What do you dislike about Christmas shopping

Why you should do your Christmas shopping now

Retail experts are calling on the public to start their Christmas shopping earlier than usual this year in order to ease the rush during peak shopping time.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched a new national campaign calling on the public to start buying Christmas gifts now in order to reduce last-minute demand for items in the last weeks of November and December .

We don't usually think about starting our Christmas shopping in October. But this year our plans have been a little mixed up because of the number of people allowed to celebrate, although it is not yet clear what the restrictions will be in December.

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"While celebrations will undoubtedly be a little different this year, we know customers want Christmas to be special," said Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive. “That's why we encourage people to start shopping early and avoid the last minute rush so that other customers, store workers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers have enough space behind the scenes to be safe and stay healthy. "

The BRC pointed out that since March retailers have strengthened their supply chains and introduced additional safety and hygiene measures in their stores and for online orders. "The BRC sales figures for September suggest that customers started a little earlier than usual as there are many benefits to distributing Christmas shopping right now - from security to managing finances," added Dickinson. "However, we want more people to remember the true meaning of Christmas, think of others and 'shop early, start packing' and, above all, enjoy Christmas - however they celebrate."

At the same time as the campaign started, Oxford Street announced, according to the Retail Gazette, that it would turn on the Christmas lights earlier this year. The new date is now Monday, November 2nd, around three weeks earlier than in 2019, when the lights were switched on on November 21st. According to Sabrina Benjamin, retail expert and founder of the Q Manager booking tool, the coronavirus and its impact on sales have made retailers more anxious than ever to encourage shoppers to do their Christmas shopping now.

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"Every year customers wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping, which creates an incredible rush, but this year everything is different," she said. "Because of the effects of COVID-19, customers are limited in their ability to 'get up and go' by many factors that they cannot control."

Benjamin mentions some of these uncontrollable factors as the Rule of Six, according to which no more than six people are allowed to meet as a group, or the possibility of being asked to self-isolate for a certain period of time. "In addition, there have been many road closures in London as a direct result of the pandemic, which further affects mobility / traffic," added Benjamin.

“These changes lead to a huge increase in online shopping. Many retailers are seeing double-digit growth. As this was an unforeseen change, many retailers do not have the additional storage and delivery capacity to handle the additional sales volume during the traditional Christmas season. “Setting up new warehouses is a lengthy and expensive process. In many cases it would be difficult to justify such costs for a quarter of the year. "

The next option, she said, is to distribute the volume of sales. "By starting the Christmas sales early, retailers have the opportunity to get a percentage of their traditional Christmas sales sooner (and get the same sales volume over a longer period of time)," she said. This reduces the risk of supply chain bottlenecks that could lead to delivery delays that could prevent customers from getting their products in time for Christmas. "In addition to the financial challenges that have emerged this year, reputational damage is something every retailer should avoid," she continued.

In addition, many websites cannot handle high access rates. “If the rush from the shopping streets were to move to the Internet during the traditional Christmas business, it would not be surprising if many pages collapsed. That in turn leads to missed sales and angry customers, ”said Benjamin.

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But starting early to buy Christmas gifts is not only beneficial for retailers. Lee Lucas, director and CEO of the Fashion Retail Academy, says shoppers will happily accept the prompt to replenish their stockings sooner rather than later this year as they desperately long for some Christmas cheer after months of social and travel restrictions. “It is beneficial for customers to start buying gifts early, as it means that the purchases and their costs can be spread over a longer period of time,” he said.

“This also makes social distancing easier. If customers spread their Christmas shopping over the next nine weeks, this will also prevent large crowds in the shopping streets and malls in December. In addition, it helps prevent a last-minute rush and panic buying, which can easily occur if the shopping is left until the week before Christmas. "

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