The 2020 holiday shopping season is quickly approaching us. In fact, for many shoppers, it may already be in full swing. This shopping season looks quite a bit different than any in recent memory. The current COVID-19 pandemic is changing the shopping habits of many consumers, which means a change in the way you reach your prospective customer. Fortunately, it has not decreased consumer willingness to spend. Current shopping trends from the first half of the year and insight into current consumer buying habits can help provide retailers with some insight into what to expect from this year’s unique holiday shopping season. Understanding how retail marketing will be different this year can help you direct your marketing dollars into the areas that will provide you with the highest return on your investment. Let’s peek at what that might look like.
What Will the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season Look Like?
The 2020 holiday shopping season will be quite a bit different from anything we have experienced mainly because no one has ever before tried to predict what holiday shopping during a pandemic looks like. What we do know is that the virus will impact the way that most consumers do their holiday shopping. Many people continue to avoid indoor spaces, which will likely continue as the weather gets colder. According to eCommerce company Radial, over 60% of the 1,000 people questioned plan to avoid shopping in brick and mortar stores. Nearly 70% of consumers polled plan to increase the number of online purchases that make up their holiday shopping. Although consumer spending remains one of the key areas impacted by the COVID-19 virus, many consumers still anticipate holiday spending to be relatively equal to that of 2019. What is notable is that these consumers are looking for the best deals out there to make their money go further.
So how do you adjust your holiday marketing strategies and holiday advertising in 2020? You embrace the current situation and meet consumers where they are most likely to be—online. By recognizing the current shopping trends, the unique needs of consumers, and addressing their safety concerns, you can make the most of the current holiday shopping season.
What Are the Best Holiday Marketing Strategies for 2020?
The current pandemic is a boon for eCommerce as more consumers shop from home. Even demographics such as older consumers are embracing online shopping due to necessity. As more people become comfortable with using technology and are limiting their mobility, the percentage of online purchases continues to increase. People are also spending more time on their phones, increasing their interactions with social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This points to digital media as a marketing focus for success in this year’s holiday shopping season. This is the year of the Influencer.
Consumers are always looking for a deal, and with unemployment remaining high, that is not likely to change any time soon. It is highly unlikely that Black Friday will be the in-store shopping boon of the past. Many stores such as Target and Walmart have already opted to close on Thanksgiving, and virus safety concerns mean reducing store occupancy rates in many areas.
Instead, you can expect that consumers will be looking for online deals. It also means that Black Friday will become a significant online event and may end up continuing into Cyber Monday. Online deals are likely to extend well past the one- or two-day events that are the current trend. Retailers can be expected to entice consumers throughout the season with emails announcing bargains that encourage you to buy that one last gift.
It is important to incorporate bargains, special deals, and coupons into your email and online marketing strategies. You should also build them into your social media platforms. Now is a good time to create and run pay-per-click ads, as most prospective buyers will begin their online shopping with a search engine query. Knowing the importance of bargains to current consumer shopping trends allows you to highlight it to develop your marketing strategy for the 2020 holiday advertising campaign.
Make Sure Your Digital Media Is Ready for the Holidays
A significant portion of traditional holiday shopping will move to online shopping this year. As a retailer, you need to make sure that your website and other digital media platforms are fresh and up to date with all the relevant information that consumers need to make online shopping easy.
There are several points to keep in mind as you review your platforms and update your information.
Update Your Website with Relevant COVID-Related Information
Include items such as pickup and delivery options and in-store safety protocols. As consumers increasingly rely on online interaction for information, having an informative website can streamline the process and increase trust in your brand. It is equally important to increase the close monitoring of digital platforms to handle increased inbound messages from shoppers.
Freshen up Your Brand
Ensure that your brand message is consistent across digital platforms and that it stays authentic to your mission. The current holiday shopping season requires you to take a fresh look at your holiday shopping message. Make sure you are sensitive to current COVID concerns as you develop marketing campaigns. It is also a good idea to begin online marketing early this year since consumers will not be waiting on a Thanksgiving start date.
Optimize Your Social Media Presence
This is the time to increase your exposure on social media platforms. The first thing to do is identify which social media platforms your potential consumers frequent most. Current trends show that Instagram interaction is the highest, with Facebook and Twitter following close behind. If consumers are spending more time on their phones, it follows that this is where you want to spend your advertising dollars. This is also a great opportunity to show consumers the steps your business is taking to keep them safe during the pandemic. Make your social media interactions a little less formal for a more personalized experience with your shoppers. Highlight recent buyers or product sightings. It also presents a chance to link with other local businesses as a show of support.
Make Sure Your Holiday Advertising Reflects Current Consumer Expectations
Holiday advertising in 2020 won’t look quite the same, but that doesn’t mean you can opt out. In fact, you should probably start if you haven’t already. You will want to start your ad campaign now to allow for CPM optimization. Keep in mind that your campaign will need to be flexible
and ready to adapt to likely market shifts. This year is definitely a trip into the unknown. Take it as an opportunity to try different media channels to hit a wider captive audience that finds themselves on the couch.
Make sure that you adapt your digital messaging to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is still a time of celebration and a desire for festivities, but it is important to acknowledge that it may not be possible for everyone this year. Messages that are sensitive to gratitude for family and a celebration of all that we have will resonate with consumers. In today’s world, even the little things seem worthy of a celebration.
As consumers continue to see the impact of the virus on their communities, many of them are actively focusing their spending on ways that benefit local businesses and local artisans. Consider messaging that celebrates and highlights local business. Pair your own business with other local retailers as a show of solidarity and support. Partnering with charities and nonprofits can also help solidify your brand as a community-based business.
Safety is still at the forefront of consumer expectations. Concerns about the virus have consumers inquiring about how retailers are addressing safety issues surrounding the purchasing process. It is important that as a retailer, you address these concerns and make consumers feel comfortable shopping with you. The emphasis on touch-free shopping will translate into lots of questions about pickup processes. Online shoppers will want to have reliable shipping times. Ensure your message assures consumers that you have all of this under control—then deliver on the promise.
Closing Thought on Marketing the Holidays in 2020
Although holiday marketing may look quite a bit different this year, your team can use this opportunity to solidify your brand and widen your reach with a vast new online shopper base. The ever-changing there-is-no-normal new normal requires flexibility and a willingness to think outside the box. Sharpening your digital message and honing your writing skills are important as this may be the best, if not the only way, you will be able to engage consumers this season. So, buckle in and get ready for the ride. The future has arrived, and it’s digital.
If you need help navigating the current market, reach out to Eminent SEO; our creative staff members are ready to make sure your holiday campaign represents your brand and delivers a maximum ROI to close out 2020!