Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas Creep & Retail Trends

Traditional ChristmasHalloween preparations are in full swing by us: the leaves are turning, my daughter has her costume figured out and we've started plotting out the trick or treat route. Although I've noticed a few Thanksgiving reminders, I'm pleased to report that - so far - Christmas creep [aka onslaught as noted in Elmo Saves Christmas, But Not From Retailers] seems discrete. Might this be a sign of retail trends to come?

If there's willingness from Retailers [to] Shift Strategy, Sync With Seasons & Other Novel Approaches, don't you think that highlighting and showcasing holiday products closer to the actual holiday makes sense? Especially for a consumer who's been battered by unprecedented economic forces?

I have to admit, I got worried in July when I came across these articles: Stores Take Christmas In July More seriously [hat tip to Aneta Hall] and 'Twas 147 Shopping Days Before Christmas... and then It's beginning to look like Christmas - in September.

Sears, Kmart and Toys R Us are mentioned in the first two articles.

The first also refers to Hallmark's 20 year tradition of unveiling half of its holiday collection in July. I like traditions and that kind of a consistent approach strikes me as authentic. As does QVC's annual Christmas in July event, mentioned in the second article.

The third describes Macy's Holiday Lane shop rolled out in September to 'prime the consumer spending pump' given how critical the Christmas Holiday shopping period is to many retailers [~ up to 35% of annual sales] and how poor retail sales have been.

Seems to me that's a sure what to exhaust shoppers prematurely.

What do you think? How critical is Christmas to your business and how do you handle Holiday sales, promotions, communications and decorations?

These two articles by Anne D'Innocenzio highlight retail trends more in keeping with what I observe going on. In Stores think old-style, Anne refers to a return to traditional holiday themes with the goal of offering comfort, support and relevance to shoppers. An example is Neiman Marcus holiday catalog nods to recession. The retailer has rethought its famous holiday catalog for 2009 and close to half of products are now less than $250! The Christmas book's introduction reads: "Tokens of affection don't have to be extravagant to be brilliantly received."

Fascinating, no?

Although an extreme example, it does reinforce some of the retail trends in the works, which according to Retail Customer Experience's Top 10 brand and marketing trends for 2010 include:

1. Value is the new black
2. Brands are increasingly a surrogate for 'value'

3. Brand differentiation is brand value

4. 'Because I said so' is so over

5. Consumer expectations are growing

6. Old tricks don't/won't work anymore

7. They won't need to know you to love you

8. It's not just buzz

9. They're talking to each other before talking to the brand

10. Engagement is not a fad. It's the way today's consumers do business

Does these trends coincide with what you've observed? What would you add to the list? And, what are your thoughts on the Holidays and the retail experience?

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:


Unknown said...

We were just talking about this yesterday! I agree, putting out the merchandise earlier makes it less likely that I will want to buy it, not "priming the pump." I'd love to see retailers come up with creative ways to merchandise fall items, saving Christmas until after Thanksgiving like it used to be.

CB Whittemore said...


I do love that you were discussing this very subject, and agree whole-heartedly. I love the kind of merchandising that I've seen in Europe - where it's about colors and shapes and seredipitous associations.

Thanks for dropping by!

Post a Comment

Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...