Shipping, Shopping, and Supply: Getting a Head Start This Holiday Season
By Reagan Williams
(Source: Pexels, Adrienne Andersen)
Last year’s holiday season taught retailers and consumers some invaluable lessons. This resulted from the impact COVID-19 had on the economy. Both groups felt the frustrations of shortages, delivery issues, and supply chain demands as online shopping skyrocketed. In this retail season, if you start your holiday shopping after Black Friday or at the last minute, you might need to abandon the habit. Retail insiders are encouraging people to start now to reap the benefits. Retailers have begun to prepare for supply chain issues, increased prices, merchandising conundrums and the lack of staff in stores to service customers. This holiday season you can expect to spend more money as prices have risen in almost every consumer category.
Ultimately, if you want to avoid the pitfalls of fewer sales, a semiconductor shortage, and rising costs then it is advantageous for you to create a budget and plan. According to RetailMeNot, consumers will be shopping online and in stores in a 50/50 split. A budget on pen and paper or through a budgeting app can help you save money and strategize on how to use your credit cards and look at your spending patterns. Next, expect to feel the residual effects of retailers’ increased shipping costs. Currently, retailers are facing $223 billion dollars in shipping goods this holiday shopping season. The best time is now to order any gaming consoles, vehicles, or even home appliances, because these in-demand items are in shortage.
In 2020, Walmart was the largest retailer. Officially, Walmart decided to say goodbye to their layaway option before the onset of the 2021 holiday season. Instead, the retail giant decided to shift gears and replace it with a buy now, pay later financing option with the company, Affirm. The advantage customers have is that they can buy their items, take them home immediately and avoid accumulating interest like the layaway model. Unlike layaway, not everyone will be eligible to qualify for the buy now, pay later option. A person will have to apply for Affirm and see where their APR rate might fall in the 10% to 30% range with their pre-qualification status. Additionally, Affirm offers payment options such as the Affirm virtual Visa card or installment loans where customers have up to 24 months to pay off their purchases. As the season of giving is changing, what can you expect this holiday season?
(Source: Pexels, Tim Douglas)
You can expect this holiday shopping season to be a wild ride with major companies experiencing pandemic-related global supply chain issues and labor shortages. For example, Nike is warning its customers about potential shortages this season. Nike and other global companies are contending with problems from fewer workers in their factories, lost weeks of production, and strict pandemic lockdowns in their Vietnam manufacturing plants. So, consumers need to prepare themselves this holiday season. They might not be able to purchase their favorite products or get particular items in this holiday season. However, do not wait to buy the things on your shopping list- shop sooner versus later to minimize potential frustration.