The New “Biggest Day” of the Holiday Season May Surprise You

by | Dec 22, 2016

2 min read

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When you think of the biggest shopping day of the year, your first thought might be Black Friday. That’s understandable—over the years, it’s become synonymous with the idea of deep sales and the commencement of the holiday shopping season. And while Black Friday has held the title for some time now, RetailNext is forecasting that it will soon lose that distinction.

Instead, by next year the new biggest day of the holiday season for sales will become December 23; for store traffic, it will become December 17.

So why the change? One of the major reasons is that more stores are opening late on Thanksgiving Day, which pulls traffic that would otherwise go to Black Friday. As the shift occurs, Black Friday will become the third busiest shopping day of the year.

For many retailers, preparing for this change will involve making sure they have enough inventory, staff, and promotional communications or sales to get them through the holiday season. But for online retailers (or other retailers with shipping needs), it will require even more work to respond accordingly.

As more and more sales will shift towards the final days in December, shippers will need to understand how they can meet consumer demand for those purchases to be delivered before December 25.

This change is coming soon, and shippers should begin asking the following questions: Can I realistically work with my carrier to meet this demand? What will the costs be for me to stay competitive with my delivery windows? When do I need to begin planning to address this challenge?

The answer to all of these questions and more begins with data. Shippers must make sure they are not only regularly monitoring the data within their shipping profile, but also have a deep understanding of what is driving it. For many shippers, understanding their data and comparing it against benchmarking information from similar shippers, will help them to identify opportunities to optimize their parcel carrier agreement, offsetting their parcel spend to accommodate for the new customer expectations that will occur as a result of such a major shift.

A new “biggest day” of the holiday season is coming. Shippers who make data a key component of their strategy in addressing it will be able to turn it from a challenge into a competitive opportunity.