Santa has an extra gift for brick-and-mortar retailers this year: There are four Saturdays in December before Christmas, which hasn’t happened since 2012. The extra Saturday has the potential to be a windfall for retailers, since it gives customers more time to shop for gifts.
Key Retail Holiday Season Dates For 2017
Let’s take a look at ShopperTrak’s predictions for the 10 busiest retail shopping days of the holiday season. Overall, these 10 days are expected to account for between 40 percent and 45 percent of all holiday shopping visits.
- Friday, Nov. 24
- Saturday, Dec. 23
- Saturday, Dec. 16
- Tuesday, Dec. 26
- Saturday, Nov. 25
- Friday, Dec. 22
- Saturday, Dec. 9
- Saturday, Dec. 2
- Saturday, Dec. 30
- Thursday, Dec. 21
Black Friday (Nov. 24) will continue to be the busiest shopping day of the year, ShopperTrak predicts, noting that even the trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day hasn’t siphoned off significant Black Friday traffic so far.
However, 6 of the top 10 shopping days are Saturdays. Here’s a closer look:
- Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25) is in the top five. Overall, ShopperTrak predicts, the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend will be a critical one for retailers.
- Super Saturday (Dec. 23) falls so close to Christmas Day, increasing the urgency for last-minute shoppers.
- December 16, the last Saturday before Super Saturday, attracts shoppers who don’t want to brave those last-minute crowds. December 9 and December 2 made the list as well.
- December 30 is after Christmas, but still a critically important shopping day. Why? It’s a Saturday, a full shopping day before New Year’s Eve. Shoppers are still in a celebratory mood and ready to spend their Christmas loot.
How can you take advantage of the extra Saturday this holiday shopping season? Try these tips:
- Start preparing now. Differentiate yourself from other brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers through your marketing and advertising. Plan your marketing campaign and create your marketing calendar. Build awareness of your store by reaching out to prospective customers early.
- Plan for your hiring needs. You’ll need plenty of salespeople in store on those important Saturdays to help customers. Competition for seasonal employees is stiff, so if you haven’t already begun hiring, get moving!
- Place your orders. Having a product in stock can make the difference between making the sale or losing it to a competitor or a website. Take advantage of your inventory management system to set up alerts when products are running low and place orders automatically.
- Streamline your checkout process. No one likes to wait in line, so develop a plan for moving customers through the point of sale quickly. That might mean adding the option for mobile payment via tablet or smartphone.
- Create a sense of urgency. You can spark excitement with special Saturday offers—or attract shoppers during slower days of the week by emphasizing the ease of shopping in a less crowded store.
- Pace yourself. One more Saturday of holiday shopping means you and your staff will need more energy than usual this year. Plan for how you will stay energized and motivated—and how you’ll pump up your team.
December Calendar Photo via Shutterstock