Retailers have felt the lingering effects of COVID-19 for months as sales began to slip and consumers began to save. Concerns of a slow 2020 holiday season are top of mind as we close out a tumultuous year. The question top of every marketer’s mind seems to be how can we have a successful 2020 holiday season amid a global pandemic?
Yet despite the struggles our global economy has collectively faced over the course of an unpredictable year, retail spending is, in fact, primed to top the 2019 holiday season. If the recent Amazon Prime Day is any indication, which saw $3.5 billion in sales, equating to a 60% uplift compared to 2019’s event, retailers can expect shoppers to continue business as usual this holiday season.
eMarketer predicts, despite a weakening consumer economy, we will still see retail spending increase by 3.4% to $1.042 trillion.
While retailers once expected consumers to line up outside their doors for holiday bargains, this year we will see a sharp decline in in-store shopping. Experts agree E-commerce will be the shopping method of choice as consumers continue to practice social distancing and avoid face-to-face interaction. E-commerce growth is expected to accelerate to nearly 14%, reaching $156.69 this holiday season.
Knowing that retail sales will be at an all-time high in the next few months and E-commerce will be one of the driving forces for conversions, marketers must consider how to amplify their strategies to close out the year on a high note. In this post, we will present data-backed marketing tips to help you prepare for a successful holiday season in today’s current climate.
Understand What Motivates Your Shoppers
The pandemic wreaked havoc on employment across the United States. Of the 16.9 million people unemployed in July, 57% were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. Because of this, consumers will be on the hunt for discounted prices and bargains. Even prior to the pandemic, shoppers were looking for the most affordable option. Mobile searches for “best deals” have grown by over 90% in the past two years.
Deloitte’s Holiday survey of consumers, confirms holiday shoppers are motivated by finding deals, as well as the following:
In addition to offering your customers the best prices, it’s also crucial to optimize your local presence for those seeking convenience. This entails ensuring accurate information appears on your listings across all your locations. For more information on how to make best use of Google My Business’ features to keep your listings up-to-date, check out our Anatomy of a Google My Business Listing infographic.
Prominently Display Your Holiday Deals
Have special deals this holiday season? There is no better time to promote them, everywhere and anywhere you can be found. And, you don’t need to wait until Black Friday to make your special offers known.
60% of shoppers say that they won’t wait until Black Friday to buy presents if they get early discounts from their favorite retailers.
A few places you may want to consider advertising your holiday deals include:
In an analysis of over 5,000 Google Posts, we found Google Posts can have a significant influence on online searchers. Rio SEO’s data demonstrated positive improvements for increasing viewer engagement and actions with a 222 percent overall increase. . Though often underleveraged, Google Posts present a prime opportunity to differentiate your business from your competitors. They appear prominently on your local listing, allow you to better highlight your deals, feature product images, showcase certain products, and link directly to your holiday landing pages.
Social media presents an ideal opportunity to reach consumers in a casual environment. With more time to spend on our digital devices amid COVID-19, social media usage has also skyrocketed. A recent poll found that between 46% and 51% of US adults were using social media more since the outbreak began. Tie in your deals with a special hashtag, creative graphics, and enticing copy to highlight your promotions where your customers are looking.
Update Your Landing Page
When customers reach your holiday landing page, are there clear calls to action to drive sales? Can they easily find the discounts your business is offering? If the answer is no to either of the previous questions, you risk losing business to other competitors who have prioritized their users’ experience. Optimize your landing pages with:
- Promotional banners – Highlight your deals prominently above the fold on your landing page
- High-quality media – Including images and video
- Content – Use fresh copy that includes keywords you’re targeting
- Meta and Title tags – These should match your copy and should include your focus keyword
- COVID-19 Information – Keep your customers informed of safety measures you have in place should they visit you in-store. You can also highlight any social distancing services you offer such as curbside pickup or delivery.
- Testimonials – Leverage on-page, first-party reviews to build trust or testimonials
- Forms – Keep your forms short and succinct. Reducing landing page form fields to four fields has proven to boost conversions by 120%.
Focus On Your Online Presence
This holiday season, how you appear online will be just as important as offline. Just as you would prepare your physical store to appear its best for holiday shoppers, so too should you put the same effort into ensuring your digital door front is equally as festive.
According to Google, this year nearly 75% of U.S. consumers surveyed said they planned to shop online for the holidays more this year than they did last year. With over half of shoppers confirming they will be purchasing their gifts online this year, it is crucial to focus on your online presence, including your listings, website, and social media platforms.
To accomplish this, focus on:
- Updating your store hours if you are operating with special hours this holiday season. Last-minute shoppers and those that missed the delivery window are the reason why “store hours” mobile searches on Christmas Eve tend to spike.
- Optimizing your website for speed and user experience to ensure a seamless online shopping experience.
- Making sure your local listings are updated and have the appropriate retail attributes selected. According to Google, in-store holiday shoppers rely on web search to improve their shopping trips with queries related to prices, locations, directions, available stock nearby—all of which can be derived from your local listings. Get a free audit of your local listings here.
- Improving your local SEO efforts by determining the keywords your customers are searching for right now and injecting it into your content.
Leverage email marketing
24% of holiday sales during the 2018 holiday eCommerce season were driven by email marketing. As a popular tool for capturing leads and conversions, email deserves ample attention when crafting your marketing strategy this holiday season. During a time of year known to result in increases in sales, customer satisfaction, and uplifted spirits, incorporate email marketing to:
- Share how you’re protecting your shoppers and any social-distancing services you’re offering
- Entice lost customers with deals to earn their business and interest back
- Showcase popular gift ideas or share a customized gift guide
- Invite your subscribers to a virtual holiday event you’re hosting
- Promote specific products or services you’re offering
- Encourage quick conversions, two-thirds of retailers use “Buy Now” buttons in their email campaigns
- Segment different audiences to increase engagement and retention
Are you prepared for the 2020 holiday season? We’re here to help! Check out these additional resources to gear up for a profitable holiday season to come.