With uncertainty about product availability out of China, which has in-part been fuelled by some shrill mainstream media reporting over the last week, going out early with Christmas in retail makes sense.
We have gently pitched Christmas through part of July and its worked a treat in our shops. But, it has been different to other years. This year, we have been at full price, offering range as a service. And, it has been selling.
Covid has people purchasing differently, and not only because of the most recent lockdowns. This is something that we saw from mid last year. Planners will buy early, earlier than usual. Non planners are responding to Covid by bringing forward purchases, too.
Outside of Christmas we see the impact of people nervous about supply for when they want items. In greeting cards and gifts, especially, we see people buying now for later giving. It’s interesting, something were first saw in the early months of covid that that has grown as the impact of the pandemic has continued through the calendar.
These are opportunities for retailers, newsagents especially, as in our channel there is likely to be more stock from last year (and before?) stored somewhere, which people may buy now, because of Covid. Also, there are suppliers with some Christmas stock from .last year that you could have in-store in a few days. These are all opportunities to convert to cash otherwise items that today are not delivering value for the business.
Now, if you have not embraced raced Christmas in July, there is nothing stopping you going out now or next week. These people being out of lack of supply in the future fear will appreciate it.
My advice is have a location in–store designated as early Christmas opportunities. Place the product as a service. Don’t discount. Speak to it several times on social media, let people know you have those who want to shop early covered. And, if anyone asks or complains, explain that it’s in response to requests. This is you providing a customer service.
This should not be a fear driven campaign. rather, it’s focus should be customer service.