The chain will be marketing details about the deals across its channels as the timing gets closer, according to a spokeswoman.
Target is not the only retailer in a holiday state of mind—despite it still being September. Marketers including Pottery Barn, Sephora, Williams Sonoma and Hanna Andersson have already embraced holiday messaging in their email marketing to customers this month. An email from Pottery Barn showcased the home goods brand's holiday collection, while Williams Sonoma urged shoppers to prepare guest rooms for holiday arrivals—following a pandemic-filled 2020 when few were traveling.
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The early marketing is just beginning, according to retail experts.
“There’s a vicious, competitive cycle spurring everyone on to start earlier than ever before,” said Elaine Kwon, a former Amazon executive who co-founded e-commerce firm Kwontified. “They know if they do not have an incredible holiday season we may see brands go out of business after this year—it’s the Hail Mary for many brands trying to stay in business and stay as solvent as possible.”
Indeed, in recent years, deals have been creeping earlier and earlier ahead of Black Friday, which at one time was the official start to the holiday shopping season. Yet Black Friday doorbusters are no longer as relevant—and this year in particular, as marketers deal with an uptick in shipping container prices, a shortage of truck drivers and COVID-related factory delays, brands are hoping to get consumers shopping what they can early before supply runs out.
Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation and the Association for Supply Chain Management debuted a new program for retail employees offering enhanced training on warehouse, inventory and logistics.
Some stock is already depleted. Pottery Barn’s sister brand West Elm recently told a customer, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our global supply chain has been stretched to new levels, resulting in temporary delays.” Those delays are stretching into several months for some products including bedding.
Yet many brands are trying to communicate about delays as little as possible to customers for fear of scaring them away, Kwon said, noting that Amazon has trained shoppers to expect on-demand delivery.
“There’s a bubble, a little disbelief with consumers right now, because we’re socialized to believe all online orders should arrive in two days—everything should always be available in part thanks to Amazon,” Kwon said. “No brand wants to be the first to break that bubble and say, ‘Hey, we’re struggling a lot; trying our best.’”