The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season represents a large chunk of sales for retailers. However they don’t come without proper planning and service. Many American will be looking for deals throughout the holiday season. Many will be shopping online and in store. Some companies have to be fully prepared with proper pricing strategies and supply chains in order to fulfill consumer demand. For instance Amazon plans on hiring 80,000 workers this holiday season (Bensinger). They also have been studying traffic trends related to their price changes on their website. With the growth in ecommerce, many customers are constantly scanning sites for deals, whether at work or at home. For example, in October alone, Amazon changed the price of the Jawbone Up24 20 times. This allowed many customers to buy at a low price while others had to pay more. Amazon also is giving early holiday deals to their Prime members (Banjo). Sears had the same product listed on their website, but the changes in prices only happened every Tuesday and Friday (Banjo).

Last year’s shipping crisis has led to many consumers trying to shop and find deals earlier, and retailers have tried to do the same in order to spread out the traffic of shipping orders. Some online retailers are resorting to new strategies and tricks in order to provide customers with the best deal possible. Retailers put a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer on sale; but customers were not able to see the price until they added it to their online cart. Some retailers are also trying to create online door busters, where only a certain number of products are sold on a first come first serve basis (Banjo). Walmart is trying to come up with new strategies in order to edge out competitors in a price war. Walmart is thinking of extending their price match policy to online shopping as well. Meaning if someone finds a low price on Amazon, Walmart will also reduce its own price. In an effort to boost online sales, Target announced that they would remove shipping fees for online orders from October 22nd to December 22nd (Banjo).

It’s very interesting to see all the different strategies retailers are trying to implement. I find it intriguing that they are broadening the discount window into October and November. I really like how retailers have had to change their online strategy over the past couple of years. I for one will definitely be on the lookout for these deals this holiday season.

Do you shop a lot during holiday season? Do some of these strategies seem appealing to you?

Do you think many of these strategies will help some retailers gain an edge over one another?

Can you think of any other strategies/ management techniques retailers use in order to strengthen holiday sales?


10 thoughts on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  1. Holiday shopping is always interesting. It is amazing what the retail industry is trying to do to avoid the high traffic of shipping orders and inventory issues such as running out of products or too many items stocked. By spreading the sales throughout October until December, they are avoiding part of the holiday chaos. With the strong competition and the objective of maximizing their sales, especially at the end of the year, each of the retail companies is coming up with unique and aggressive strategies. To strengthen holiday sales some stores start the Black Friday sale early. I know Macy’s during the holiday season has the Friends & Family sale, where you get 25% off items on regular and sale price.

  2. Tis the season to go shopping. I agree that I shop more for others during this season, and who doesn’t enjoy a good deal? If the same product I am looking to purchase is at both Target and Amazon for the same price, but Target offers free shipping, of course I am going to be appealed by that marketing strategy, I don’t see who wouldn’t. I believe these managing/ marketing techniques will help boost sales during the holiday season.

  3. It seems that advertising is growing in our country!By advertising earlier people will shop earlier, relieving many firms of their stock and allowing them to forecast their demand more easily. I typically still enjoy brick and mortar and prefer to see my product before I buy it,but when it comes to holidays I enjoy shopping online because although demand for products are high you are most likely guaranteed to find a better deal online than in store. I think for those who truly enjoy shopping online, these new strategies will benefit them and sort of put many firms in the same competitive market where they will all be fighting for the same competitive advantage.

  4. Great post! I do shop more during the holiday season because of the discounts offered. For instance, I am currently keeping on eye on my favorite handbag company to see when they start their major online sales. Amazon is one company I like to buy from during the holidays because of the sales and deals the company offers. Target’s strategy of removing shipping fees does appeal to me. I’ve never ordered from Target online, but I might look into it. I think some of these strategies might give some retailers an edge, such as the free shipping.

  5. Holiday shopping…Oh goody, the time of year where the lines are even longer and the customers are even angrier jaja

    I must admit that I am one of those who leaves shopping for the very end because I happen to make a list of the gifts or product that I am going to buy and then head out on the 22nd and 23rd of December and get what I need. Yes, I know that I’m supposed to shop early so I can make sure there is plenty of stock left but in the end, I don’t like to go back and forth with myself so if the product is not in stock, no biggie.

    I could also do the whole wait in line for three days for the Black friday shopping but I decode not to anymore. One, because I used to go shopping for Black Friday before I began working retail and second is because I don’t want to be cold all night and hungry and miss football and the stuffing and everything there is about Thanksgiving day.

    Something that I still do and I am pretty sure will keep doing for a long time is COUPON-ING! because I make my list of what to buy, when I go out, even if the item is on sale, if it is not what I went to buy then it is not going in the cart. I rather wait and find some coupons for it or look it up online to see who has the best price and maybe even some kind of promotional offer first.

    The one strategy that I really hate as a person and as a retail associate is the fact that these stores are opening earlier and earlier every year! I don’t even know what thanksgiving dinner is anymore. For the last 3 years I’ve enjoyed something called Thanksgiving breakfast before heading to work and thanksgiving leftovers after I come back from hell on earth at work, YAY!

  6. In my opinion, Holiday season is when everybody shops anyways. So huge days like Black Friday, in my opinion, would be better served over the summer. Since people are going to buy gifts and items around the holidays anyways, these discount saving days seem a bit much. Especially considering that they take place on holidays, such as Thanksgiving. Online shopping has become so convenient, that online promotions such as free shipping seem like an added bonus rather than pulling someone in. Interesting post.

  7. Holiday shopping is HUGE in my family. Every year we go out on Black Friday hoping to get the best of the best sales. I used to enjoy it a lot more than I do now, because it’s starting to get ridiculous how stores are open on Thursday. I think it’s ruining Christmas because people are too concerned with beating others to the sales. It’s also ruining Christmas for the workers that have to deal with Black Friday or now Thursdays, I know because I worked at Victoria’s Secret and we closed early Thursday just so we could open back up at 2am on Friday. That was the worst experience of my time because as you mentioned we had certain gifts for the first couple hundred people which turned out to be a disaster. I wonder if this strategy works better for other stores, but it did not work out for Victoria’s Secret. Many stores choose to send out newsletters, texts, or alerts to their loyal customers in order to give them the first priority during holiday shopping.

  8. Interesting post! I think one thing a retailer can do to increase the sales on the holiday is try to focus on not only domestic U.S customers but also people around the world (especially clothing companies). I personally know a lot of friends who are not reside in the country would love to take advantage of the holiday season sales and I am sure they will shop more if the retailers can offer a discount on international shipping.

  9. I personally do not shop a lot during holiday season. Ever since I’ve moved to the United States I’ve been fascinated at the amount of money it’s spent during the holidays as well as how many people you see at the stores for black Friday. My sister and I sometimes go to the stores to see how things work during those buy days. I mostly spend my holidays outside of the country in where they know about the sales and discounts going on in the United States. Many people ask me to buy things online for them during those deals so I could bring it to them when I travel. If stores would offer cheaper if not free shipping internationally, their sales would increase.

  10. I shop a lot during the holiday season, and I find it interesting how retailers come up with new strategies so as to give customers best deals possible. For example, Walmart is thinking of matching online prices. It means if a customer finds a low price in an online retailer like Amazon; then Walmart will reduce their price. Walmart will gain a competitive edge over Amazon thus increase its sales. However, some strategies employed by retailers may not necessarily attract more sales. The strategy is withholding the price of an item until the customer adds it to their online cart. It may not give the retailers the competitive advantage they seek. Other strategies used by retailers to boost sales during holiday season include:
    • Aggressive marketing through social media e.g. Facebook and Twitter
    • Mobile marketing
    • Tailor made emails and brochures that capture the customer’s attention
    • Online interactive sessions with customers by listening to what they want and providing it.
    • The possibility of winning a free trip when one purchases beyond a certain amount

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