For some, shopping for the holidays is no longer an enjoyable experience. It has become so hectic that many dread the thought of venturing out into stores. This is a sad state of affairs. The holidays are supposed to be about relaxation, celebration, and spending time with family and friends. But consumerism is a powerful force.
The good news is that these three retailers are attempting to make your holiday shopping more convenient and affordable. If their new initiatives work and drive purchases, then investors will also be pleased. Indeed, it could be a very merry holiday for all.
Wal-Mart's head start
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) generally tries to find ways to beat its competition to the punch, and the holiday season is no different. Wal-Mart is already offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on its website. Such deals include a 42-inch T.V. for $299, and a 10-inch tablet for $49. Regardless of what you choose to purchase, you're likely to receive free shipping if your total purchase is over $50.
If you want to be one of the first people to know about updated discounts, then you need to sign up for Wal-Mart's emails, like Wal-Mart on Facebook, or download a Wal-Mart app. And whether or not you receive updated discount offers, you will have the option for in-store pickup on most items.
Targeting value-conscious consumers in various ways
Target (NYSE:TGT) is generally trying to keep pace with Wal-Mart, and it usually does. However, Target is taking a different approach this season. It's offering a Holiday Price Match, a New Store Pickup program, Cartwheel (more on this soon), REDcard Rewards, a "My Kind of Holiday" marketing campaign, and Pinterest exposure.
For the Holiday Price Match policy -- available from November 1 through December 21 -- the following is straight from Target.com:
"If you buy a qualifying item at a Target store, then find the identical item for less in the current or following week's Target circular or within 7 days at Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com or in a competitor's current local print ad, we'll match the price."
New Store Pickup is self-explanatory, and you can now pick up items at any store in the United States. Cartwheel was launched earlier this year. It's an online savings program that consolidates all sales in one place, so these deals follow you instead of you chasing them. It should be popular throughout the holiday shopping season.
RedCARD Rewards are available year-round, and it should inspire consumers to shop at Target more often, since they will receive a 5% discount and free shipping (in most cases). "My Kind of Holiday" is a marketing campaign inspired by Target shopper stories on how they celebrate the holidays. Through a Twitter conversation at #MyKindofHoliday, the goal is to inspire shoppers with products and ideas at great prices.
For Pinterest, Target will offer the Best.Party.Ever, collaborating with producer, David Stark. Best.Party.Ever will offer inspiring ideas, how-to concepts, and product and decoration recommendations. Best.Party.Ever will launch in mid-November.
Santa and a personal assistant
Macy's (NYSE:M) is offering "Santa with Gifts," which pertains to new and classic gift options selected by Macy's shoppers. But it doesn't stop there.
A Macy's app will now provide you with a digital personal assistant. This assistant will give you an opportunity to plan your Black Friday shopping strategy ahead of time. Beginning November 1, you can customize your shopping list after viewing specials. The idea here is for Macy's to save its customers time and money, which is then expected to drive demand.
As you might already know, Macy's will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening, in an effort to be in-line with industry trends so it doesn't fall behind competitors.
The bottom line
The initiatives above are presented because they have the potential to improve holiday shopping performance, which would be positive for investors. But, nothing is guaranteed. The best way to look at these offers is to determine whether or not you would take advantage of any of the above deals.
If so, then it likely means others will as well. If not, then you might want to curb your enthusiasm and look elsewhere for potential investments.