retail watch | Oct 1, 2020 |
Amazon, Target and Walmart make a play to save the holidays

Shoppers will need to get their keyboards ready and their fingers poised over the buy button come October 13 and 14, when both Amazon and Target plan to run huge online promotions that are expected to result in many billions of dollars in sales.

Amazon Prime Day—which, despite its name, is two days long—has traditionally been held in July; this year, the e-commerce giant postponed the date to October after COVID-related supply-chain issues hampered the original scheduling. According to one report, last year, Amazon did more than $7 billion in sales during the two-day event, including all kinds of home furnishings products.

This year’s Prime Day will go head-to-head with Target’s Deal Days, which include in-store discounts in addition to online sales. The event is part of the retailer’s elongated and expanded holiday promotional schedule, which includes one million more “deals” than last year, the company said.

Walmart is making moves of its own, with an even longer promotion: a shopping event called Big Save, offering discounts from both the retailer and its network of Marketplace sellers from October 11 to 15.

All three events, as well as Wayfair’s Way Day sale last week, are part of the retail push to start holiday shopping earlier than ever this year. With Black Friday weekend promotions—as well as the mad rush to shop in stores that usually hits in December—likely to be significantly scaled back due to safety concerns, retailers across the spectrum are getting early starts on their promotions. “By kicking off our holiday deals earlier than ever ... we’re letting guests know they don’t need to wait or face the crowds to get the best deals,” Christina Hennington, Target’s chief merchandising officer, told Reuters.

In that same article, Rick Maicki, managing director in the corporate finance practice at Berkeley Research Group, said: “The 2020 holidays will be elongated, with retailers looking to meter out a consistent cadence of holiday bargains, as opposed to focusing on big tentpole, door-buster type events.”

What all it means is this: One, if you’re trying to do holiday business, you’d better start as soon as possible. Two, unless you’ve got something absolutely spectacular to sell—and the ability to talk about it very loudly—you should probably stay out of the way on October 13 and 14.

Homepage photo: Shutterstock

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Warren Shoulberg is the former editor in chief for several leading B2B publications. He has been a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; received honors from the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Fashion Institute of Technology; and been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media as a leading industry expert. His Retail Watch columns offer deep industry insights on major markets and product categories.

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