A third issue for the retail and CPG supply chains are how to handle reverse logistics. In a way, the earlier buying cycle might help this—as one would expect, consumers typically realize sooner than usual whether or not they actually want the products; or if they received the right size, color or shape. Of course, with a longer sales and promotional cycle, one opens themselves up to more unevenness when it comes to returns.
For example, what if someone bought a costume for Halloween in late August, only to discover in the beginning of October that there is a more desirable costume for purchase? A return of the original goods purchase might be made. And that returned item might no longer be popular and needs to be discounted immediately to improve its chances of getting purchased. Such actions would potentially impact the distribution channel.
Long-term effects of earlier seasons
In the end, the longer buying cycle and earlier starting period will help in reverse logistics—as one would think that returns might happen earlier in the cycle that usual.
And as consumers start purchasing our Halloween costumes in August, our Christmas ornaments in September, our bathing suits in November and our back-to-school items in April—retailers must come to terms with this shift in buying behavior and what impacts it will have on their supply chain.
Guy Courtin is the Director of Product Marketing for Retail Solutions Inc. For more information, visit www.retailsolutions.com.