We’re not even to Labor Day yet, but if you’re still more focused on maximizing your return on the white fashion statements in your closet than on maximizing the return of your Black Friday / Cyber Monday campaigns, you might be too late.

As eCommerce marketers are coming to realize, the supply chain issues currently plaguing just about everybody isn’t easing up anytime soon. Many brands will require months of lead time in order to deliver Christmas gifts on time. Marketing leaders will be forced to make one of two unpalatable choices as Black Friday approaches: to either be honest with shoppers about the shipping delays and minimal likelihood that their purchase makes it under the tree on time, or to gamble with their brands’ reputations by betting on shipping containers to arrive on time and for fulfillment centers and third party carriers to hold up their end of the bargain and deliver orders on time despite an anticipated record amount of packages this year.

This means that marketers need to be proactive with their offers and those managing inventory for eCommerce brands need to be aggressive by ordering product early enough to ensure time to get that product into the hands of their customers.

Even though we’re sixty days or so out from the peak of BFCM hysteria, I think we’re going to see an influx of aggressive promotions – and ad spend to support those promotions – in October as brands look to move the bulk of their Q4 inventory earlier than ever.

Marketing leaders would be wise to start working on October campaigns and planning to ramp up ad spend sooner than later if they want to get ahead of the curve this year. Conversely, simply having product in stock and being able to fulfill orders in a timely manner might be enough to win the sale in late November and into December. Brands with ample inventory should reap the benefits with higher conversion rates and lower CPA (cost per acquisition) rates.

If you (or your agency) aren’t monitoring your competitors’ shipping times and availability on third party sites like Amazon and Walmart.com, you should be. Marketing leaders observant enough to notice their competitors’ inventory issues this Q4 are likely to be savvy enough to adjust their own promotions and targeting accordingly.

Need help sorting out your promotion strategy for the remainder of the year? We’d be happy to chat. Just reply to this post and our team will be in touch.