October 3, 2023
Barry Bradley

2023 holiday report: data-driven strategies to make the buyer’s nice list

We’re providing insight on the retail trends surrounding the 2023 holiday season, and how businesses can leverage data-driven strategies to meet them head-on.

As the retail industry prepares for the 2023 holiday season, it’s clear that this year will again diverge from the pre-pandemic norm. While supply chain disruptions that have defined previous years are showing signs of improvement, the current market faces a new set of challenges. 

Inflation and economic uncertainty loom large, directly influencing consumer purchasing behavior.

Consumers are undoubtedly becoming more cost-conscious, but how can businesses leverage this shift to their advantage? And how can brands effectively prepare for the year’s most crucial shopping season?

Amidst the economic challenges, new retail technologies offer a silver lining, giving brands powerful new tools to adapt. With consumers’ increasing use of digital platforms, businesses now have a wealth of data at their fingertips to make more informed decisions, enabling them to meet demand more effectively.

1. The supply chain makes way

Today, ports that were once congested with shipping containers are clearing up, facilitating a streamlined flow of goods and enabling suppliers to make quicker, more responsive decisions. However, challenges still exist, especially in domestic transportation. The last mile of delivery continues to face bottlenecks and cost increases, largely due to labor shortages. 

In order to meet this upcoming season’s demands, precise holiday planning is crucial.

Given the empty shelves of recent holidays past, retailers are counting on supplier foresight to deliver on-time goods and make the season bright. 

Herein lies the value of platforms like Crisp, which provides seamless access to real-time sales and inventory data.

Such data empowers brands to analyze historical sales trends to proactively allocate inventory for the upcoming season, ensuring products are delivered in full where sales are projected and preventing overstocks where they are not. Once stores are adequately supplied, real-time point-of-sale data enhances responsiveness to sales trends, allowing brands to capitalize on improved supply chain conditions to continuously meet demand.

CPGs can use Crisp to not only improve their ability to keep shelves stocked but also visually demonstrate this efficiency to buyers, giving way to more seasonal opportunities in the future.

Equipped with real-time data, suppliers can proactively plan their manufacturing strategies to meet the high demands expected during this shopping season, and when successful, can plan for and anticipate even more successful holidays to come.

2. Retail’s technology renaissance

The recent public offering of Instacart serves as a marker of the retail industry’s digital transformation. This pivotal moment highlights the dual importance of efficient, digitally integrated shopping solutions – and rich, data-driven insights. These technological advancements seamlessly serve consumers while enabling retailers and suppliers to collaborate more effectively.

As the holiday season approaches, these data-driven platforms take on added importance, allowing suppliers to plan for omnichannel consumer demand accurately, ensuring shelves are stocked with the right products at the right time.

Furthermore, emerging generative AI functionalities are also setting the stage for a reimagined and more personalized holiday shopping experience. By supporting language models with data that is cleaned and harmonized through platforms like Crisp, brands and retailers can generate fast, refined insights to craft highly tailored seasonal strategies and product assortments – then subsequently assess performance with ease.

Emerging generative AI functionalities are also setting the stage for a reimagined and more personalized holiday shopping experience. By supporting language models with data that is cleaned and harmonized through platforms like Crisp, brands and retailers can generate fast, refined insights to craft highly tailored seasonal strategies and product assortments – then subsequently assess performance with ease.

3. Enhancing brand visibility with retail media

An increasing number of retail media networks have enabled retailers to monetize their digital properties while giving brands valuable access to a wealth of first-party data about their shoppers. 

For example, Target’s Roundel media network leverages data from over 165 million of their shoppers, while Amazon commands a broad swath of data from across the internet, including their streaming services.

This rich data is used to create more targeted and effective ad campaigns, leading to better results for retailers and brands alike. 

When combined with a company’s own data resources, the strategic implications become even more powerful.

What sets today’s most successful retail media strategies apart is the integration of real-time inventory and sales data. Enabled through platforms like Crisp, suppliers can ensure media efficiency by directing their advertising spend precisely where their products are in stock. 

For instance, if real-time, store-level data indicates that a particular product is trending in San Francisco, or significantly well-stocked in Miami, a supplier can laser-focus its advertising efforts toward these markets. This data-driven strategy ensures that marketing dollars are well-spent, with performance results available as soon as the sales data is.

What sets today’s most successful retail media strategies apart is the integration of real-time inventory and sales data. Enabled through platforms like Crisp, suppliers can ensure media efficiency by directing their advertising spend precisely where their products are in stock. 

4. Sustainability starts now

This year, we’re seeing a clear shift in consumer values that cannot be ignored.

This 2023 holiday season, Salesforce estimates that 17% of gifts will be resold goods, reducing an estimated 32 billion pounds of waste in landfills – and indicating a collective trend toward mindful purchasing behavior. Retailers are keen on these trends, and prioritizing their own environmental-conscious initiatives.

By 2030, leading retailers such as Target are committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions through Project Gigaton and Target Forward, respectively. As part of these programs, the organizations are prioritizing relationships with sustainability-minded suppliers – especially considering that supplier emissions count toward their own scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

Following in close footsteps to these consumer demands is an SEC ruling that would mandate publicly traded companies to report the entire scope of their carbon emissions; something it is clear organizations like Target are preparing for.

These emerging trends and regulatory outlooks underline an urgent need for brands to embrace sustainability. Integrating data throughout the supply chain is a critical best practice for brands to track their carbon footprint and implement waste reduction strategies, and there is no better time to consider making these changes than before year’s end.

5. Buyers act as category commanders

The role of today’s retail buyer has evolved significantly; gone are the days of decisions based on gut feelings, handshakes, or trade show interactions. In this data-driven age, retail buyers rely on analytics to make informed and strategic choices about supplier partnerships. However, the wealth of available data also presents a challenge, as buyers now have less time to sift through the numbers.

Today’s retail buyers are no longer isolated operators but play a cross-functional role. They collaborate closely with retail analysts, external supplier teams, and other stakeholders to achieve overarching business objectives. As we move through 2023, retail buyers have assumed an increasingly strategic leadership role, acting as CEO-minded commanders of their categories.

As the holiday season approaches, this evolved buyer role becomes pivotal. It’s a call to action for suppliers to step up and become more data-savvy in their interactions with buyers. This is where platforms like Crisp become invaluable, enabling suppliers to draw on precise, real-time data for insights that are actionable, and drive strategic growth.

Suppliers who bring this deeper understanding of their business to discussions are positioned to thrive, by helping retail buyers navigate the complexities of the modern retail landscape – through its busiest season – more successfully.

As the holiday season approaches, this evolved buyer role becomes pivotal. It’s a call to action for suppliers to step up and become more data-savvy in their interactions with buyers.


If you’ve noticed a correlation between this season’s emerging retail trends, it’s the central role of data in shaping strategic decisions and enhancing performance. From the efficient flow of goods in the supply chain to digital transformations that put invaluable customer insights at our fingertips, data serves as the thread tying it all together. It informs environmentally-conscious initiatives and empowers retail buyers to act as strategic leaders.

As businesses gear up for the all-important holiday season, the power of real-time data cannot be overstated.

So if you’re a supplier aiming to optimize your inventory, streamline your advertising spend, or make the buyer’s nice list, head here to book a demo of Crisp to make your holiday sales shine bright.

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