Attract more holiday shoppers with this pandemic-proof strategy.
Here's what you need to know:
- This year, seasonal shoppers are more likely to spend their holiday dollars at small businesses since entertainment and dining out options are limited
- Brand partnerships can help expand your customer base
- Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) offers a convenient way to avoid shipping delays
Forget door-busters, Black Friday lines, and jostling for that coveted parking spot at your local mall, the 2020 holiday season will be unlike any before. With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, shoppers are eager to avoid the big, in-person, one-day, blow out shopping events that have come to define American retail during the holiday season.
At the same time, there’s extra money up for grabs. Deloitte found that seasonal shoppers spend 40% of their holiday budget on entertaining, dining out, and travel — averaging $596 per shopper. With these activities expected to be limited this holiday season, that money is likely to be redirected elsewhere. This comes as good news for small and medium sized business owners looking to boost sales.
Boost holiday sales this season with these tips
1. Offer experience-driven opportunities
With people still largely confined to their homes and limited social circles, brands can tap into consumers’ desire to “do something” by offering experience-driven opportunities online or socially distanced. This is also a savvy way to target millennials, a cohort that research has shown again and again prefers to spend money on experiences over things.
With people still largely confined to their homes and limited social circles, brands can tap into consumers’ desire to “do something” by offering experience-driven opportunities online or socially distanced.
Tap into this market with creative online or safely conducted in-person service and product offerings to increase sales this holiday season.
SMBs can consider:
- Virtual pop-up stores where products or services are only available for a limited period of time
- Guest appearances in cooking, exercise, or educational online classes and courses
- Limited, in-person experiences that promote your service while maintaining social distancing
2. Focus on brand partnerships
As common marketing parlance (and cold, hard fact) will tell you, it requires more time and money to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one. Brands can take advantage of existing customer base overlap by working together in co-marketing efforts through partnerships.
Consider the case of Spotify and Starbucks. Music has always been a core element of the Starbucks experience and branding, while Spotify essentially owns the music streaming market. Through the Starbucks and Spotify partnership, Spotify granted Starbucks access to its entire discography while earning exclusive access to Starbucks customers through integrations with its popular mobile loyalty program.
Choose a business that shares a target customer market, has brand synergy with your own company but is not a direct competitor, and is willing to take on their share of the promotional efforts.
Brand partnerships this holiday season can take many forms:
- Social media takeover where the other brand is producing and managing content on social media channels for a day
- E-commerce pop-up store where special edition or co-branded products are available for a limited time
- Content creation collaboration — like an ebook, webinar, or series of guest blogs
3. Promise your products in time with BOPIS
The need for social distancing has made online shopping the most natural choice this year. But Salesforce warns the uptick in online shopping means delivery partners will struggle with bottlenecks resulting in shipping delays for up to 700 million packages.
Ameliorate concerns about extended shipping times and increased shipping costs by offering “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS). BOPIS is a shipping service method where you stock inventory in-house, shoppers purchase online, then retrieve their purchase at a brick-and-mortar location.
Offer BOPIS to:
- Cut down on shipping surcharges for retailers and customers
- Ensure gifts are available by the holidays, or another specified date
- Make social distancing possible with curbside pickup
4. Lean into local
With Americans everywhere feeling the weight of the pandemic, consumers are eager to support their local businesses and communities.
Shop local has taken on new significance in 2020. With Americans everywhere feeling the weight of the pandemic, consumers are eager to support their local businesses and communities. Three in 4 consumers say they are going to make a concerted effort to support small and local businesses this holiday season.
Lean into your position as a small business owner and tap into your local community. Use your existing customer base and email list to communicate with customers; share your offerings and brand’s story. Tailor your brand’s messaging to talk about your role in the community and how much you appreciate your loyal customer base.
5. Be relevant and sensitive in brand messaging
This year, timely and relevant brand messaging is more important than ever. Consumers will be watching to see how brands frame holiday shopping with respect to the ongoing pandemic.
Businesses that appear to favor sales over safety will not fare well in the court of public opinion. Research by Deloitte found that, “Millennials and Gen Zs, in general, will patronize and support companies that align with their values; many say they will not hesitate to lessen or end relationships when they disagree with companies’ business practices, values, or political leanings.”
Take care of your customers and your workers by ensuring appropriate safety measures like mandated mask wearing on-premise, use of sanitizer gel, and limiting the number of people in a physical location at one time.
The urgency around increasing holiday sales this year is understandable. After a tough year, business owners are keen on recouping lost revenue and staying top of mind with consumers. But providing safe shopping experiences that keep customers and employees safe and healthy is most important. Consider online offerings where it makes sense for your businesses, and conduct in-person events with the proper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures in place.