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07/29/2022

Five retailers ready for this year’s holiday shoppers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Joann Stores is connecting its mobile and in-store experiences.

With consumers poised to shift their holiday buying patterns, retailers need to be proactive, not reactive, in their response.

According to recent Salesforce research, 51% of consumers plan to purchase fewer holiday gifts this year. Factors such as inflation, rising interest rates and supply chain shortages are all expected to create new concerns that go beyond the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on these circumstances, Salesforce predicts retailers will face holiday shopping scenarios including customers buying earlier than normal to avoid price hikes, as well as physical stores driving growth across all channels.

Following are a few examples of retailers who are already preparing their technology and supply chain environments to overcome these seasonal challenges.

Early shoppers

Target is launching a program to right-size its inventory for the remainder of 2022 and greatly expand its distribution infrastructure, which should have the added benefit of helping meet the stock needs of early holiday shoppers. The plan includes setting additional markdowns, removing excess inventory, and canceling orders.

The program also includes the addition of incremental holding capacity near U.S. ports, in what Target says is an attempt to add flexibility and speed in the portions of the supply chain most affected by external volatility. Target also intends to take pricing actions to address the impact of what it terms “unusually high” transportation and fuel costs; as well as to work with suppliers to shorten distances and lead times in the supply chain.

Meanwhile, SPA Global Licensing Inc., the company that manages the global brand U.S. Polo Assn., is marketing colors from its year-round colorways as substitutes for supply chain-impacted colors belonging to a shorter season, like its resort collection. This will help ensure that whenever a consumer chooses to begin their holiday shopping, U.S. Polo Assn. will serve them products that are currently available.

Blending brick-and-mortar stores with digital channels

Leading specialty arts and crafts retailer Joann is seamlessly connecting mobile shoppers to the in-store experience, in real time.Joann has implemented the Radar geofencing platform, so that when a customer engages with the app, the Radar solution checks their location to see if they are in a Joann store geofence.

If the app user is inside a Joann geofence, a free shipping coupon is displayed, encouraging the customer to place an online order if the item they’re searching for isn’t available in the store. This will help incentivize busy holiday shoppers to place their order through the Joann app instead of leaving the store to look for the item at a competitor, saving frenzied customers valuable shopping time while also saving Joann critical holiday sales. 

And what could be more of a traditional holiday shopping activity than visiting a local mall? Shopping center operator Simon and Florida-based Westland Mall are both ensuring holiday shoppers can easily find what they need at their tenants’ stores with omnichannel search functionality.

Simon is rolling out Simon Search, a platform designed to give shoppers the ability to research in-stock products available at participating retailers through the Simon app, property websites, and interactive directories located at Simon properties nationwide.

Similarly, Westland Mall offers a digital platform called “Shop Now” that enables its customers to search participating retailers in the mall for products. Shoppers can use the tool to pre-plan their in-person visit, as well as add products to a wish list, which acts like a shopping list.

Leveraging the Shop Now platform, customers can search for any product they are looking for from the center’s participating retailers – “red shoes” for example – and the site will display all the red shoes available from the directory of applicable Westland Mall retailers.

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