‘Tis the season for holiday shopping! Like so many aspects of daily life, the pandemic will impact consumer behaviors leading up to the holidays. With a continued surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, experts are urging consumers to shop early and be mindful of shipping delays and product shortages.
According to Google, nearly 75% of U.S. consumers surveyed said they planned to shop online for the holidays more this season than they did last year. In that same survey, Google did find that 66% of consumers also have the intention of shopping at more local businesses, many of who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
As such, businesses need to be prepared with their online presence.
It’s not too late to get your message in front of consumers looking to shop for the perfect present. Here are four things you can do right now to get ready for the holiday season:
1. GIVE THE GIFT CONSUMERS WANT.
There is not a single shopper who doesn’t like a good deal. Whether it’s a BLACK FRIDAY sale, special promotional code, or items bundled together, consumers are looking for and expect holiday deals.Especially now with the U.S. economy hit so hard and the unemployment rate at 6.9% in October 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics), consumers will likely have less to spend on holiday shopping. While businesses may be looking to recoup lost revenue from the pandemic during the holiday shopping season, consider this an opportunity for your marketing. Knowing that consumers will appreciate a good deal now more than ever, be strategic about making your offers appealing. Irresistible bargains are likely to satisfy existing customers AND entice new ones.To market your holiday shopping deals, consider running Paid Per Click (PPC) ads, as many consumers begin their searches on search engines. These ads are a quick way to get in front of consumers looking for your particular business. And don’t forget to add a special holiday touch to the ad content!You can also promote your holidays deals on social media through targeted social ads and email marketing. In fact, 75% of consumers search their email inboxes looking for a relevant deal or discount code. Make sure they find yours this holiday season.
2. IF YOU’RE A “SMALL BUSINESS,” THINK BIG.
It’s encouraging to hear that consumers are looking to support local business during the holiday season. Capitalize on the “Shop Local” spirit as you develop and execute your marketing strategy.To ensure that consumers can find you, check your listings throughout the internet. This means all the major online directories such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Yahoo, but also the smaller, less popular directories, many of which might be local to your business. Ensuring that your business is updated and consistent across a variety of local business directories is extremely helpful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Click here to check your business listings.
If you’re a small business, a few other things to consider include:
- Be COVID-friendly. Customers shopping in person want to feel safe and good about being in your store. Do a quick audit of your website and share how your business is following health and safety protocols. Communicate all the information a consumer would want to know before walking into your store.
- Partner with other local businesses to bundle special offers. For example, if you own a wine shop, partner with a local cheese shop and home accessories store to create a decorative and delicious cheese board with wine accompaniments. Shoppers will be able to support multiple businesses at once while checking items off their list.
- Go the extra mile and provide the trimmings on your customers’ shopping experience. Offer curbside pickup or delivery service along with free gift wrapping. These little details will make a difference!
- Spread good cheer and goodwill by partnering with a local charity. One idea is to hold a canned food drive for the local food pantry. Any customer that participates by bringing canned goods can receive a discount off products or services.
All holiday ideas can then be promoted via social media, advertisements, email newsletters, blog posts, etc.
3. ‘TIS THE SEASON TO GET SOCIAL.
This is the perfect time to harness the power of social media. Your business should be actively posting and engaging with your audience on all social platforms.Create compelling content through photos and videos. Promote special deals and discounts your business is offering, and don’t forget to incorporate festive holiday hashtags and holiday giveaways into your social strategy! Encourage user-generated content by creating a hashtag for shoppers to use when posting about your brand.Here are a few other social ideas to get you started:
- Instagram’s new feature, Reels creates bite-sized videos that showcase your products or services in a fun, creative, and personal way. If you own a restaurant, have your head chef prepare his/her favorite quick and easy snack. If you own a hair salon, create a video showing users how to get sleek holiday hair. With Reels, the opportunities are endless!
- Offer a free gift to followers on Instagram or Facebook who tag their friends in the comments section on a post. This is an easy way to maintain support from existing customers and build your social following with new ones.
- On Twitter, offer discounts or special deals to users who Retweet your content. For example, “The first five people to retweet this video receives 10% off your next purchase!”
4. TIE THINGS UP WITH A BOW FOR EVERY CUSTOMER.
During the busy holiday shopping season, your focus must be on exceptional customer service.We live in the age of Amazon, where customers expect information as it pertains to their orders. Be transparent and send frequent email and/or mobile updates about the order status, and include tracking information where possible. The pandemic is sure to impact shipping, so be prepared to over communicate about any delays. If a shipment will be late, let your customer know immediately, and continue to provide updates along the way.Shoppers are savvy, and service is everything. Whether in-person, online, or over the phone, resolve your customer’s problem quickly and efficiently. Be available and don’t waste their time! It is noticeable when a business lacks good customer service. Ensure that your entire team is poised to deliver the highest level of service and communication this holiday season – it will be advantageous for your business in the days to come.Let customers know you appreciate their patronage, so take your service a step further and surprise them with freebies, gifts, or special packaging. Making your customers feel good this holiday season will go a long way, and help your business stand out.
While it may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” it can also be the most stressful for business owners.
This holiday season and beyond, let us help alleviate your digital marketing pressures. We have the gift for understanding our clients’ needs, and creating strategic solutions. From web design to custom content, for over 30 years we have helped brands grow their digital presence to achieve their overarching business goals.
To show our gratitude for your support, the Aspire Digital Solutions team is now offering 10% off website design through the end of 2020.
Connect with us today so that we can make this holiday season and 2021 one to remember!