Online retailers egg on consumers with Easter offers

March 21, 2016 04:34 PM

Easter promotions are hopping as retailers rush to get treats shipped to consumers in time for the holiday and more shoppers plan to buy their holiday goods online.

After two weeks of little Easter must-have item movement, Inc. (No. 1 in the 2015 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide) dropped the prices of its Top 100 best-selling toys an average of by 10% on Monday, according to Market Track data. Among the top discounted toys were Batman/Superman Dawn of Justice Figurines (to $11.99 from $19.99) and Shopkins Cool Fridge Playset (to $19 on Monday from $32 a day earlier). Amazon’s Prime Now customers can get Easter candy, books, toys and other items delivered within one hour in certain areas.

Online marketplace sent Easter-themed emails on Monday touting deals and two-day delivery on candy and other Easter basket fillers.

Target (No. 16) offers a $5 gift card for every $25 a shopper spends on Easter décor, baskets, eggs and other items. Target also promotes free order pickup with free gift cards with a purchase.

More shoppers are getting similar discounts and increased digital come-ons from retailers this Easter than last, says Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of marketing at Market Track, which tracks retailers’ pricing, advertising and promotions.Market Track noted twice the number of apparel and toy promotions on retailer websites during March and April 2015 from the same period in 2014, and another doubling so far this March from the same period in March 2015, Gregorski says.

Kmart, part of Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 5), upped its social media campaign this Easter, enabling Facebook users to post photos of themselves and four Facebook friends they choose as the “heads” of a line of Peeps they choose. Kmart encourages consumers to share the image on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #MyPeeps.

“This is significant in that retailers are working to drive last-minute Easter purchases among consumers who are being conditioned to wait to buy later during holiday events,” Gregorski says. “They have changed the game with their expedited shipping and are counting on shoppers who have put off their Easter purchases looking for a reason to buy. This suggests e-commerce is becoming more a focus for retailers during events like Easter, which traditionally has been a holiday more centered around consumables categories to be bought in-store.”

The National Retail Federation says 21.4% of Easter shoppers will go online to fill their baskets, up from 18.8% last year. The NRF expects Easter to generate $17.3 billion in retail spending online and in stores. Celebrants are expected to spend an average of $146 per person, the highest level in 13 years, partly because Easter falls earlier than last year (Easter fell on April 5 last year), and it coincides with retailers’ spring promotions on garden tools, home goods and sports equipment, says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

Last-minute Easter discounts are indicative of retailers looking to move merchandise, much as they did at Christmas, Gregorski says. “They are using every opportunity to drive shoppers either to the store or online through promotions in email, their websites and on social media. We have seen a noticeable spike in digital promotions this season that points to the understanding on the part of retailers that regardless of where shoppers transact, they are doing their research online first and sometimes in the moment to find the best deals.”

Online shoppers at U.S.-made candy retailer AmeriCandy Co. have until Wednesday for standard delivery of Easter basket goodies, a typical deadline because they otherwise will likely rush to a store rather than pay overnight air or other expedited fees, says AmeriCandy founder and president Omar L. Tatum. For online shoppers whose orders total at least $30 and who live within a 30-mile radius of the Louisville, Ky., headquarters, Tatum, 90, plans to deliver orders himself as late as Friday.




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