RCC pushes shoppers to start holiday shopping early

Amid supply chain pressure and more people shopping in-store, a new campaign aims to mitigate future frustration.

shop-safely-to-protect-wide-reversed-v3The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is joining up with Cineplex Media and Interac to convince Canadians to get a jump start on their holiday shopping.

For the better part of the last month, the RCC and others in the retail industry have been sounding the alarm over the fact that supply chain pressures – namely, cascading bottlenecks for goods that are shipped in by sea – will likely lead to product shortages and an inability to get specific things they are looking for this holiday season.

To get Canadians to avoid frustrations down the road, the “Shop Early, Shop Safe” campaign is offering a reminder that shopping early will increase their chances of finding the products and brands they want for the holiday season. In a series of videos, RCC is suggesting shoppers take advantage of early sales, plan, be patient thanks to longer wait times or other inconveniences, and to support local merchants that may be less reliant on shipping in products.

Findings from RCC’s recently released annual Holiday Shopping Survey show that while 30% of consumers plan to start their shopping before November (compared to 23% in 2020), November still remains the most popular shopping month, with intent also higher for major shopping events like Black Friday and Boxing Day.

What’s more, intent to shop in-store has gone up compared to last year, with online shopping dipping, leading to the potential of crowded stores with empty shelves.

While COVID continues to impact our lives on all fronts beyond product availability, Canadians are overall anticipating resumption of pre-pandemic holiday traditions wherever possible: in person celebrations, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, and, more gift giving. Based on the survey, average holiday spending is expected to be $792 per household (compared to $693 last year), though looking at historical data, RCC predicts that number could easily breach $800.

With that in mind, the campaign also includes messaging about keeping health and safety concerns top of mind.

“Store owners are working hard to maintain a COVID era holiday season with strategies to encourage consumers into shopping early, ensuring packages arrive on-time and preventing long lines at stores,” says Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of the RCC, which represents 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.

The campaign is being supported by Cineplex, which helped RCC with the creative and is running ads in its shopping mall and theatre network. Interac is also pushing the message out through its channels, as well as providing information and resources around safe shopping and fraud prevention. In addition to supply chain issues, Canadian shoppers are more worried about fraud than they have been in the past, something they are more susceptible to as they do more shopping online, or potential turn to less secure websites in order to overcome product shortages.