Experts encourage shoppers to jump on holiday shopping early while inventory lasts

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The 2021 holiday shopping season typically begins the day after Thanksgiving, but supply chain issues and shipping delays have pushed it to begin before Halloween.

Big box stores are already offering online deals to help cut down on big crowds during Black Friday, and retailers are also facing a backlog of ships and shipping delays.

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“We’ve had a supply shortage for the longest time; so a lot of retailers ordered extra early, and now we’re seeing, you know, things that should have been coming in July are maybe now just arriving,” explained Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president.

Eden in Love ordered a 40-foot container of new inventory months ago and was told it would arrive in August. On Friday, Oct. 22, they were told it would arrive in mid-November.

“If you see it, get it. Honestly, because you may not be able to restock. I know that’s one thing that, here at Eden, we think we can always restock our notebooks; we can always restock our totes but the truth is, we can’t. They can’t get the nylon, they can’t get the spiral binding that we want so we may be able to restock it, but it might not be until March of next year.”

Tanna Dang, owner of Eden in love

Dang said these items include the rubber for mousepads, the nylon for tote bags and zippers, buttons, as well as all the way up to electronics; shipping prices have skyrocketed too.

“You get slapped with this bill where you thought it was going to be like, say, $3,000 to ship; now it’s like $20,000 to ship,” Dang explained. “It’s incredible what we’re seeing right now.”

The issues do not stop there, Dang added that sending a small box to the mainland can cost anywhere from $80 to $90 and could take two to three weeks to arrive.

“We’re trying to get creative and think of ways that we can entice people to do free warehouse pickups,” she said. Dang also noted that they are thinking of offering free gifts, discounts and even homemade treats for shoppers who pick up in-store.

Already, some of the store’s code holders are beginning their holiday shopping.

Starting November 5, Eden in Love code members can jump on the early deals every week through Christmas. To keep the tradition going, Dang said the store will also do their 50% off Black Friday sale on Nov. 26.

“We, as retailers, have to start Black Friday early because all these big box stores are already starting it,” she said. “So, we want to be in the arena with that we want to be able to compete and get that dollar, as well as a small business.”

Shopping in-store could be different too because of staffing shortages.

“It might mean shorter store hours. You might not get that customer service that you want; it might mean a little longer line standing for the cashier because instead of five cashiers coming to work, you might have three, you know, the lines might be longer.”

Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president

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Yamaki added that if a shopper is waiting on a really good deal — depending on the item — the price could drop as Christmas gets closer, but it might not be under the tree in time.