Holiday 2020 at retail will be a season like no other. Resurgent COVID. Record unemployment. Social instability. There’s a lot going on that can hurt our stores.
After all we retailers have been through, we need to make the most of this period. But how do you have a great holiday season when 30% of your customers aren’t comfortable coming into your store?(Source Google/IPSOS)
In the last few weeks I’ve read report after report on Holiday 2020 at retail. I’ve listened to some of the best minds in retail to find out how to best navigate these uncharted waters. Here’s what I’ve learned. I hope it helps you have a profitable holiday season.
Be Conservative in purchasing this Christmas
It’s better to leave revenue on the table than to overestimate demand. The summer’s sales increases were due to pent-up demand. They are already slowing down. Demand will drop even further as government help runs out.
But, some customers have more money to spend because they haven’t been taking trips or going out.
How you plan your inventory will depend on your customer base, your region and your category. But it will be better to be chasing product in December than to be trying to clear merchandise in January.
Line up alternate suppliers for holiday 2020
Many of us are already experiencing supply shortages. It’s not going to get better. Line up alternate sources that you know will have stock and can ship to you quickly.
Line up alternate shippers this Christmas
Online sales have exploded. Delivery systems are almost at the breaking point. 60% of consumers are planning to do some of their holiday shopping online. There’s going to be delivery gridlock. Set up alternate shippers. That way you can switch if your current shipper gets bogged down.
Start the holidays early for your retail shoppers
Product shortages. Delivery delays. The fear of crowded stores. These are good reasons to encourage your customers to shop early. Major retailers are planning to launch their holiday deals as early as October. In Canada, the Retail Council will be launching a “shop early” ad campaign.
Reach out to your customers and explain your concerns about running out of product. Encourage them to shop early. They will appreciate your honesty. And it won’t be out of place; 22% of consumers have already started their holiday shopping (IPSOS/Google).
Reexamine your customer’s needs
Your customer’s needs have changed. We all know that comfort items and things for the home are selling well. But as independent retailers we are closer to our customers. We can go deeper than that.
So, make yourself a big cup of coffee, put our feet up and think deeply about how our customers lives have changed. Better yet, call them and ask.
What they needed before isn’t what they need now. Figure out their current needs and you’ll figure out the perfect gifts for holiday 2020.
Remember that your customers are a little fragile right now. Gifts that bring comfort will do well (including gifts for the giver). The best gift for holiday 2020 at retail will be more cake than kale.
Improve your online presence this Christmas
Most holiday buyers are planning to do some shopping online. We will have to improve our online game. And we’re going to have to find new ways to reach out to our existing customers. Here are a few tactics to improve your online and instore presence.
Twelve tactical, practical things for a better holiday 2020 at retail.
Signage is more important than ever
Many customers are nervous about being in stores. They want to get in and out quickly. Make it easy for them to do this by providing clear signage. “Gifts for mom”, “Gifts under $50” … your signs should make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for.
Offer gifts at different price points
Customers often have a set amount that they are looking to spend. Make sure you have options at various price points. You don’t want to miss a sale because you only had gifts at $50 and the customer was looking to spend $100.
Make sure you have small luxuries for self-gifting
45% of shoppers were buying for themselves last holiday season. Consumer studies during the past months show a rise in “hedonic” shopping. Consumers are beat up and they’re looking for small treats for themselves. Make sure your store has those small luxuries and you’ll boost your average sale.
REACH OUT TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Guide them to the perfect gift
Customers buying patterns are very fluid right now. They are shopping online more. They are trying new brands. Make sure you are staying top of mind by emailing them gift guides.
Use your expertise to guide them to the perfect gift. This is where you have the edge over the chain stores. You know your product, share that knowledge to help your customers find the perfect gift.
Put your gift guide online
Host a Facebook live and talk about the perfect gift. Each session should have a different theme. (Gifts for Dad, Gifts for Foodies…). Take questions, show your expertise, have fun. Inspire your customers to get the perfect gifts from you. Let them buy it during the FB live or reserve the gift for in-store pick-up.
Reach out to your best customers
Send your best customers a short video on BombBomb (www.bombbomb.com). Show them a few gifts that you think would be perfect. They will love the personal touch. We did this for our Spring Bra sale during the lockdown and our customers loved it. It took some effort but our sales were three times our average.
Offer online personal gift shopping
Set up appointments for personal gift shopping on Zoom. Make sure you have a good intake questionnaire. You need to know who they are shopping for, what their interests are and their price point. Then gather the perfect gifts and present them on your Zoom or Facetime call. Your customers will love the personal attention. And you will be giving them an experience they can’t get on Amazon. And having a great holiday 2020 at retail.
TWEAK YOUR WEBSITE
Make sure your website is up to par
Consumers will be shopping online more than ever during this holiday. Make sure your website is providing a great customer experience.
Google provides a great tool for evaluating your store’s website. Go to growmystore.thinkwithgoogle.com and enter your URL. You’ll get valuable insights on how to improve the visitor’s experience.
Put gift cards front and center
Stock shortages, slow deliveries, fear of crowded stores. Gift cards are going to be an attractive option. In fact 31% of shoppers plan on giving more gift cards this year. Make sure that your website sells gift cards. Feature the gift cards prominently on your site. Gift cards should be a destination like any other product category. They are one of the keys to having a successful holiday 2020 at retail.
Create gift guide pages
Create gift guide pages on your site. Have pages of the perfect gift for different people or for different price points. These guides help your customers find the perfect gift. And they will help you get new customers. With gift guides your website show up when consumers search for “gifts for …”.
Add gift information to your product descriptions
Make sure that any suitable products have wording that indicates that this would be a great gift. This will help your customers. More importantly it will help you show up in search when someone google the perfect gift.
Make sure that your customer knows how they can get your product
Curbside pickup is here to stay. As is Buy online, Pick up in store. If you offer these options (and you should), make sure that your website says so. Don’t make the customer dig for the information. Put it on your banner. Make sure the customers know they can shop the way they want to shop.
I hope that these tips help you make the most of holiday 2020 at retail. Please leave any questions or thoughts in the comments section. It’s always great to hear from you.