Ought to shoppers begin planning for Christmas now and keep away from doing enterprise?

By retail and marketing expert aka "The Consumer Futurist" Amanda Stevens.

Retail and Marketing Expert, aka "The Consumer Futurist" Amanda Stevens. Retail and Marketing Expert, aka "The Consumer Futurist" Amanda Stevens.

Have you planned in advance and ordered your Christmas stock early or are you still waiting for a delivery like most of the industry?

Recent data from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) suggests retailers prepare for the start of the holiday season as early as October to meet consumer demand. This stands alongside many new rules and restrictions for retail workers as they work on the front lines before the holiday season. So what can retailers expect this Christmas season?

The easing of lockdowns and restrictions, mainly in NSW and Victoria, in the coming weeks is slowly returning to normal consumer life. However, new research shows that locking their savings habits will fall out the window. However, a survey commissioned by Addicted to Audio found that Aussies were already giving up work and educational needs and had to spend a lot on leisure as early as August.

Lockdown had all of her usual routines swapped out to get used to her new lifestyle. Hence, spending habits are changing. However, with a larger proportion of the population returning to work, families are expected to spend more than usual during the 2021 holiday season. With buying habits difficult to break, this lockdown shows that Christmas shopping will be more impulsive than ever.

We know the nation has been shopping online more than ever since the lockdown began. Product delays from international suppliers have led retail giants like Best & Less and Big W to warn consumers to expect delays in December. Research is already showing that shipping delays are likely to increase over previous years as much of the nation chooses the online route for Christmas goods.

With that in mind, here are some key tips for your time.

Plan, plan, plan

Buy as much as you can ASAP. Consider switching to a local supplier to make sure the product is available to your customers. While this can be more expensive in the short term, it will keep your customers happy and hopefully come back for repeat purchases.

While online shopping is the most popular shopping option, the ARA survey found that nearly 60% of Aussies are planning on doing in-store shopping this Christmas. Parcel delays have had a big impact this year too, caused by closed borders and delivery disputes. In light of these delays, retailers are encouraged to plan for adequate inventory both online and in-store, and also offer click-and-collect services where possible. Customers are encouraged to join the early train shopping for Christmas gifts in preparation for the height of the retail season.

Support for local and small businesses

It has been an ongoing trend since the tragic 2019-2020 bushfires that consumer and local business support is important. During the lockdowns, communities have come together to support local businesses affected by Covid-19. This is a great time for small business owners to get the most out of all of their sales outlets and marketing channels.

If you're a larger retailer, consider stocking products from local or small businesses. This small component can attract a new customer base and hopefully convert them.

Know your customer

The final point for the retail world this Christmas season is to connect with the wants and needs of customers. Know what customers are looking for and how your products fit into them. Understand where customer demand will be in both online and in-store.

ARA data found toys, puzzles and board games topped the list, closely followed by vouchers and gift cards. Technology and entertainment upgrades are also popular. Aussies will be helping the full stocking retail trade as they will spend an average of $ 726 on Christmas gifts this year. After the past 18 months of battered incomes, there is good news on the horizon.

About Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens is a speaker, writer, television host, and business improvement consultant who is passionate, excited, and curious about marketing, consumer psychology, and business building. Her ability to articulate what consumers want and how brands can connect with them in unique and meaningful ways has led her to speak at over 1200 conferences worldwide.

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