Tis the Season....Already

It's the second week of November, and the local mall has Christmas trees up, lights strung through landscaping, wreaths hung on doors and parking garages, and holiday music on the radio. The holiday commercials are out in full force, with family in sweaters sharing smiles and love, extraordinary deals on popular gifts, and children that can't wait to gather around the tree to open presents on Christmas morning.  Whether you like it or not, the holiday season is here.

Retailers, in essence, control the start of the holiday season. Typically, the "official start" to the holiday shopping season is the day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday. Some stores have even had their holiday displays up since November first! Black Friday is a holiday all by itself, as stores have outrageousdoorbusters , ginormous savings on popular items, and deals you can only get once a year. In recent years, the holiday shopping season has been pushed back, leaving retailers and consumers adjusting their typical protocol. There are two ways to approach this phenomenon: as a retailer and as a consumer. 

As a Retailer
Holiday marketing strategies which start before the actual holiday season will bring in customers and revenue, so consumers feel as if they are getting a head start on the holiday season. Give your customers great deals before the holiday rush, and in the meantime, prepare for the holiday rush. Do you have enough employees? Are your shipments arriving on time? Starting the holiday season early will give your business a "trial run" of how smoothly things will go for Black Friday and the rest of the holiday season. Having a "trial run" and starting the holiday season sooner will help your holiday predictions out by observing trends of the customers for this season. Track the trends, and change your store layout to promote the popular and discounted items. Work out all the kinks in advance and get your business prepared for the real rush.

As a Consumer
Starting the holiday shopping season sooner than usual can be both pleasant and stressful for consumers. Stores are packed, parking spots are hard to come by, and the reminders of having to spend money are everywhere. Fortunately, starting your holiday shopping sooner gives you time to get the shopping out of the way, leaving time for family and friends during the holiday. Spreading out your holiday shopping gives your bank account a break as well. Take advantage of the deals that retailers are providing early. Also, some merchandise that you see today in stores may not always be available closer to the holidays. Avoid the rush and anxiety of Black Friday by getting your shopping done earlier.

Whether you are like me, wishing it was socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music year round, or prefer to not be bombarded by "Jingle Bells" until December 23rd, retailers are telling you the holiday season is here. Do you have any other ways you and your small business prepare for the holidays?