10.18.2011

It's October 17th...Happy Holidays!

Yesterday, I walked into a premium home furnishings store in New York City and, lo and behold, it's already decked out for the holidays. From colored lights to garland, from ornaments to decorative wreaths, from stocking stuffer gifts to festive music, it was all there, and it's not even Halloween.

While I admit the store was very nicely decorated and interesting to walk through, I must say that, at the same time, I was experiencing feelings of sadness. Sadness due to the fact that this is what business has come to...pegging a company's success to December holiday shopping, regardless of whether or not the shopping actually takes place in the month of December or the weeks/months prior to. Perhaps it's a bit naive of me, as a business person, to think in these terms, but it just gets to me how commercial the December holidays have become/are, and I know others think this way too. 

When I left the store, I started to think, what would happen if a company put as much time, money and resources into year-round business, as they do with the December holidays? What if they put as much effort into winning new business, retaining customers, developing new products, delivering great customer service, etc., throughout the year, as opposed to just focusing on the last few weeks of the year? Do you believe this might make a difference? Something tells me it might but, then again, my naivety might be at play.    

Something else that I started to think about regarding the holidays, and which irks me to the nth degree, is when companies discount their merchandise by 50%, 60% or even 70%. Are margins set so high that companies can discount this steeply and still turn a profit? I guess so. But, from a marketing perspective, what does this say about the brand, especially if it is luxury or premium? What message does it send to loyal everyday customers who pay full price? Are they just to be considered suckers? I suppose the research indicates that it doesn't matter, one way or the other, and this is why companies use this type of pricing strategy.

Perhaps no great revelations or answers in this article, I just wanted to make mention of the experience and what it means. Happy Holidays to all.

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