Why Your SMB Needs an Online Presence This Holiday Season

Small businesses are expected to see a +107% revenue boost over the 2020 holiday season. Take advantage of the surge in online spending with these tips.

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How to optimize sales during a pandemic holiday season

Pre-pandemic, an online presence was key to capitalizing on the higher spend of the holidays for small and medium-sized businesses. In 2020, it’s essential.

In March 2020, people everywhere cut extraneous spending in anticipation of tough times to come. But the initial tightening of wallets by American consumers didn’t last long. By the fall, Americans were eager to spend again. Adobe Analytics reports that online sales for September 2020 were up 43% year over year.

With the holiday season fast approaching, SMBs need an online presence to take advantage of the surge in online spending by shoppers, as well as to keep their brand top of mind as coronavirus restrictions remain in place in many locations.

Take advantage of increased online spend

Many brick-and-mortar businesses are still closed or operating at a smaller capacity. Thus, it’s no surprise there are forecasts that this season’s online holiday sales will be higher than ever. A recent report by Adobe Analytics predicts that online sales will experience 33% YoY growth — 2 years of growth in 1 year —  totaling $189 billion.

Consider other predictions about small businesses by Adobe Analytics this holiday season:

  • Small businesses may see a +107% revenue boost over the holiday season
  • 51% of consumers plans to support small and local retailers on Small Business Saturday
  • 38% of consumers will make a deliberate effort to shop at smaller retailers throughout the holiday season

In an unprecedented holiday season, an online presence gives SMBs an opportunity to communicate regularly with their customers and clients. Business owners can share the COVID-19 precautions they’re taking in store to ease shoppers’ fears. Or, they can transition to ecommerce entirely and sell their products or services online.

Meet your people where they are

The “return to normal” has been anything but, and our lives in 2020 remain considerably different than years before. Options for in-person shopping, socializing, entertainment, and exercise have limitations across the country. Instead, we’re seeing individuals spending more time online.

“Consumers are turning to the internet for every aspect in their life,” said Catherine Wilson, founder of Eviva Media, a full-service website and marketing agency. “Even before 2020 we were seeing a shift to developing an online presence, but now it’s more important than ever before.”

“Consumers are turning to the internet for every aspect in their life … Even before 2020 we were seeing a shift to developing an online presence, but now it’s more important than ever before.”

With many businesses still closed or operating a limited capacity, SMBs need to shore up their online presence this holiday season to service customers where they are right now: on the internet. “As many forms of live sales interactions have slowed (or ground to a halt), meeting customers online — where they’re spending vast amounts of time right now — is critical,” said Terry Kasdan, President and Creative Director of atCommunications, a digital marketing agency.

An online presence represents a way for SMB to continue to engage their customers and clients while restrictions remain in place. “Brick-and-mortar stores may be closed, but ecommerce stores remain open for business. Trade shows and industry events may be canceled, but businesses can still network with prospective customers online,” Kasdan said.

Increase brand awareness and visibility

Online shopping has been steadily increasing for years. In 2019, online sales accounted for 14.1% of all global sales, and in 2020, ecommerce is expected to grow by 20%. Even once the pandemic is in our rearview mirrors, buyer behavior is unlikely to resemble pre-corona times. Pandemics have a tendency to irrevocably change the world, and for SMBs that means an online presence is here to stay.

“Even with restrictions potentially easing during the holidays, consumer behavior has changed for good.”

“Even with restrictions potentially easing during the holidays, consumer behavior has changed for good,” said Freddie Chat, an ecommerce growth consultant. “Whatever you sell or service you offer, almost everyone starts their search online, so making sure you’re in the mix is more important than ever.”

Build your online presence now to take advantage of the increased consumer spend of the holiday season. Also do it to build brand awareness for the future. Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO of Mavens and Moguls, a global strategic marketing firm, suggests using the following together to increase brand awareness online:

  • SEO: search engine optimization
  • SEM: search engine marketing

“Research shows that if there are two brands that have apparently the same products, people will be more likely to choose the one they are familiar with,” Arnof-Fenn said. “Seeing your brand name appear twice, both on organic and on paid results, creates more brand awareness and intensifies your businesses’ trustworthiness.”

Accounting for 44% of all economic activity, small businesses are a main motor of economic activity in the U.S. American shoppers value SMBs and are especially motivated to support local and small businesses after this challenging year.

Invest in an online presence this holiday season. You’ll serve your customers and tap into the increased spend of the holidays.

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