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Small retailers responding in real-time to holiday shopping shifts, says Faire

More and more, independent retailers are adjusting on the fly this holiday season, placing smaller orders later in the season and adjusting their merchandising strategies and product assortments to correspond with consumer buying behavior, according to the online marketplace Faire.

Sara Ittelson, head of Faire’s strategic partnerships, shared her holiday buying insights during the Gift and Home Trade Association’s virtual conference last week.

“We think they [retailers] are buying closer to the season,” she said, citing the online trade fair’s recent holiday survey that was conducted online in the United States between Sept. 30 and Oct. 28 among more than 30,000 adults ages 18 and older. Retailers are purchasing earlier than in years past to prepare for shipping delays, and more than half of them said they’ll also continue purchasing later than in 2019. A lot of retailers want to make real-time adjustments and many are still actively re-stocking for the season, Ittelson noted.

She also highlighted several recent buying and selling trends revealed in the survey. Many retailers’ sales have recovered from where they were in the summer or early fall, and about a third of them are doing better than they were at this time last year. Nearly half the survey respondents are running promotions and 27{6e11cad7ac0545e2324fbf6d445e3b83c9482a898fa074d95dae34b306dc1610} are adjusting their product assortment to meet what customers are looking for. For example, greeting card sales have spiked in the past two months as consumers strive to connect with one another with both love and friendship-themed cards, according to Ittelson.

They are also adding convenience for their customers: 64{6e11cad7ac0545e2324fbf6d445e3b83c9482a898fa074d95dae34b306dc1610} are offering curbside pickup; 7{6e11cad7ac0545e2324fbf6d445e3b83c9482a898fa074d95dae34b306dc1610} BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up in Store), and 32{6e11cad7ac0545e2324fbf6d445e3b83c9482a898fa074d95dae34b306dc1610} are offering personal shopping appointments.

Since launching in 2017, Faire, which is geared toward small, independent retailers, has built a curated online wholesale platform with more than 12,000 brands and 110,000 retailers, Ittelson said. During its summer market this year, 46,000 orders were placed and 26,000 new relationships formed between brands and retailers. Among its initiatives are working with e-commerce platform Shopify and enhancing online buying through livestreaming with wholesalers. In 2021, it will expand to the U.K. and is focusing on supporting multi-location retailers, among other efforts.

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