How Consumers are Adjusting Shopping Habits for Black Friday 2021

 

Commentary:

Black Friday is fast approaching, and lingering on every retailers’ mind is the impact that COVID’s retail closures, supply chain disruptions, and acceleration of ecommerce adoption will have on the outcome of holiday deals and shopping habits. A deciding factor will be how consumers engage with the retail industry’s various sales channels.

With at-scale on-demand delivery, new ecommerce marketplaces, and every brand under the sun running a more robust omnichannel approach than before, will these compounding trends significantly impact how consumers shop during Black Friday? How have consumer habits changed over the last two years and how should online retailers, specifically, adjust? We sourced mass retail expert with Growth Spurt Sales & Marketing, Jennifer Kaylo Ruscin, for some quick analysis on where she sees shifts in shopping habits, and how she’s advising consumers to make the most of lingering disruptions to the Black Friday experience.

Abridged Thoughts:

The first thing I would say is heading into COVID, Black Friday was still Black Friday. People expected to go into stores to find amazing deals, to fight with each other and create a bit of excitement and maybe perhaps havoc at store level as they race to purchase everything that they wanted. Now we started to see some shifts to online shopping habits back in 2019 and then everything changed during COVID. So last year we saw a huge, tremendous shift to pretty much online, exclusive purchases for Black Friday. So much to the point that vendors were running out of inventory, that shoppers couldn’t find anything. P.S., similar story is going to happen this year. And so as we jump to this year, what I’m seeing is because of the issues that we’re having bringing products into port and because of already the limited amount of inventory on shelf, we’re hearing already that toys are going to be an issue to be found in stores. Some tips that I would have this year. If you’re a shopper is, number one, shop, early. Shop early, early, early, early. Start now. I felt this transition as we were moving into Christmas already in November that we were moving from Halloween to Christmas and in-store, instead of feeling irritated like I typically do, like, “why are we already like playing Christmas music and why are we already seeing sales and Black Friday deals on November 1st?” You guys, it’s because if we don’t shop early, there won’t be anything left. So definitely feeling that sense of urgency. And number two, think experiences and outside of the box if you run out of inventory or if you’re running out of things to purchase for your family and your loved ones. I’m really encouraging everybody to think about purchasing locally, thinking about an experience like take people to Topgolf, go bungee jumping or skydiving, or plan a camping trip. I know none of these things are retail related, but when we all walk around and we’re looking at shelves in Q4 and we find that there’s nothing left, think outside the box.

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