Don’t look now, but at the time of this writing, Christmas is less than 3 months away.
In a normal year, this might be no big deal. Plenty of time to finish (or start) your shopping and make your holiday plans, right?
But this isn’t a normal year. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic – and this pandemic and all of the trickle downs that come with it is causing some significant issues to the supply chain. And yes, the Christmas gifts that you’re likely to be purchasing this year are going to be impacted. The most impacted group of gift recipients also happens to be the ones that you most certainly don’t want to disappoint come Christmas morning: kids.
So what can you do to get all the items that you want (or will need) for Christmas this year? Here’s a look at what the experts say.
Yes, now. We know it’s not even Halloween yet, but the experts are advising everyone to make their lists and start checking things off of it. This will help you avoid low inventory and shipping delays won’t have any significant consequences because there’s still plenty of time to receive your items. Right now, there’s a good chance that the stores are stocked and items are available. Typically, a second round of inventory comes sometime in November, but that’s no guarantee with supply chain logistics in limbo. Get items now – especially popular children’s toys – before it’s too late.
Don’t Bank on Two-Day Shipping
The supply chain issues are universal. There isn’t just a lack of workers in the manufacturing plants that are able to make the goods, but there’s a lack of truck drivers available to drive the goods to their final destination and then a lack of workers working at the stores to re-stock shelves in a timely manner. So don’t think you’re off the hook and can skate these challenges if you do your Christmas shopping with online retailers. Even two-day shipping is likely to turn into many more days when you take truck driver shortages into account.
Consider Shopping Local
Local stores are likely to have more loyal workers than the big box stores and promote more of a family working environment. For this reason, they’re often more successful at retaining workers and avoiding some of the staffing challenges that are synonymous with the current times. What’s more is they tend to work more directly with the manufacturer or suppliers and tend to be better stocked with products. Finally, customer service is often better with locally owned businesses, so you’re more apt to get better information on when certain items will become available if they’re not currently in stock.
According to a survey from KPMG, about 82 percent of retail executives said they’re “somewhat concerned” about inventory shortages this holiday season. Now’s the time to formulate your strategy and start your shopping.