(StatePoint) While the trees and lights have come down, holiday-related shopping is not over yet. From returning unwanted items to redeeming gift cards, this time of year can feel just as busy for shoppers as the weeks leading up to Christmas. According to retail professionals, being prepared can help you avoid headaches.
“This period has always marked the biggest time of year for returns, even pre-pandemic,” says Brian Field, senior director, Global Retail Consulting Practice, Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls. “However, with COVID concerns closing some fitting rooms, and more consumers doing their shopping online or using options like BOPIS -- buy online and pick up in-store -- you likely have more reasons than ever to hit up the stores and swap out unwanted items.”
Field notes that if you’re planning on making any returns, whether it’s shoes that don’t fit or beauty products you simply don’t want, you may face hurdles during the process. Returning items costs retailers time and money and involves supply chain, labor, transportation and warehousing costs. Due to a holiday hangover uptick in returns, you can expect to face some back-up and delays. If you’re making your returns in-store, consider doing so early in the day or on weekdays if possible, to avoid crowds.
In general, e-commerce returns have surged since the start of the pandemic, making now a potentially good time to reevaluate how you shop online. Keep an eye out for retailers that offer perks like a tiered return policies for loyal members, such as waiving return shipping fees. If it’s a brand you shop with regularly, joining their membership program could save you big on money and convenience in the long-term.
As you’re redeeming your holiday season gift cards, know that many others are doing the same. A Sensormatic Solutions global consumer survey found that 39% of consumers were shopping for gift cards this holiday season.
“Gift cards have been a key holiday season trend for years, as it’s a quick and easy way to get your holiday shopping done successfully. However now we’re seeing consumers gravitate toward gift cards not only due to their convenience, but also as a result of the continued supply chain shortage,” says Peter McCall, senior manager, Retail Consulting and Advanced Analytics, Sensormatic Solutions. “With gift-givers seeking and not finding products on store shelves, many recipients unwrapped gift cards this year.”
As such, McCall notes that gift card holders can expect busy stores with other shoppers seeking the same hot-ticket items that were out of stock during the holidays.
For more post-holiday shopping insights, visit sensormatic.com.
However you go about your post-holiday shopping, one thing is certain, U.S. retail is on an upswing. For the six-week holiday period from Black Friday through the end of the calendar year, total retail shopper visits were up 18.9% compared to the same period in 2020, demonstrating that amid the global impacts of Omicron, physical stores are resilient and still play a vital role in commerce.
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