Why you should really get your Christmas shopping done ASAP
If you’re not in logistics, you’ve probably heard the term âsupply chainâ more in the past few weeks than in your entire life.
The global supply chain is fight to keep up with demand and capacity amid a range of disruptions, from labor shortages to congestion in ports. You may have noticed longer delivery times and delays in your online orders this fall. With the busiest shopping season approaching, it is clear that these issues will affect festive retailers as well.
âWhen these major retail brands try to find other manufacturing solutions, it increases their costs and creates delays,â Kristin McGrath, purchasing and trending expert at Retail MeNotsaid HuffPost. âThe result is fewer products consumers have to buy and higher prices for the products available. This becomes an even bigger problem during the holidays, when the demand for various retail products is already so high. “
So what can consumers do to make Christmas shopping less miserable? McGrath and other experts share their advice below.
Start shopping this year
“Our manufacturing and shipping infrastructures are complicated, so every hook has a knock-on effect,” noted McGrath. âBuyers need to know that last minute shopping is not an option. And they don’t just have to think about delivery times, they also have to think about the challenges retailers face in keeping things in stock in the first place. “
In fact, it’s important to start early this year. A poll from creditcards.com found that more than half of the shoppers surveyed planned to start their Christmas shopping in 2021 before Halloween – with the largest segment of early shoppers being parents with children under the age of 18. Because of this, it’s important to prioritize certain items that you may need, especially popular toys.
“If you’ve been keeping an eye on that TikTok trending item or must-have toy this season, buy it now when you see it in stock,” advised Kristen Gall, shopping and retailing expert Rakuten rewards. “Alternate options may be available throughout the season, but if you or your loved ones have something specific on their vacation list, it is best not to wait.”
Be aware and informed
Make a plan for your gift purchase this festive season and have your shopping list ready early.
âSince shopping early could mean forgetting what and for whom you bought in December, use a gift tracking app like Santa’s Bag, which allows you to write down ideas and budget per person, keep track of what you bought and how much you’ve spent and get a total amount spent in real time, âsuggested the money and budgeting expert. Andrea Woroch. “That will help prevent overheating.”
Gall recommended adding items to your virtual shopping cart now, even if you haven’t bought them yet.
“Not only does this help you visually see your budget, it also gives you time to think twice before pulling the trigger on an item,” she said.
Stay up to date on global supply chain disruptions and what is likely to become scarcer as a result.
“There is a shortage of microchips, for example, and anything that needs to work will be harder to come by, including personal tech, video games, some gadgets, and even new cars,” said Woroch.
McGrath found that apparel and shoe brands like Adidas, American Apparel, Gap, and Nike were already affected by the supply chain issues. The same is planned for the hot toys of the Christmas season.
“CEOs of companies that make and sell popular toy brands, including Little Tykes, Bratz, LOL, Fisher Price and K’nex, warn of potential toy shortages and increased prices,” she said. “This is largely due to delays and price increases associated with shipping.”
Track offers and prices as soon as possible
âRetailers will be going strong right now with their early sales,â she added. âBuyers need to make their list and grab things when they go on sale. Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon have all announced early sales and staggered Black Friday sales that span several weeks. This can be confusing for shoppers compared to everything focusing on Black Friday. “
To retain discounts on low-sale items, consumers should sign up for retailers’ email newsletters and watch out for Christmas sales announcements and coupons. Often times when you subscribe for the first time, you can get a discount on your first purchase.
“Buyers worry about buying too early for fear of overpaying and missing out on savings, but retailers are constantly fluctuating prices and promoting new deals and coupons,” said Woroch. “Here’s how you can make savings before Black Friday by tracking prices, setting sales alerts, and automating coupons.”
She advised setting up sales alerts with Amazon Assistant or Honey’s Droplist to receive notifications when the price of something on your list goes down. Woroch also recommended using browser tools like Cently for cashback and coupon options this year to “take the sting off rising consumer prices”.
“Sign up for the Paribus app, which will track the prices of the most recent online purchases linked to your email and reclaim your money if any of these items go up for sale within the retailer’s price adjustment window,” she added. âYou can also go through websites like. look for coupons by store name VoucherFollow to see if a current offer is available. “
Consider in-store pickup
With news of delivery delays and bottlenecks, many online shoppers inevitably head to the local mall or shopping district to look for gifts. But Woroch said there is a better solution.
âIn-store shopping isn’t necessarily the answer to avoiding supply chain problems,â said Woroch. “That’s because you don’t know what your local retailers have in store and it’s a waste of time driving from store to store.”
Instead, she recommended shopping online and choosing roadside pickup or the store at the nearest location that has the item you want in stock.
âEven if it means avoiding you – especially for items that are already in short supply,â added Woroch. “That way, it’s reserved and less likely that this order will be canceled than a home delivery.”
When you buy something online for in-store pickup, you also have the benefit of being yourself Earn money back with your purchase or use coupon codes through sites like Rakuten, CouponCabin and RetailMeNot. And in general, it’s good to check your credit card rewards programs to see if any particular stores offer bonus cashback options.
Look beyond the hot ticket articles
âIf you’re flexible about what to give a loved one, there will be plenty of items to choose from later in the season so you don’t have to panic shopping now,â noted Woroch.
While browsing online gift guides and lists of the hottest holiday items can be fun, this isn’t the only way to pick gifts for everyone on your list. Consider something homemade, personalized, or otherwise original.
Sadie Higgins, founder of the personalized gift recommendation app Shine, suggested searching for unique items from small businesses and browsing local stores.
“When you do small-scale shopping at your local physical store, make sure what you are looking for is in stock or not and you are always in touch with someone face to face,” she explained.
In addition, it is worth noting that gifts do not have to be physical objects.
âExperiences are always wonderful gift ideas,â said Higgins. “We have a lot of these at Gleam and it was important that we include courses and experiences like cooking and mixology as they often leave the best memories.”
Opt for refurbished or used
It is also possible to find high quality products that could make nice gifts in the resale market.
“Reconditioned items are often overlooked, but they can be a great way to overcome the delivery problems we face this holiday season while saving money at the same time,” said Woroch.
“For example, last year I planned to order Echo Show displays for a few family members to make it easier for us to take video calls, but they sold out almost everywhere,” she added. “I realized that Amazon still had some refurbished options available that came with a warranty so I could order them and even saved myself about 20% money.”
Woroch suggested looking for outdated technology, gadgets, electronic toys, and even power tools to save money. She found that OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace can be good places to find popular toys.
“Just make sure you are buying from a reputable retailer and that you have a money back guarantee and guarantee and that items can be returned if they are defective,” she said.
Remember what really matters this time of year
“A lot of people feel stressed and overwhelmed on vacation,” said Higgins. âYes, there is a break in the supply chain, but everything will be fine in the end. There should be no place for fear of shopping in a beautiful, unforgettable Christmas season. “
If festive shopping feels awkward, take the time to remind yourself that, after all, it’s all about things. Supply chain issues are out of your control, but you are in control of how to deal with disappointments and the mood that brings you into the festive celebration. And so many seasonal traditions have nothing to do with gifts.
âAs an adult, I no longer know what I am have at christmas i remember what i do did with my family and friends, âsaid Higgins. âTo seeâ It’s a Wonderful Life âevery Christmas Eve, to drink hot chocolate with a candy cane mixer, to look at the lights in the surrounding neighborhoods and to bake cookies with my mother and siblings – my children should remember that one day too. Let this season be happy no matter what. “