How Will COVID-19 Impact Holiday Shopping?
COVID-19 is a global crisis that has affected economies, supply chains and retailers around the world. Your customers’ purchasing decisions this fall/winter may look completely different from what they did last year.
As marketers, we’ve had to pivot our strategies in the face of COVID-19.
Those tried-and-true marketing tactics that worked for us before may not anymore. No matter what type of small business you have, it’s crucial to realize that because the retail landscape has shifted, your holiday marketing plan must too.
Take a look at these recent stats from Think with Google:
- 56% of Canadian shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this year. Almost 65% of those who plan to shop this season said they will shop online more than they did in previous seasons.
- 73% say they will browse for gift ideas online and not in-store.
So as we head into the 2020 holiday shopping season, here are 3 ways to ensure your small business stands out from the competition and reaches your target audience effectively.
1. Embrace communication.
Communication is always important, and even more so when customers may have health and safety concerns around in-person shopping.
Contactless buying and curb side pickup are already incredibly popular, so expect that to continue into the holidays and beyond.
As part of your holiday marketing plan, think about how you can share these types of advantages with your customers, whether it’s a blog or adding keywords like “curb side pickup” to your social media posts and paid ads.
Before you share your seasonal messaging with people, make sure your inventory is up to date. Many shoppers will be searching online for products or services with the keywords “available near me” before heading out.
You don’t want someone to drive over to your shop because they saw a trendy toy on your website or loved an outfit they saw was “available near me,” only to arrive and find out that you don’t actually have it in stock.
I’m sure there are many other examples of how COVID-19 will impact holiday shopping.
Indigo Books & Music has closed 15 stores since March. This year, the focus will be on online shopping and private in-store shopping hours.
2. Think local and lightweight shopping.
While lockdown shopping boosted Amazon’s revenues by 40%, many consumers have been trying to shop locally as much as possible. According to BDC’s research, 97% of Canadian consumers choose to buy local to support the local economy.
This isn’t about just pushing local products or services on your target audience. It’s about telling your brand story, whether you’ve been serving customers in the same small town for 40 years or are a new startup supporting charitable seasonal initiatives.
Become part of your community, and make sure that whatever you’re selling locally provides real value to your customers. People do want to support local businesses this season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll sacrifice quality or convenience.
During the 2020 holiday shopping season, also think “lightweight.” The majority of Canadians will be home in December, rather than travelling to see family or going on a vacation. Consider what that means for gift-giving:
- Consumers will likely be looking for small gifts to ship to loved ones that they can’t see in person.
- People will be receptive to free or discounted shipping offers.
- Gift certificates and gift cards could be the most popular presents of 2020.
Are there some ways you can target your audience with lightweight and local products this year?
3. Adjust your offerings.
I spoke above about the shift to more lightweight gifts, but what about the gifts themselves?
With so many homebound families this year, people who previously bought things like vacations, tickets to events or formal shoes/clothing as gifts will need some other ideas.
Think about how you can reach your target audience with replacements for gifts that don’t make sense in the current climate.
- An entrepreneur in the hospitality industry could offer an “experience in a box” for customers who can’t travel right now.
- A clothing retailer could focus more on casually chic clothing people can wear in or out of the home, rather than on high heels and festive dresses.
- A sporting goods retailer could highlight solo sports like skiing and swimming in newsletter campaigns, to encourage socially distancing folks to get out into nature.
Crate West packages BC experiences into gifts you can give to loved ones, and they won’t even have to leave the house!
How can you adjust your offerings to give your customers something unique and timely in the 2020 holiday shopping season?
I like to always say that with big challenges come big opportunities. While we’ll have to wait and see exactly how COVID-19 impacts holiday shopping, we do know that the better prepared we are as small business owners, the better!
I hope this Holiday Marketing Guide for Business helps you have a successful season!
Originally published here.