Early Boxing Day discounts to attract customers

Early Boxing Day discounts to attract customers

(Montreal) Stores across Canada are already gearing up for Boxing Day sales, which could be released early this year in hopes of attracting as many shoppers as possible in this time of tighter budget management.

In recent years, Canada’s flagship discount event has been relegated to second place behind its American counterpart, Black Friday.

However, many experts agree that sales were below expectations for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday last month, so many retailers will want to clear their inventories as the season comes to a close. .

“We’re going to see pretty good discounts for Boxing Day, because the end-of-year sales season has been quieter. We didn’t see a rush to stores in December like we usually see,” said Lisa Hutcheson, managing partner at consultancy JC Williams Group.

Even with tempting offers, consumers may remain timid in their purchases, due to the current economic environment.

“Inflation has a lot to do with it; there are many fears, admitted Mto me Hutcheson. Boxing Day is primarily for people who have received gift cards and have personal purchases to make. Except that if people are concerned about their personal finances, there will be fewer personal purchases. »

find the balance

Therefore, retailers will try to find a balance between the need to clear their excess inventory and maintain their profit margins, explained retail analyst Bruce Winder.

The greater the discounts, the greater the volume of products a store will sell. Smaller sales maintain the highest margins, but risk stores being left with unsold products.

“In some cases, we can hold inventory until next year, but it requires labor, not to mention we still have to pay suppliers,” recalled Mr. Winder.

Still, the national spokesperson for the Retail Council of Canada, Michelle Wasylyshen, called most retailers not overly concerned about inventories, at least not to the level some analysts suggest.

This false impression that stores are full of unsold products may be due to disappointing Black Friday sales.

“The general sentiment is that consumers expected better deals, either because they heard in the media that retailers were overstocking, or because they had to tighten their belts due to the rising cost of living,” said Mr.to me wasylyshen.

Still, stores head into Boxing Day with “cautious optimism.”

“Boxing Day is an opportunity for retailers to plan promotional events and review their inventory levels to see if they really need to go all out with in-store or online sales events to help clear excess inventory,” said Mrs.to me wasylyshen.

Like Black Friday, Boxing Day has become a week-long event, with fewer in-person door-to-door sales than ever epitomized the day.

“The trend now for retailers is to spread out these events so people don’t have to attend in one day,” said David Soberman, professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

“This is particularly important now as influenza, RSV and COVID-19 are still very, very active and people are worried about it. »

In terms of the number of discounts, Mr. Soberman believes the deals are likely to be “sporadic” with products seen as more discretionary, with more promotional activity.

“Where retailers have high inventory, you can see very good deals,” he said. The last thing you want to do is carry your Christmas and winter inventory all the way to the first quarter. »

loyalty rewarded

According to a recent study, retailers seeking a competitive advantage will focus on customer service and reward loyalty.

A survey by payment service Adyen conducted by Angus Reid found that more than half of respondents aged 18-34 cited loyalty to stores they had shopped at before as the top determining factor in deciding where to go.

“The biggest factor is if it’s a brand they already know and have a relationship with,” said Sander Meijers, Adyen’s country manager for Canada.

“They really want to be recognized when they buy something online or in-store and rewarded for being a loyal customer. »

The survey also revealed that the service, including the speed of the payment process, was key for many Canadians when deciding where to shop during the Christmas sales.

“The speed and fluidity of a checkout experience is always a key indicator of whether or not a retail store will be successful during an event like Boxing Day,” he said.

The online survey of more than 1,500 Canadians was conducted in early November. According to the professional body for the survey industry, the Canadian Research Council, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not take random samples from the population.

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