiving, but companies are expected to try to attract more shoppers to their websites to avoid congestion and confusion.

“We’re preparing for a holiday season we’ve never seen before,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell.

This year is not expected to be the flagship of the holiday sale, as many are absent from work and more uncertain about their financial future. Shoppers do not travel to large family holiday gatherings, so they may buy fewer gifts. And they focus on gifts related to activities around the house, from training wear to household items and game consoles. One bright point: People spend less on experiences such as traveling and eating out. These have sucked up holiday sales over the last few years.

“Shoppers will be very careful about what they buy,” said Ken Perkins, president of retail research firm Retail Metrics. “Retailers, especially department stores and specialized clothing chains, need to understand it correctly in terms of inventory and customer traffic. They are fighting for their lives.”

The first big holiday push comes from Amazon, which positions Prime Day in mid-October as a kick-off for the holiday shopping season. This is the first time Amazon has held a prime day very close to a holiday. It’s usually July, but this year it has been postponed.

It will also put pressure on stores to offer deals at about the same time. Target and Wal-Mart have already stated that they will make their own sales at the same time as Amazon. Best Buy will offer trading in October earlier than ever before.

Despite the early start of the season, holiday sales are expected to bring smaller profits than in recent years. But no one really knows what will happen.

Joel Bines, a retailer at AlixPartners, believes his previous purchases will continue even after the pandemic is over. He likens Black Friday as a quick way to start selling when most major stores start opening on Thanksgiving after one or two stores first opened 10 years ago.

“This is here to stay,” Bines said. “The new holiday season is from October to January.”

There are already signs of early shopping. Shoppers have begun looking for sock stuffing and matching family pajamas on their website, Coles said.

Retailers work hard to appeal for professional crustinators. In October, TV and online advertising paid by the National Retail Federation, an industry group, will encourage people to buy early.

Mada Luxe, which has three stores and sells luxury items to discount chains, will bring in holiday items such as blankets, pillows and picture frames in mid-October, one month earlier than usual.

“I don’t think customers are considering vacations, but they do,” said Adam Freede, CEO and President of Mada Luxe.

Sasha Vuillaume has already purchased a Disney Princess figure as a Christmas present for her 5-year-old daughter. And if Amazon has a Prime Day deal with the Barbie camper that her daughter wants, a veterinary receptionist in Lakewood, Ohio will probably buy it.

However, Vuillaume expects much of the holiday shopping to take place at Target, order online and receive it at the store. She doesn’t want to spend as much inside as possible. Prior to COVID-19, she picked up a drink at Starbucks and wandered the target aisle.

“It was like my downtime,” she said. “Now I really can’t do that.”

Stores like Best Buy and Kohl’s want to avoid having many shoppers like Vuillaume stay in the store for long periods of time, expanding the services they can buy online and receive at the store. I know that Some SMEs are participating. For example, the e-commerce platform Shopify has begun to offer a way for merchants with physical stores to add curbside pickups.

Retailers are also planning for those who don’t want to go to the store at all.

Signet Jewelers, owner of the Zales and Kay Jewelers chain, has adjusted to ship five times as many packages as last year in its Ohio warehouse in hopes of increasing online sales of rings and diamond bracelets.

Meanwhile, shipping company DHL advised retailers to avoid big sales in December due to potential delays, said the company’s North American e-commerce president, which is affiliated with nearly 30 retail chains. One Kraig Foreman said.

Some people have already seen shipping delays.

Balsam Hill, which sells premium artificial Christmas trees online, warns shoppers on its website that it can take twice as long as the usual three to four days.

People already seem to be in the spirit of the holidays. Mac Harman, CEO of parent company Balsam Brands, said sales in July continued to grow and he was worried that the fake trees would disappear by Black Friday.

“I don’t want to disappoint customers in a year when they need more joy than ever before,” he said.

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