While 2020 hasn’t been quite like anyone expected, we are heading into the holidays hoping to end the year with new traditions, virtual family gatherings, and an appreciative spirit. As a business owner, you may be wondering what to expect from a holiday season affected by the coronavirus, with more people staying home and social distancing and fewer people going out to shop in person. With the pandemic taking an economic toll on many families as well, it may be hard to predict how holiday sales will be affected during what might usually be the busiest time of the year. However, we are seeing more people getting into the holiday spirit, which is good news for retailers who, with a little marketing sense, can connect with consumers and help make the holiday season a success.
Be ready for shoppers
Whether you’re a Grinch around the holidays or the decorations are already up, the truth of the matter is that holiday shopping has already begun for many. The time to act and prepare your business for shoppers is now! Shipping delays have encouraged consumers to shop online early to avoid expedited shipping prices or having to settle for a delayed holiday gift. You also may see consumers shopping early in an attempt to spread out the impact on their wallet. Whatever the case may be, ensuring your inventory is ready and sales are set up at appropriate times will be vital for a successful holiday shopping experience for your customers.
Get e-commerce focused
At the beginning of the pandemic, we stressed the need to evaluate your digital presence and optimize for an increasingly online audience. Not only is it important to help shoppers find your site, inform them of your hours and location, and showcase reviews, but your site should also allow customers to make purchases from the comfort of their home. Retailers and service focused businesses alike can offer e-gift cards to help encourage sales from those who may not be comfortable going inside or are looking for an easy way to send a gift to a loved one far away. Remember, shoppers in all age groups are increasingly turning to the online buying experience, so try to make the shopping and checkout process as seamless as possible to avoid losing purchases along the way.
Meet customers halfway
While consumers are certainly shopping more online, data shows that many of these customers still prefer to pick up their purchases in-person at their local stores. As the pandemic continues, buy online pickup in store — or BOPIS — and curbside pickup have become increasingly popular methods of purchase for consumers looking for safe and secure ordering, but without having to wait for your package to arrive. Even small businesses should look for ways to incorporate minimal to no-contact sales — and promote this important offering everywhere possible. If curbside pickup doesn’t work for your business, think of ways you and your employees can cater to your customers’ needs to ensure a safe and comfortable shopping experience.
Although holiday shopping may not see the same level of in-store engagement this year, customers are still ready to get excited about your products and sales — with holiday retail sales forecasted to increase between 1% and 1.5% this year. Hosting a virtual event is one way to keep customers distanced, while engaging them with each other and your brand. Use Facebook Live or a Zoom meeting for your event where you can introduce them to new products, display top items, or showcase product tutorials. Promote a giveaway to be held during the event to encourage participation. You may also consider partnering with another local business or influencer who can bring with them their expertise (and hopefully their followers!) to make the event even more successful.
For a successful shopping season, we encourage retailers to be prepared — don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to reaching customers amid the pandemic. 2020 has been an unprecedented and challenging year on many levels, but one that presents new opportunities for businesses that are able to adapt to the changing consumer landscape.
Need help with your holiday marketing? Contact us today to schedule a free virtual consultation and get ready to sleigh the competition.