How will COVID-19 affect Christmas shopping?
COVID-19 is a global crisis that has affected economies, supply chains and retailers around the world. Your customers’ buying decisions this fall/winter may look completely different than last year.
As marketers, we have had to change our strategies in the face of COVID-19.
Those tried and true marketing tactics that worked for us before may not work anymore. Regardless of what type of small business you have, it’s crucial to realize that because the retail landscape has changed, 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 shop for the holidays this year. Nearly 65% of those planning to shop this season said they will shop online more than in previous seasons.
- 73% say they will look for gift ideas online and not in the 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 related to shopping in person.
Contactless shopping and curbside pickup are already incredibly popular, so expect them to continue through the holidays and beyond.
As part of your holiday marketing plan, think about how you can share these kinds of perks with your customers, whether it’s on a blog or by adding keywords like “curbside pickup” to your social media posts and paid ads.
Before you share your seasonal messages with people, make sure your inventory is up to date. Many shoppers will search online for products or services with the keywords “available near me” before they leave.
You don’t want someone driving up to your store because they saw a cool toy on your website or loved an outfit that they saw was “available near me,” only to arrive to find out you don’t actually have it in stock. .
I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of how COVID-19 will affect holiday shopping.
READ: How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign Your Audience Will Love
An email newsletter campaign can be an essential part of your marketing plan, and not just during the holidays.
Constantly sending newsletters to your followers gives you the ability to develop a “Know, Like and Trust” relationship with them that will dramatically increase your brand visibility and market reach.
Yet many business owners and entrepreneurs pass up this golden opportunity to build relationships and increase sales. You are one of them?
I share a few reasons why your small business should create an email marketing campaign and offer tips to help you increase open rates.
Read more on our website.
2. Think local and light shopping.
While the purchase lockdown boosted Amazon’s revenue by 40%, many consumers have been trying to shop locally as much as possible. According to BDC research, 97% of Canadian consumers choose to buy local products to support the local economy.
It’s not just about promoting local products or services to 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 you’re a start-up supporting seasonal charities.
Become part of your community and make sure that what you sell locally provides real value to your customers. People want to support local businesses this season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll sacrifice quality or convenience.
During the 2020 holiday shopping season, think light, too. Most Canadians will be home in December, rather than traveling to see family or go on vacation. Consider what that means for gift-giving:
- Consumers are likely looking for small gifts to send to loved ones 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 gifts of 2020.
Is there a way to target your audience with light, local products this year?
3. Adjust your offers.
I talked earlier about the switch to lighter gifts, but what about the gifts themselves?
With so many families homebound this year, people who have previously bought things like vacations, event tickets, or formal wear/shoes as gifts will need other ideas.
Think about how you can reach your target audience with gift replacements that don’t make sense in today’s climate.
- An entrepreneur in the hospitality industry could offer an “experience in a box” for customers who are unable to travel at the moment.
- A clothing retailer might focus more on casual, chic clothing that people can wear indoors or out, rather than high heels and party dresses.
- A sporting goods retailer could highlight solo sports like skiing and swimming in newsletter campaigns, to encourage people who are maintaining social distancing to get out in nature.
How can you adjust your offers to give your customers something unique and timely in the 2020 holiday shopping season?
I always like to say that with great challenges come great opportunities. While we will have to wait and see exactly how COVID-19 affects holiday shopping, we know that the better prepared we are as small business owners, the better!
I hope this Business Holiday Marketing Guide helps you have a successful season!
For the success of your business,