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15 must-know things we’ve learned about holiday shopping

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 7:54 AM
By: Kara Driscoll - Staff Writer

The holiday shopping season has officially started, and stores and online retailers announced early deals and special offers this week.

Here’s everything we learned about what stores have planned:

1. Retailers are using virtual reality and technology to train employees for those crazy holiday crowds.

As retailers gear up for the busiest shopping season of the year, companies are turning to new technology features like virtual reality to train employees and draw in shoppers. Retailers like Walmart and Target are adding new technology to compete with online retailers like Amazon that offer convenience and quickness to customers. LEARN MORE

2. The Greene has a full line-up of independent stores coming for its pop-up shop program.

Three new stores will open temporarily at The Greene throughout November. Businesses like home decor shop Grit & Grain and clothing store Shop Bravura opened in the first two weeks of the month. The pop-up shops are housed in a space at 4420 Glengarry Road. LEARN MORE

3. Toys”R”Us will stay open for 30 straight hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Toys“R”Us will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 for 30 straight hours of shopping. The stores will remain closed during the day on Thanksgiving. LEARN MORE

4. Meijer will deliver gifts and groceries right to your door this holiday season.

Meijer is adding thousands of general merchandise items to its popular store-to-door home delivery service. Customers can now order gifts and toys, wrapping paper, artificial trees and Christmas decorations online and then have it delivered to their door this holiday season. LEARN MORE

5. Macy’s sales decreased again, and they’re hoping the holidays make up for it.

Macy’s reported its third quarter earnings, and company officials said the retailer is looking to gain “momentum” before 2018. Macy’s has locations at the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons. READ MORE

6. Starbucks just added another new holiday drink to the menu.

Starbucks has unveiled another new holiday drink, and customers can get a special deal on their coffee for the next few days. The coffee chain released another new holiday drink — the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. Other holiday flavors include the Peppermint Mocha and the Caramel Brulee Latte. LEARN MORE

7. If you need a job, there are thousands available at local retailers and distribution centers.

As retailers push early deals for shoppers this holiday season, thousands of jobs are being added to local distribution and logistics centers to meet the demand presented by increased online shopping. This is the first year that online sales are expected to surpass in-store sales during the holiday season, with about 59 percent consumers planning to shop online. LEARN MORE

8. Target’s Black Friday sales have already started.

Target stores will be open 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, and will reopen at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. Black Friday deals will also be available for customers on Target.com early the morning of Thanksgiving, with free shipping on all orders. READ MORE

9. Some toys like Hatchimals and Star Wars are going to fly off the shelves.

Half the list is dominated by relatively new toys launched after October 2016: Fingerlings, the Star Wars App Enabled R2-D2, and three L.O.L. Surprise! items, the research group found. The NPD Group has named the top 10 toys of the year that will most likely be hard to find closer to Christmas. LEARN MORE

10. Amazon has already announced early deals … and free shipping.

The online retailer said “customers will find better deals than ever before on the hottest gifts in toys, electronics, home goods and more, the best in holiday entertaining essentials including kitchen items and decor, and even wardrobe must haves,” according to a statement. LEARN MORE

11. Walmart is getting help with the holiday rush from robots.

The robots are about two-feet-tall and are outfitted with cameras that help them scan aisles and identify missing or mislabeled inventory across the stores. The robots also check for mispriced items, and give the information to employees who fix the issues. READ MORE

12. A local retailer says the death of retail has been greatly exaggerated.

Todd Bettman, who is founder and CEO of Shops by Todd Inc., owns and operates 19 shops in two states and the business continues to grow. He said his stores like Jake’s Toggery, Pandora and Occasionally Yours continue to bring in strong sales each year — in part due to the niche products sold and unique customer service provided by the brands. LEARN MORE

13. Amazon Key has launched in 36 cities, including West Chester and Cincinnati.

The service, offered exclusively for Prime members, will be available on Wednesday. Amazon Key allows customers to have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there. Using the Amazon Key app, customers stay in control and can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete, according to Amazon. LEARN MORE

14. Elder-Beerman’s parent company got delisted from Nasdaq.

The financially struggling retailer will begin to trade on the OTCQX Best Market, leaving the Nasdaq exchange. Bon-Ton starts trading on the OTCQX on Thursday, but will continue to trade under the symbol “BONT.”LEARN MORE

15. Target doesn’t plan to keep stores open all night on Thanksgiving.

On one side is Target, which said Monday it will join Best Buy and Macy’s, which have closed their stores in the overnight hours in recent years. They have found less payoff in staying open during the wee hours when traffic dwindles now that their stores are open earlier on Thanksgiving evening. READ MORE

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