Big Box and Department Store Retail Planning for the Holidays
The National Retail Federation’s recent consumer survey offers several tips important for retail planning for the holidays. We can all be sure that big box stores, department stores, and national chains are paying attention to these consumer expectations! Here are a few things for us to respond to:
- Consumers are increasingly interested in wish lists. According to the survey, six in ten say they will use a wish list if it’s available.
- Consumers start shopping way before Black Friday. Shopping . . . not necessarily buying. But shopping is done differently these days. It’s done online, as consumers build lists and make plans, and they report that they start this process in September or October.
Consumers Do “Retail Planning” Too! Help Them
That means retailers whose websites help consumers build lists and prepare for the (often stressful) process of holiday shopping will be favored over those that don’t! You don’t have to be a “big business” to have a good wish list, comparison tools, and good navigation on your website. And having those things will definitely help you compete. Most website platforms allow you to turn on (or off) wish list functionality with a simple choice. Turn on those wish lists!
Retail Planning Requires Experimentation
A variety of news stories and reports indicate that the big retail operations are leery of depending on historical results to predict the 2017 shopping season. Things are changing so fast that what happened in the past may not be a good indicator of what will happen next. They’re not throwing out past results, but they’re adding into their planning a lot of experimentation and testing. Willing to try everything from virtual reality to virtual shopping assistants, big retailers are looking for ways to make the store experience more fun and more informative.
At the big retail operations, they are aggressively hunting for exciting new products, and innovating at the level of floor plans and selling strategies. If you’re just restocking your store for the holidays, and not thinking about every corner and cranny in your store, you may look fusty and outdated to shoppers being treated to fresher experiences elsewhere.
If you haven’t looked at the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, you might want to do so. There are a lot of good ideas in there that you could apply right away.