Regardless of all the pandemic related upheavals across the country, as we head into the holiday season, we can all agree on one thing: Folks will be spending money. There will always be gifts to buy and family gatherings to feed.
The issue then becomes just how much money and where the money will be spent. Retailers are always anxious as they head into the holidays. Those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are where they make up the majority of their sales for the year. It is not an understatement to say that for many companies this year, the holiday shopping season will be “make or break.” Here is what you can expect from the upcoming holiday season.
In-and-out Floor Plans
It is not clear just where the country will be in December with regard to the COVID crisis. Will there still be a need to wears masks? Will curbside pickups still be part of the “new normal?” Retailers will have to prepare for the extreme measures in hopes that they can always scaled back. Those measures might be a redesigned floor plan that promotes a quicker “in and out” shopping experience. To facilitate that, those stores might have to step their promotions so shoppers will know exactly what is one sale and where to find it.
Stores might enlist a squad of personal shoppers to help their customers locate and purchase items throughout the store. This goes back to the promotion idea. If you can call up and place a direct order with a shopper, then it can be waiting for pickup. Many retailers are already deploying this approach to customer service and it seems to be operating very smoothly.
More Spending for Staying Home
Overall, retailers are bracing for the concept of folks spending more for home time. That means a big push for self-care and family fun around the house. It might be a harder sale for those special “holiday outfits.” If social-distancing is still in effect, then there might also be a lot less spending on food and parties. There will also be a big push for computer tablets and laptops.
There Will Be a Lot More Returns
Customers might be buying a lot more online. That takes away the opportunity to try some items on at home. The result could be buying two sizes and returning the one that doesn’t fit.
Every year online shopping proves to be a dominating force for holiday shoppers. There is no sign of that letting up this year. In fact, if given the choice of being in a crowd or shopping from the comfort of home, most shoppers will stay online. Even the diehard shoppers who love mixing it up in the crowds might make most of their purchases online.
Bottom line: If the coronavirus numbers go down, then the holiday spending will no doubt go up.