It’s going to take more than one night to deliver all of the gifts this holiday season. Black Friday is still weeks away and the supply chain is already struggling under its own weight. Despite retailers’ best efforts to stem demand, we are experiencing déjà vu and finding holes in inventory. Those gaps need to be filled and there is only so much time to act.

The supply chain has been a problem for several years now and it should no longer come as a surprise. The pandemic damaged and exposed the fragility of modern supply lines and fixing it has proven to be an arduous task. A large part of the solution this year was meant to rest on early Black Friday deals that started all the way back in October, although it has been met with mixed results. Amazon held a second Prime Day for the first time and major retailers like Walmart and Target launched short-timed events throughout October in effort to convince shoppers to complete their holiday shopping early. The deals were not quite as steep as Black Friday offers, yet it allowed consumers to avoid scarcity and allowed retailers to move excess inventory and prevent new supply holes from forming. This success is offset by the lower than expected spending projections in November and has spread out the spike of revenue that typically occurs on Black Friday. November spending will still be at least as high as last year, provided that those holes in inventory are filled.

It will not just be fancy electronics and new clothes in short supply this year, food will be in high demand for grocery stores and restaurants. Between inflation and the supply chain, it could be difficult for consumers to set their tables with traditional fixings this holiday. If there was ever a time to consider a non-traditional Thanksgiving, this would be the year. Turkey shortages were a concern last year, yet prices are higher now and avian flu has decimated their stock. Staples like butter could see shortages and even items such as snow crab could be exorbitantly expensive if you can find it. There should be no panic over the shortages, although both grocers and purchasers might consider providing alternative options. The foodservice sector is also looking at a tough go of it this holiday season. Diners have become more comfortable eating out this year, yet inflation has stifled their comeback. Restaurants have their own supply chain issues to manage; however, if they can find someone to fill those deficits, there is real opportunity for them this year. It could be difficult for them to properly staff up and lure consumers into restaurants during the holidays. Nevertheless, many restaurants have spent the year beefing up their off-premise ordering platforms and those streamlined orders require less staff to prepare and lower costs

The current supply chain struggles present a valuable opportunity to any manufacturer who can provide in-demand goods. Time is short to meet this demand and so act now. There is still significant spending to be done by consumers and revenue to be won by suppliers, retailers, and restaurants who can fill the gaps. CSG’s retail and restaurant databases have all the contact information you need to get your items on store shelves for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.