U.S. retail sales will reach $1.48 trillion in the fourth quarter.
In order to position their stores and e-commerce operations for this year’s holiday season, U.S. retailers have used the lessons they’ve learned from the pandemic-influenced shopping patterns of the previous two years, according to CBRE’s annual Holiday Retail Trends Guide.
The upcoming holiday shopping season, according to Bill Wright, senior managing director of CBRE’s Retail Advisory Services in the Americas, “is already demonstrating the adaptable nature of the retail and retail real estate.” Retailers were “spurred to think differently and early about their stores, their operations, and their supply chains, with the goal of delivering a better shopping experience and higher sales” as a result of the pandemic’s dramatic changes in shopping patterns and practices.
Retailers across the board are mainly focusing on three key trends in 2022, according to a CBRE report, to get ahead of the challenges that upended holiday shopping in recent years, including labor shortages, scarcity of certain goods due to supply chain disruptions, and outpaced growth in e-commerce versus in-store sales.
More stock, fewer out-of-stocks
In 2020 and 2021, supply chain disruptions caused shortages of some goods in stores and online as a result of closed factories and congested ports. By stocking more inventory closer to the customer, whether in stores or warehouses that are closest to major population centers, retailers and e-commerce businesses have addressed that issue this year.
In order to achieve this, the “just-in-time” model of stocking only what is anticipated to be needed had to give way to the “just-in-case” model of building deeper inventories earlier in the season. This has frequently led to warehouses being overcrowded and higher-than-usual stockpiles of loaded shipping containers in storage yards or behind stores. This is one of the reasons why the U.S.’s vacancy rate for leased warehouse space has dropped from 3.6 percent to a meager 2.8 percent this year.
The Labor Puzzle’s Solution
The retail industry, among others, is still coping with the job market disruption and displacement brought on by the pandemic.
Retailers are tackling the labor issue in a variety of ways. Many national retailers who have declared they won’t be open on Thanksgiving this year have reduced their store hours. Additionally, some businesses are placing a greater emphasis on their e-commerce operations because filling out the fulfillment roles in warehouses has frequently proven to be simpler than hiring more employees for retail locations.
Another change has to do with how the stores are laid out; many retailers have done this in order to create areas for staff to quickly fill online orders and separate areas for customers to pick up those orders, making the stores more effective and fostering better relationships between staff and customers.
Bring cash to shop; stay for the experience
Shop owners and retailers have been experimenting for years with better placemaking, which frequently entails adding experiences and services. A lot of mall owners have transformed formerly empty storefronts into Instagram-worthy experiences and exhibits. Examples include Princess Diana exhibits in shopping malls in Las Vegas and close to Washington, D.C., as well as the Netflix Stranger Things Experience in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London.
Santa Claus is here to help at last. According to Santa-booking company Hire Santa, the Santa-for-hire market grew by 121 percent between 2019 and 2021 and is currently even more active as we approach the holiday season of 2022. In recent years, the traditional Santa visit has changed to include online appointment booking, online print ordering, and more pet photo sessions. Santa visits have been added at a number of large retailers’ locations, including enormous outdoor retailers with standalone stores.