It's that time of the year ...
Time for the leaves to change...
Corn mazes to sprout up...
Pumpkin spice latte...
and the perennial favorite of writers everywhere...
"I can't believe they already have Christmas stuff out and its not even Halloween."
Oh, excuse me, I suppose I should be in the camp talking about "the good old days" when Ralphie and Flick would admire the merchandise retailers had put in the shop windows during the annual Christmas parade at Higbees.
Wax on about when parents only purchased gifts for the kids during the Christmas season. (That hasn't happened in a generation - at least.)
Or maybe I should extol Nordstrom again because they won't put up decorations until Thanksgiving Day.
Sorry, there is one basic reason all retailers should do this. Wallets.
Most customers have a mental budget of what they will spend for the holidays; for decorations, for gifts for the family, for the teachers/coaches, for the office - the works.
The sooner those customers have spent money earmarked for holiday purchases, the less they will spend when it comes the traditional time to think about buying holiday gifts.
And that's the opportunity for all merchants to put out their holiday merchandise now.
This isn't something new but it is something smaller retailers have resisted and I suggest they get on board.
After all, catalogues with reams of holiday items have been arriving at your mailbox since August. They know something...
No, I'm not saying your holiday merchandise has to be in your display windows or in your prime selling space.
But there's a reason Target and Walmart started their holiday layaway plans early - they know Millennials. That generation is closer to my grandparents with their thriftiness. They know how to make their money go a long way and budget it accordingly.
With Apple's new AppleTV and iPhones expected to take a larger amount out of moms' and dads' holiday budgets, what will be leftover for any store will be smaller.
Smart merchants look at customer behavior when merchandising their stores, not their own preferences.
The big boxes put out holiday merchandise originally because they understood having it on the floor beat having it in a distribution center or stockroom. Whatever sold was a bonus.
And with many merchants having less staff, it can take longer to get the merchandise out onto the floor.
And let's face it Halloween doesn't have the breadth of merchandise across all categories like Christmas and holiday merchandise does.
So, if you are a retailer, find a way to get your holiday merchandise out there now before a competitor steals your customer and gets them to open their wallet now - leaving you with lower retail holiday sales.
If you're not a retailer and feel incensed at the realities of holiday retailing, please avoid commenting how awful it is for you. This blog is for merchants, not customers.
For more retail holiday tips, click the link below