While most of America is lazing around on Christmas morning, few will have any idea of the exhausting months of retail preparation that precede the holiday. Sure, most consumers understand that there are inventory and ordering issues, crowds and hustle at holiday time, but most, like the ecommerce exec pictured in our latest cartoon remain blissfully unaware of what it takes to meet all of the demands of the modern day shopper.
In our 2013 Holiday Predictions Survey, we asked retailers to tell us about the significant investments they made throughout 2013 in preparation for the holiday. The biggest were SEO/SEM, ecommerce platform upgrades and enhancements in mobile which includes everything from apps to mobile payments. Any one of these investment areas is a weeks, if not months long endeavor requiring budget, project definition, people, integration of new technologies and training of key users.
In addition, 48% of retailers responded that they were making significant investments in key pages on their site including home, category and product pages. While this all sounds simple to the layperson, as a marketer, I can assure you that there are many weeks of design, test and implementation work that must start well in advance of their due date. Oh and when are they due anyway? Well, more than half of all retailers surveyed planned to start their holiday campaigns by the week of November 4th or earlier. This means that while American consumers were thinking “Spring Break,” American retailers were thinking “Oh Boy!” as they prioritized, and planned for all of the things that they needed to do to be ready for the holiday season.
So if you have friends or family in retail ecommerce or retail IT, and they are comatose on the couch for the better part of the winter break, let them rest. Their hard work provides the American consumer with the comfort and joy that we have come to expect from the holiday season.