As we approach the end of the year, acquiring new leads and nurturing customer relationships is increasingly important in order to stand out against the competition, and power through the holidays.
Here are some key things to consider to grow and improve your business during
this time of year.
of consumers plan to shop less in-store
due to fear of COVID-19 exposure
of shoppers anticipate they will increase their
online purchases in 2020 holiday season
of shoppers plan to start shopping for the
holidays in October into early November
of shoppers say they are slightly or very much more
likely to purchase from a retailer they knew was
following COVID-19 safety precautions in-store
of consumers say five days for delivery is
reasonable, while 28% say one week is acceptable
Holiday Shopping Started Early
Typically, the start of the holiday shopping season is marked just after Thanksgiving dinner has finished. Black Friday will still be important for retailers this year, but people will be shopping earlier than usual. Studies show 1 in 3 shoppers will get a jump on their holiday buying.
Shopping early allows consumers to be socially distant and safe. Even retailers are encouraging shoppers to buy early in order to avoid the costly logistical issues associated with unexpected surges.
Online shopping is trendy, but many consumers are looking to shop small this year. Local retailers and service providers have an opportunity to offer a safe, friendly buying experience and give customers a chance to support hometown businesses experiencing difficult financial times.
Brick-And-Mortars: Embrace curbside pickup!
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, take notice of the increased demand for curbside pickup.
With occupancy limits and social distancing policies back on the rise, many small businesses have introduced a curbside pickup option. Curbside allows customers to order online (or over the phone), and safely pick up their merchandise rather than entering your store, waiting for delivery, or paying for pricey shipping.
Due to COVID, approximately half of American shoppers said they were planning to use curbside pickup more this holiday season. If you don’t have this option today, consider implementing one to meet customer expectations.
Digital gift cards are popular
There’s no denying consumers have fallen in love with digital gift cards and, in the current climate, the trend is likely to continue. In fact, 37.8% of consumers have purchased electronic gift cards in the past.
Digital gift cards aren’t just for the big box retailers or large home service providers. You don’t need a fancy eCommerce website to sell and distribute your “cards”. There are many solutions that can help small businesses get an online gift card program up and running in no time. Try asking your credit card processor. Many of the largest companies offer solutions with free digital gift card transactions.
A business-as-usual approach to marketing
Is 2020 business as usual? No, it is not.
Be realistic and acknowledge what challenges businesses will face due to social guidelines, limited in-store selling opportunities, the rise of eCommerce buying, and the expectations of ultra-fast shipping.
Continue to be a good community partner. Follow precautions and restrictions laid out by your local government as a result of the pandemic. Pretend like these obstacles don’t exist, and you might find yourself unprepared.
When considering your marketing approach, message with sensitivity. Be empathetic and realize that your customers may be away from their families, or that they just finished teaching their child algebra. Find a way to genuinely connect with customers and be aware of any approach that could make you seem out of touch with reality.
Overly promotional marketing messages
In these unique times, your messaging needs to find a delicate balance. You need to consider your customers’ situations, but you also have to sell a product or service. There’s no doubt about it, people are still looking to buy. So go ahead, promote your business! Just do it with sensitivity.
Use your messages to acknowledge our shared challenges, showcase the steps you’re taking to ensure customer safety, and highlight how you can make their lives better. After all, it’s all about the customer.
High prices & shipping costs
With consumers becoming increasingly price conscious, make sure to consider your pricing strategy carefully. Take a look at what the competition is doing. Shoppers will likely choose the more economical choice if the difference is significant.
It’s a similar story when it comes to shipping. Driven by large eCommerce retailers, people expect free shipping. In fact, 67% of FacebookIQ respondents said it’s a major consideration when making their holiday purchase decisions. If within reason, consider using free shipping as a promotional tool.
The primary element of holiday marketing is creating initiatives that capitalize on shoppers looking to make seasonal purchases. Holiday marketing has the potential to drive sales for various reasons:
Buyer demand is strong
In the holiday season more customers are actively looking to buy, making it the perfect opportunity to take time out of your busy schedule and build a holiday campaign.
There is a sense of urgency
Any given holiday only comes once a year. Capitalize on the fact that customers need your product or service now! By staying top of mind, it’s likely they’ll choose you when they’re ready to buy.
People feel good buying your product/service
Whether you’re a retail shop selling flowers or a plumber offering post-holiday services, people are eager to take advantage of holiday deals. Capitalize on these positive feelings among your customers through emotion-driven holiday marketing campaigns.
Additional Benefits to Running Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Adding new customers
In addition to securing additional direct sales, most holiday purchases end up in the hands of someone else. These gifts are essentially recommendations, and everyone knows that word-of-mouth marketing can result in strong, long-lasting customers.
Building relationships that last all year long
Humanizing your local brand
The holiday’s give retailers and home service
providers an opportunity to share some holiday
cheer. These days, consumers want to see your
brand’s human, friendly, and safe side.
Effective Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Business
Be creative. Be positive. Be proactive. The holidays give business owners a unique opportunity to connect with prospects and existing customers in a different way than usual. Stand out from your competition by being an active presence in your customers holiday experience.
Create a holiday promotion
A great way service and retail businesses can leverage the holiday is by creating a special promotion. For example, if you own a salon, you could have a New Year’s Eve package that someone could give a friend to redeem at the time of their choice. Home service providers could offer a discount on monthly home service contracts for 2021 in order to generate recurring revenue. Or, a Shipping Store could promote discounts on holiday packages considering many people may be sending their carefully considered gifts to family members that aren’t traveling this holiday season.
Discounts are a common way to entice customers to engage with your business opposed to your competition. With consumers being more price sensitive than usual, a price reduction on a specific product or service can be a good strategy for differentiation. Of course, make sure to follow-up in the new year to ensure a long-term, profitable relationship.
Say “Thank You” to your customers
It’s not every day that you receive an unexpected “thank you” from your trusted plumber, or local gym. Set yourself apart from the competition by acknowledging your best customers. Try to segment your list and target key groups like high profit clients, new acquisitions, or even customers who haven’t called in awhile. A little appreciation can go a long way. As a bonus, add a little gift. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Even a simple online gift card for a nice cup of coffee could ensure repeat business.
Don’t want to send a gift? Consider printing some simple holiday cards and send a hand-written note to customers. Sending a card allows you to connect with your clients when they are less distracted. And, as we mentioned above, taking a personalized approach is a great way to humanize your brand during the holiday season.
Organize a community event
Supporting your local community is a positive thing to do with family and employees during the holiday season. It’s also a great way to build goodwill with the very people who purchase your products and services throughout the year. The holiday season gives small business owners the ability to leverage trends, like organizing digital events or creating and posting training videos for customers to consume at home and on their own schedule.
Get creative with how you get involved. Connect with local organizations like Rotary or Kiwanis and organize an online funding drive to provide turkeys to families in need. Or, if you’re a home service provider, find a few businesses that compliment your offering and do a free online workshop that provides tips for winterizing your home (or even tricks for the spring). With people at home, they have time to invest in their communities and themselves. Whatever you do, lead with your heart.