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How to Plan Your 2020 Holiday Buying

August 6, 2020 | Published by Faire

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We all know this holiday season will be different than any other. That means your buying will be different, too. Plus, without the option to place holiday orders at traditional summer trade shows, the process of holiday buying itself will be different.

We asked Faire CFO Lauren Cooks Levitan as well as some of our top retailers what to consider when buying for this holiday season. We’ve compiled some of those tips, along with data from our ongoing Faire retailer surveys, to help you with your buying decisions.

Create flexibility in your buying strategy

Our top retailers told us that they plan to stay flexible when buying for holiday 2020. According to recent Faire survey data, roughly 55% of retailers will buy less inventory this year than last winter holiday season. Almost 60% of retailers plan to purchase inventory for holiday later in the year than they did in 2019. Buying closer to a new season also helps you stay on trend, giving you time to observe changing consumer preferences in a retail environment that is evolving quickly. This means placing small orders throughout the end of summer and early fall to get ready for holiday.

When COVID-19 first hit, we encouraged retailers to decrease spending to prioritize long term financial health. And while we’ve come a long way since March, we still recommend avoiding large orders. This year, and likely for the foreseeable future, the hallmarks of good ordering habits include placing smaller orders year-round to stay agile, rather than taking on big orders with lots of inventory a couple times a year. “The current macroeconomic situation creates a good time to explore a new model for buying,” Lauren said.

Stock up on evergreen best-sellers

Several top Faire retailers have informed us that they will be buying fewer holiday-specific products this year to extend the shelf life of their inventory. “We have cut our large seasonal buys by like 20-25% already. Those cuts were anything that was very seasonally related — think the items that have a Christmas theme or Thanksgiving or fall-type theme,” a Houston, TX retailer told us. By choosing evergreen items over seasonal ones, you can continue to sell items past the December holidays if need be. Plus, you won’t need to mark them down for being out of season.

“I probably will just put a bow on everything and call it Christmas,” a retailer in Atlanta, GA shared. “I can sell [those products later] if they don’t sell by removing the packaging and selling as normal inventory.” 

Find smarter, lower cost buying methods

Because buying won’t be done in person this year, it’s safe to say you’ll be saving money on travel. But you can find ways to save even more while buying smarter. 

First, make sure the alternative buying methods you choose are cost-effective. If you are planning to participate in online trade shows and events this summer, pay attention to the registration fees. 

Second, seek out promotions and specials that your favorite brands are running this summer. Show specials and promotions can help ease the cost of stocking up for holidays and help you discover new product lines you love. 

This month, Faire is hosting our first-ever online trade show event to help you access brand specials — and it’s free. “The need for efficiency is higher this year than perhaps in previous years,” said Lauren. “So we designed an online wholesale event to concentrate show specials, product launches, and livestreams to kick off the buying season.” 

Faire Summer Market, which will run August 26 and 27, is a free, two-day online event in which all participating brands will be offering a show special. Faire will be matching brand promotions up to 10%, so you’ll be getting the best discounts of the year and supporting your favorite brands. For the first time ever on our platform, more than 25 brands will host interactive livestreams to bring you as close to products as possible and ask questions as if you were there in person.

Use Faire tools to discover and curate

We know that you use a combination of strategies when sourcing products for your shop — from browsing and bookmarking on social platforms to researching consumer trends. Faire has tools you can leverage as well, both before and after the August market.

You can now follow brands on Faire so you stay informed on all their new releases. This is a great way to stay close to your favorite brands and learn more about new makers as you discover them. 

You also have access to Pinterest-style boards to help you organize saved products by season, theme, or merchandising style. Save new ideas you’d like to test in your store, then come back to them as you gain more signal on customer interest. We’ll be diving into the best ways to use this feature in the coming weeks — stay tuned!

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