Retailers are a little jittery this pre-holiday season with roughly one less week for shopping given the closer proximity between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and reports that consumers are expected to trim overall spending. This is why they are sweetening the deals a full month ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in hopes of winning a larger share of the consumer’s wallet.
The National Retail Federation expects sales in the months of November and December to increase 3.9% to $602 billion. Other groups have said that forecast is a little ambitious given that the average consumer is expected to spend $738 this year, roughly 2% less than expenditures a year ago, as they reduce self-gifting and scale back gifts to family.
Wal-Mart announced Friday (Nov.1) online customers can access rollback prices on more than 300 early-bird specials at exclusive prices on Walmart.com. Toys "R" Us is giving bigger perks to its most loyal shoppers, from cash back to exclusive deals two days ahead of Black Friday.
At Walmart.com the early-bird specials are first come, first serve and sent via email blasts to customers who sign up at Walmart.com, Facebook, or download the mobile app.
Friday’s deals included a $49 tablet, offers on smart phones, computers, toys and household products.
"We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "Customers want to relax with friends and family during the holidays, and with our early deals we are helping them make the most of their time and helping them stretch their dollars further."
The retail giant has added this year free online shipping of 99% of items purchased on Walmart.com, when the order exceeds $50. Wal-Mart has also tripled the number to 70,000 items that customers can order online and pick up in-store the same day.
The retailer’s mobile shoppers can also expect convenience including access to their local circulars, rollback items and a store map to help them plan their next local store visit. Mobile accounted for 40% of Walmart.com holiday traffic last year, a number the retailer expects to increase even more this holiday season.
TOYS “R” US REWARDS
The toy specialty retailer announced Friday (Nov.1) three special perks for its most loyal shoppers ahead of this holiday season. Toys “R" Us credit cardholders receive 10% off their in-store purchases every Saturday through Dec. 21. Shoppers who elect to open an account during the exclusive promotional period can also receive an additional 15%** off their purchase.
"All year long, we continually seek new ways to engage with and reward our most loyal customers. Especially during the holidays, our goal is to provide consumers with even more compelling reasons to shop our brand, while helping them fulfill the wishes of the children in their lives," said Amy Avitabile, vice president, marketing communications. "Our enhanced loyalty incentives are just some of the ways we are showing our appreciation of our most faithful shoppers – both long-standing and new."
The retailer has also added “Double-Wish-ious Wednesdays” this year, which allows its credit customers to earn double reward points between Nov. 6 and Dec. 25 on all in-store and online purchases at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us.
Lastly, Toys “R” Us said its existing reward members or those who sign up for the loyalty program before Nov. 24 will receive a special email offer, granting them access to purchase Black Friday deals beginning Wednesday, Nov. 27.
It’s a two day pre-shopping event with the same deals offered to the general public on Black Friday.