It’s that time of year again – Thanksgiving is coming, and so is Black Friday. The holiday season is in full effect! Gone is Halloween and here’s November, ready to entice shoppers to spend, spend, spend! But what will shoppers be spending on, where will they be spending, and when will they be spending? We’ve got the scoop on the holiday season 2020.

How will this Year be Different?

COVID-19 has created a shift in shopping dynamics for consumers, and e-commerce has been accelerated. What’s more, the past few years have seen a transition from a single day to an entire month of deals offered by retailers. Once the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday and its door-busting deals are now dwindling, with shoppers changing their purchasing behavior:

“Research by Shopkick found that in 2020, 34% of shoppers intend to complete their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving, while 27% plan to do it between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Just 17% expect to shop on Black Friday.”

Black Friday 2020

For years, Americans have followed a tradition of getting together with family for Thanksgiving and hitting the stores afterward for Black Friday doorbuster deals. But this year, traditions are changing: most retailers began launching holiday sales and promotions in October. But early sales aren’t the only thing that’s different this year: while 2019 saw some retailers opening their stores in the evening hours of Thanksgiving, this year stores such as Walmart, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are breaking from the tradition and closing for the holiday. This will give their employees the time off to spend with loved ones, and many retailers are following suit.

These measures come on top of a whirlwind of other changes in an unpredictable year of reduced store hours, mask-wearing requirements, and limiting the number of shoppers in stores. So, why are these measures being taken? For one, stores want to spread out holiday shopping this year to avoid crowds: “Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Target said. “That’s why our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season.” In the midst of a changing landscape, retailers are opting for safety this season and offering more outlets and flexibility than ever before, while consumers are taking advantage of these and other safety options such as curbside pickup.

Is Black Friday Going Digital?

Typically, online deals are Cyber Monday’s sweet spot, but with an increase in challenges to in-person shopping and the acceleration of e-commerce brought on by the pandemic, this year could bring massive growth in the cyber space of retail on Black Friday as well. Amazon Prime Day launched the online holiday shopping season, and experts are predicting eCommerce sales to grow by 25-35%, year-over-year during the 2020-2021 holiday season, compared to sales increasing by 14.6% in 2019. In addition, 71% of US adults said they planned to do more than half of their holiday shopping digitally this year. So along with the month-long deal sprees and in the name of safety and precaution, Black Friday 2020 promises to be digital and distanced.

More Digital = More Returns

Typically, 30% of all eCommerce purchases get returned. With higher rates of online shopping, there likely will be an increased amount in returned dot com inventory as well. While return rates for both online and offline will remain steady to historical return rates, the total volume of returns is expected to increase as a result of the increased mix of online purchases. Added to that a pandemic driving online sales and retailers extending their return policies, and this year will see more returns. So, what can retailers do to mitigate these and recover?

This Much Return Action Requires a B2B Marketplace Auction

Retailers should look to liquidation as a viable channel to offset loss. Nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers are currently using private, branded, online auction marketplaces to sell their returned and overstock merchandise directly to an approved group of buyers (post holiday and year round). These marketplaces are customized, integrated, and scaled based on the retailer’s unique needs. For example, they can handle a substantial increase in inventory volume following the holidays without sacrificing velocity or recovery. They also allow total control over who is buying the inventory and how it enters the secondary market.

How Online Auction Marketplaces Solve for Overstock:

Higher Pricing

A B2B marketplace offsets substantial loss for returned or excess inventory, even comparable to reprocessing back on shelf or returning to the vendor. Setting up an online auction dynamic where specifically targeted small business buyers compete to buy your merchandise allows pricing to go up.

Channel Control

With B-Stock, you control who sees and buys your excess inventory by marketing to a database of targeted, vetted secondary market buyers. Exposure to the right buyers ensures there is no confusion between primary (a-stock) or secondary (b-stock) channels and protects your brand.

Velocity

Move excess inventory as needed—regardless of volume, time of year, or product category—with a larger buyer base made up of the right buyers.

Automation/Efficiency

Improve the operational efficiency of your liquidation program by automating your liquidation process. No more spreadsheets. No more faxing. No more negotiating over the phone. No more stress through the process.

Online Auction Dynamic

Extract buyers’ highest willingness to pay and have real data on secondary market prices. Increased competition through auctions means higher pricing; it also drives velocity and creates a sense of urgency and excitement.

Learn how you can choose a different level of recovery for your excess inventory by requesting a demo.

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