With customers getting primed to start their Christmas shopping any day now (if they haven’t started already that is!), the rush is now on to get your business ready for the festive season.
This year has certainly not been what anyone could have imagined but seasonal shopping is still going ahead as planned... but there’s a slight twist. Consumer behaviours have shifted amidst the pandemic and retailers must get on board with the change in shopping habits if they stand a chance of making the most of pre-Christmas demand.
A recent Google study has identified five different consumers shifts that have developed since the pandemic began. Take note of the following changes to get your business prepared for the months to come...
1. Month Long Cyber Monday
As of the end of August, 27% of U.S. shoppers said they have already started their holiday shopping.
With a quarter of shoppers saying they had started their festive shopping at least five months before Christmas, there’s no better time to get started on your seasonal marketing plan!
The run up to Christmas, especially December, is full of noise from businesses competing for sales so it’s vital to start as early as possible. Think about the different platforms you wish to utilise, whether that’s primarily digital marketing activities such as social media or email, or traditional methods in the form of in-store marketing or print - you might even want to use a mix of marketing methods to reach and engage with your target audience.
Whichever type of method/s you decide to use, remember to plan beforehand, adapt during and review afterwards in order to run the most effective campaign.
2. Digital Newcomers Driving Growth
More than 50% of surveyed shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time.
With high street shops across the UK facing closures at any time whenever local lockdowns are imposed, many customers are turning towards online shopping for the first time.
The convenience of online shopping has always been a huge benefit, but more importantly, the ability to order any product from the safety of your own home is greatly appreciated during these unpredictable times.
In order to cater for your online shoppers, you must focus on improving the user experience on your website or app to make every click and scroll as seamless as possible. But where do you start? First, dig into your analytics. Are there any specific pages that aren’t performing so great? Do you have a high number of abandoned carts? Once you’ve decided what needs tweaking, use A/B testing to make changes that will appeal to your target audience.
3. A Skew Towards Online SKUs
As of May, searches for “available near me” have grown globally by over 100% since last year.
Every year, more and more people are using localised search terms to discover businesses that are nearby their current location. Google has discovered that customers are more likely to search online to check stock in their local store before making a purchase in a physical shop.
With this latest behaviour, it is important that your business is being shown for localised results - say hello to Google My Business! If you haven’t checked your Google My Business profile for a while, take this as a sign to have a look and make sure everything is as up to date as possible. Check out our blog - Head in the Right Direction Using Our Google My Business Advice - which includes 4 tips for building your Google My Business profile!
4. The Rise of The Purpose Driven Shopper
46% of surveyed U.S. shoppers agreed that “I make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values.”
No matter the size of your business, customers care about the brand behind the products and services they are interested in. Nearly half of shoppers will go out of their way to buy from companies that ‘align with (their) values’.
Focus on how your business is socially responsible and why that makes a positive impact on your customers, local community or even the world! Some of the biggest brands in the world are doing corporate social responsibility right…
- TOMS mission is to donate a pair of shoes for every pair they sell and has resulted in the donation of over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need.
- Lego plans to invest $150 million over the next 15 years with a focus on addressing climate change and reducing waste.
- To directly combat coffee rust - one of the biggest causes of climate change, Starbucks launched the 100 Million Trees Programme and, so far, more than 30 million trees have already been donated.
Just remember that the smallest of changes in the right direction can have a positive impact on how new and existing customers perceive your business.
5. Something New and Something Known
During the pandemic, almost one-third of U.S. shoppers have purchased from a brand that was new to them.
If you’re an online-only business, then you’re in luck because almost one third of shoppers have purchased from a business they hadn’t tried before during the pandemic. This trend is more than likely to continue during the festive season as people shop from the comfort of their own home. A long term SEO strategy alongside running effective PPC campaigns will ensure that you appear at the top of searches relating to your product or service keywords.
But when it comes to shopping in store, 35% of U.S. shoppers said they only shop at stores they are familiar with.
However, if you have a physical store, it has been found that a third of customers are more likely to be loyal to brands where they have previously shopped.
Consider what in-store marketing techniques you can implement to keep people coming back. In-store only discounts will encourage foot traffic into your brick and mortar store - send out push notifications using your app when they are nearby or email customers to remind them of the offers available only in their local store.
Any marketer knows the Christmas season is the busiest time but can also be the most rewarding time… as long as you’re prepared. Make sure that you take note of how your customers’ shopping behaviours have changed, pick up a pen and paper and get brainstorming on your seasonal marketing strategy now!