It may be only late October, but the holiday season is just about upon us – whether we like it or not. Halloween is next week. The following weekend, watch for the rush of holiday TV spots.

Manufacturers have some interesting strategies to consider this year. The holiday season will be shorter because Thanksgiving isn’t until Nov. 28, with Black Friday on the eve of December 1. That means more sales have to be squeezed into a shorter period of time.

black-friday-macysHow do they do that? Some marketers are suggesting manufacturers fight a price war earlier in the game. But that just sounds like a regular Black Friday to me (or Cyber Monday, if you’re so inclined). That strategy is intended to get consumers to buy early.

A more interesting strategy is to make your product scarce, then steadily your product more and more available. Here’s what I mean: Already, the pre-orders for the PS4 are already sold out. There are rumors that Apple will announce new iPads tomorrow, which if true would probably mean pre-orders.

The idea of pre-ordering suggests, “If you don’t sign up now, you might not get one.” Then there is the mad scramble when they are available at a limited rate, followed by a steady rollout to keep the urgency in place.

This strategy plays on the value of scarcity. Those things that are scarce are considered more valuable. It’s one of the reasons why diamonds are considered so desirable. They are scarce.

There are other factors manufacturers – and retailers – must consider this season, but fighting a price war is not the way to win in any holiday shopping season. Being coveted is.