It's been a brutal year for retailers. The coronavirus pandemic has driven dozens of well-known names into bankruptcy, leading to store closures that have real estate investors worried. And if retailers don't get a huge revenue boost over the holidays, many more will no doubt inch closer to filing for bankruptcy as well. That could, in turn, put shopping centers and malls in danger of losing a devastating number of tenants.
But this year's holiday season isn't typical. For one thing, stores can't operate at normal capacity, and many consumers are fearful of shopping at malls and other indoor establishments. Throw in the fact that many Americans are grappling with income loss due to the pandemic, and it paints a disturbing picture for retailers.
The hope, however, is that Super Saturday will provide the revenue surge retailers need to stay afloat. Over 150 million Americans say they plan to shop the Saturday before Christmas, according to the National Retail Federation. That's an increase of over 2 million consumers compared to the year prior.
But will Super Saturday be enough to save retailers? And will pandemic-related changes help retailers or hurt them?
Super Saturday will look different this year
Last year, Super Saturday fell four days before Christmas. This week, it's almost a full week prior. But that may work to retailers' advantage. That's because a large number of consumers will no doubt seek to do their Super Saturday shopping online rather than battle crowds in stores. In fact, 42% of people say they'll only shop online in the course of Super Saturday this year. That should, in theory, give shipping companies adequate time to deliver packages in time for the holiday.
Then again, some shipments may be delayed. A number of carriers have already had to put the brakes on accepting orders as demand exceeded their capacity in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As such, while almost half of consumers say they'll only shop online on Super Saturday, they may be amenable to options like curbside pickup at stores or BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) to avoid delivery delays.
To gear up for Super Saturday, retailers should prepare to offer as many convenient options as possible for the retrieval of online orders. After a year like the one we've had, no one wants to be that person -- late with Christmas gifts.
Will Super Saturday be a boom or bust?
Given the greater economic crisis, some consumers may seek to cut down on last-minute shopping this year, a possibility retailers need to brace for. On the other hand, many people aren't traveling for the holidays this year, nor are they hosting large parties or meals at home. The money they're not spending on those traditions may instead be spent at stores to compensate, so the travel and hospitality industries' losses could be retailers' gains.
Either way, one thing many consumers fall victim to during the holidays is procrastination, and this year is probably no exception. Retailers could very well see a last-minute push as the Christmas holiday nears, and if it's strong enough, it could be enough to save many from going under in 2021.