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A Change in Plans


Common industry wisdom holds that by the time the holidays actually come around, merchandising and marketing plans have been in place for several months or more. Thus retailers must be extremely accurate in their advance planning, since there is so little opportunity to make adjustments once the holiday rush begins.

According to Jayson Serrault, VP omnichannel marketing and analytics for 650-plus-unit specialty electronics chain Batteries Plus Bulbs, the evolution of consumer shopping habits and retail technology has turned common wisdom on its head.

“The day and age of planning for the holidays six months out are over,” Serrault said. “Things change too quickly. You try to create systems that are as flexible as possible. You need to have reactive subsystems like a customer database and a promotional management tool. If a situation arises, you can’t say, ‘Oh that’s not in our plan we created six months ago.’ You have to invest in systems flexibility.”

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