Competing With Big Retailers For Holiday Sales

Holiday Success Strategies

Despite a slow economy, rising gas prices, and the uncertainty of an impending presidential election, big retailers are anticipating an increase in this year’s holiday sales compared to last year’s. In order to make this happen, strategic steps are now being taken, according to Anita Campbell in an article for American Express Open Forum.


The article “How to Best Big Retailers for Holiday Dollars” outlines four specific things that big retailers are doing right now to assure success for the season. They are as follows:

1.     Hiring – 57% are planning to hire the same number of seasonal workers as last year; 36% are planning to hire more.

2.     Starting early – 42% will start holiday sales and promotions in October; 58% will start in November. Instead of the usual overstocking, this will allow them to see what products are selling well in October. Then there is still time to reorder for November and beyond.

3.     E-commerce – Last year during the holiday season, 10 days had over $1 billion each day in online sales. Anticipating strong E-commerce again this year, 12% of seasonal hires will be in distribution centers compared to 74% in physical stores.

4.     Pricing – Feeling more optimistic this year, a smaller percent of retailers with brick-and-mortar locations feel less pressure to match prices offered by online-only stores. Half of all retailers report that they will cut back on discounts and sales.

So what strategies can be used by small business operations to be competitive with the larger ones? Here are some suggestions for you to ponder:

Get an early start. Like the larger companies, you can also launch holiday promotions early. Focus on targeting customers you think will be the most receptive, or target certain products for promotion.

Consider offering layaway. “Pre-sales” of this type can help you predict your cash flow with greater confidence.

Discount with care. Offering consumers extra value to make your products worth a premium price will be easier than trying to compete with large companies on price alone,.

Hire now. With many people still out of work there won’t be a shortage of qualified seasonal workers. Competition will be stiffer, however, with big retailers hiring permanent workers early on. Don’t wait too long; start recruiting now.

With a little foresight and careful planning, small business sales for the upcoming holidays could easily outperform last year’s. The key element will be timing, so don’t delay. Start planning now for those holiday profits!

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