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Viewpoint: Deck The Halls

Season’s greetings! (He says, ducking) Only in the farkakte (look it up) world of retailing would perfectly sane men and women enjoy an early July weekend and then turn their attention to Christmas.

But it’s time to start counting beads, scanning spreadsheets and planograms, and figuring out just how early is too early to start holiday promotions (my guess this year is a few hours after your kids come home from trick-or-treating).

The landscape has changed drastically and the 48-hour post-Thanksgiving sales circular has gone the way of the Chevy Chevette, or Loverboy cassettes. It’s a new ballgame.

How do you defend your turf from Amazon and its ilk this holiday season? How do you generate foot traffic when consumers can finish their gift buying in their car, on their smartphone? What exactly do you accomplish by selling that stack of $39 Blu-ray players in six minutes?

It all comes down to planning.

Deep discounts and doorbuster specials attract a certain small group of shoppers. What really drives traffic is stocking the products that shoppers need, even if they don’t know it yet, And that involves smart merchandising, product demos, and knowledgable workers on your selling floor.

If you approach these hurdles after Labor Day, you’re too late. The time to plan is now.

I chat with a lot of distributors and buying group execs, and every one of them laments the fact that retailers under-utilize their offerings.

Product training, point-of-sale materials, promotional videos, live events … the list of what manufacturers, buying groups and distributors can do to help you succeed is almost endless, but many, if not most, retailers take a short view of the day-today selling business and end up being passed by despite the tools available to them.

Meantime, Amazon is basically kicking off the holiday selling season today with its Prime Day. No, it’s not an event specifically geared toward holiday sales, but it is a catalyst, prompting consumers to consider the value of the deal and, very often, pull the trigger on a purchase that can sit in their basement until the holidays arrive. A deal’s a deal and sometimes I think the consumers are ahead of the retailers in their planning.

My kids, come November, will be begging for one of the new game consoles on the market, and I will have trouble holding back my smirk if I can take advantage of a good deal in July.

Look, I hate the fact that my local supermarket will have a Halloween candy display in about two weeks, but they have caught on to the fact that there is no such thing as a holiday shopping season. There is now just a 365-day shopping reality. And the early bird, as they say, gets the worm. Retailers take heed … and happy holidays!


Attention retailers and distributors: Voting will soon begin for TWICE’s annual VIP Awards. Please check out our website and give us your input on what products are boosting your bottom line. There are a record number of entries this year, and the winners will be announced in our Aug. 21 issue. In addition, we will be crowning our Super VIP, the company with the most individual product winners.

TWICE is only as good as its readership, and we know you know what makes a new product great. We thank you in advance for your input.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me personally at [email protected].