‘Tis The Season to Shop Early, Say Retailers

Nov 13, 2003

By George Anderson

Retailers are trying to get consumers out of their last minute shopping ways and into stores to do their Christmas shopping early this year with special promotions and discount
price merchandise.

Erik Gordon, director of the University of Florida Retail Center told USA Today, “It’s better for the retailer to sell it at a price break of 25% today rather than 60%
in December when people have already blown through their holiday budget.”

Retailers are using a variety of “special deals,” such as buyer rewards, sweepstakes, loyalty programs and merchandise stowaway, to convince consumers now is the right time get
the shopping done for Christmas.

Stores such as Bloomingdale’s are offering buyer rewards with $25 off a purchase of $100 or more.

Lillian Vernon is running a sweepstakes that automatically enters customers into a drawing for prizes including $25,000 in merchandise and a trip to the Big Apple.

Retailers looking to connect directly with female consumers with children are using frequent-buyer incentive programs such as ClubMom.com. Pier 1, J.C. Penney, RadioShack, and
Payless Shoes are some of the well known retailers using the program.

Customers that are ready to buy, but not ready to take gifts home are being given the option by retailers such as Crate & Barrel to stowaway products or delay shipping to
a date closer to Christmas.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you believe are the best tactics for getting customers into the stores or online early to do their Christmas shopping?

Having done an audit of discount and department stores in northern New Jersey yesterday, we found shoppers looking at holiday items but few actually buying,
even though there were some good deals to be had.

We’re not sure that a large percentage of consumers can be reprogrammed out of their late shopping habits. They’ve saved too much money in the past by waiting
until the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas.
Anderson – Moderator

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