Kicking off the 2021 holiday shopping season

Let’s throw it back to the 1983 holiday season for a moment. A new toy had arrived on the scene, and baby, it caused a storm! Xavier Roberts’ Cabbage Patch Kids debuted that year, and by November, they were in such high demand, and the supply was so scarce, that riots broke out in stores across the U.S., including Sears, J.C. Penney, Wards, and Macy’s. And these riots were violent with hitting, shoving, trampling, and baseball bats! Christmas morning was a thrill for the children who unwrapped the toy fad of the decade, but it was a total bust for the unlucky ones who turned up doll-less.

Cabbage Patch Kids ushered in a new era of high-demand holiday toys that would continue with Game Boys in 1989, Tickle Me Elmo in the ’90s, and Hatchimals in 2016. By 2020, gaming was all the rage again with new PlayStation and Xbox options, but the holiday season hit a bit differently with a global pandemic on the map. People hunkered down inside with their bubbles and connected to family and friends over Zoom, and they shopped online—e-commerce in the U.S. grew 32.2% from 2019, totaling $188.2 billion—but spending was less. With the average American ringing in $998, people shelled out about $50 less than the previous year.

Turn the calendar forward twelve months, and although the pandemic is still hanging on, we’re looking forward to another busy holiday shopping season as we return to normalcy. That means airplanes will be full and traffic-heavy as families, being so over Christmas Zoom calls, will be gathering at grandma’s house. And that means gifts, lots of them.

But this year, there’s a huge obstacle in the way—supply and demand issues exacerbated by COVID-19—shipping delays, rising costs, labor shortages, severe weather, and a lack of delivery truck drivers are causing major bottlenecks. (More on supply chain issues here) However, inventory, or a lack thereof, doesn’t seem to be curbing expected buying behavior, with 40% of consumers planning to shop more this year than in 2020 and retail spending expected to jump to $206.88 billion. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically the busiest shopping days of the season; however, this year, forty percent of shoppers plan to start ticking off their holiday list before Halloween.

So what can retailers do to stay competitive from Halloween to Christmas and beyond? Tap into your most valuable asset, your customers who have purchased and published to a huge audience of buyers. Listen to what they are saying about your brand, products, customer service, pricing, inventory, shipping, and more. How? It’s simple with the Channel Signal platform—we aggregate product reviews from all your major e-commerce sites, filter and sort them, and then deliver them through our platform or to your Business Intelligence platform. In real-time, quickly identify your top and bottom-performing products (and everything in between) to understand consumer sentiment and gain agility. With the full picture of your review landscape, you are better informed, can align your teams from marketing to the C-suite, and quickly make decisions based on what’s best for your customers and your bottom line. At the same time, we can also provide a simple aggregated review score directly at the Buy Button to increase your conversion rates. The C2C Score combines comments and star ratings from the most recent product reviews to deliver an accurate marketplace score. It leads to confident decisions and speeds the path to purchase. Learn more here.

While it’s yet to be determined what the hot gift of the year will be, one thing is clear: whether you sell it or not, your online shopping cart will be filling up early. Help your customers avoid holiday disappointment by delivering a seamless shopping experience and help them push the Buy Button to deliver a holiday season to remember