Stop…Take a breath.

You heard me, STOP! Now take a breath. All will be right with the world and you’ll survive. “Survive what?” you may ask. The holiday shopping season of course.

The holiday travel and shopping season is upon us. A time of the year when we all come together and appreciate one another and how we make each other’s lives more fulfilling. It’s a time of sharing and thanksgiving. It’s also a time that brings with it the stress and anxiety associated with large crowds and long checkout lines. It happens every year and every year we always get super stressed out.

We’re supposed to spend time with family and friends and be thankful for who we have in our lives. Express our appreciation for them and what they add to our daily existence. To express those feelings that, during the rest of the year, we sometimes forget to express.

Traditions & Transactions

I’m sure each and every one of us has family traditions this time of year. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, turning on the football game, and of course the family dinner. There’s also another tradition that many of us take part in. One that many also dread – The holiday shopping experience.

I have friends whose family’s make a day of it. They get up early have a nice breakfast and then venture out into the wilds of the retail market. Now, me personally – I’ve only ever participated in one Black Friday shopping experience and I can tell you there’s a reason I’ve only done it once.

This time of year, not only stresses out consumers, it also puts additional stress on retailers. Business owners worry about inventory, sales totals, staffing for the shopping season, and whether or not the holiday marketing you’ve spent money on is going to bring in customers.

So why is it that this time of year has us acting like gladiators in a Mad Max sequel you ask? Well let’s take a look at some projections.

The Thunderdome

According to AAA NewsRoom Thanksgiving travel this years is expected to be around 51 million Americans heading out to see family and friends. That equates to a 3.3% increase over last year.

That’s a large influx of people on the road or in the skies over a very short period of time. So, just a heads up, expect long lines at the airport.

I know what you’re thinking, if that’s just in travel what can I expect when I’m out shopping. Well, National Retail Federation is expecting a 3.6-4% increase in consumer spending this holiday shopping season. That would put the spend between $678-$682 billion this year. That’s a lot of profit and a lot of products sitting on the table for grabs.

So not only are there more people planning to travel, the shoppers are planning to spend more as well. You would think by now we would be used to all the craziness during the holiday season. It arrives around the same time every year, but this is the Thunderdome baby.

Finding the Calm in the Storm

I know what you’re thinking, “Be calm? Have you looked out there lately?” Well, yes, but this is the reason you worked on a marketing plan. No matter how large or small that plan may be, it has a purpose. Working with your marketing company or internal team, your strategy was designed to get your message out to all those shoppers. This year you’re ready, you took the time beforehand, now let the plan do its work.

Take a Breath

So, stop, take a breath and remember this season is about the ones we love. Be sure to enjoy your time with them and let your plan do its job.

From all of us at KeyMedia Solutions have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Happy Holidays.