Navigating Big-Box Retailers: Holiday 2023 Trends and Strategies

Oct 11, 2023 Marketing Tips

by Maeve Billings

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With the 2023 holiday shopping season approaching, the CommerceNext team researched the key trends and strategies being employed by big box retailers such as Target, Amazon and Walmart, offering valuable insights for optimizing your own ecommerce operations.


  • Early Cyber Sales: Discover how big-box retailers kickstart the holiday season with strategic pre-Black Friday sales.
  • Hiring Influx: Understand the workforce strategies implemented by major retailers to meet holiday demand.
  • Discount-Driven Purchases: Learn the significant impact of discounts and promotions on consumer behavior during the holiday season.
  • Omnichannel Integration: Understand how seamless online-to-in-store experiences are shaping the retail landscape this holiday season.

Early Cyber Sales: Pioneering the Holiday Shopping Rush

This year, 67% of consumers plan to begin their holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (specifically no later than October), reflecting a preference for staggered shopping and a pursuit of comprehensive value amidst inflation.

Big box retailers are jumping on this new consumer trend. Target has introduced Target Circle Week, a week-long event (October 1-7) that allows Target Circle members access to exclusive deals. To further entice early holiday shopping, a “Deal of the Day” program has also been launched this month.

Amazon, in a strategic move to jumpstart holiday shopping, has announced a second Prime Day on October 10-11. This early event provides another opportunity for consumers to seize significant discounts. By initiating this event ahead of the traditional shopping rush, Amazon aims to capture the attention of early-bird shoppers seeking value-driven purchases.

The Workforce Surge: Navigating Holiday Hiring Challenges

Amazon plans to hire a staggering 250,000 workers for the holiday season, compared to the 150,000 it planned to bring in last year. This surge in employment reflects the growing need to meet customer expectations for prompt deliveries and seamless service.

Target is also making a substantial hiring push, aiming to bring on nearly 100,000 seasonal employees. This robust recruitment effort underscores the critical role that a well-staffed workforce plays in managing the holiday shopping frenzy.

Discount-Driven Purchases: Paving the Way for Affordable Holidays

Discounts are projected to play a pivotal role in consumer purchase decisions during the 2023 holiday season, with more than half (52%) of orders being promotional products, such as free gifts with purchases. Only 17% of items ordered are high-end items in apparel, electronics and memorabilia, further emphasizing the dominance of affordable options in holiday shopping lists.

Brett Rose, CEO of United National Consumer Suppliers, advocates for offering discounts even if it means sacrificing margin and profitability on some inventory. This approach aligns with consumer preferences for budget-friendly options during the holiday season.

Seamless Omnichannel Experiences: Bridging Online and In-Store Shopping

Big box retailers are striving to create seamless experiences that bridge the gap between digital and physical storefronts. Walmart is enhancing convenience by introducing curbside returns at select stores in October, a move designed to streamline the returns process for customers. In addition, the recent Target Circle Week featured special promotions for in-store shoppers.

This integration of online and in-store experiences is pivotal for capturing the attention of modern shoppers. As consumers increasingly expect a seamless transition from browsing online to experiencing products in-store, retailers must invest in technology to facilitate this transition.


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