As summer rolls along, heading inexorably towards autumn, and the debate rages as to whether or not in-person schooling is a good idea for kids, marketers are already beginning to do their research for holiday shopping season at the end of the year. Given everything that is going on in the world right now, it may seem to be jumping the gun to start the research and forecasting so soon; but as any of Site Impact’s experts can tell you, good marketing practices include planning months in advance. Especially as regards email marketing, it’s a good idea to have some basic data and plans in place long before you need it. As a result, we have some preliminary forecasts regarding the shopping landscape for this year’s holiday season, and today we’re going to dive into it a bit.
There’s very little chance that things will be fully “back to normal” by holiday season 2020; the most optimistic estimate on a finished vaccine for Covid-19 is next year and the virus certainly isn’t going away on its own. As a result, Criteo’s “What to Expect for Holiday 2020” report indicates that a lot of consumers are planning on doing their shopping primarily online. Of course, this is not a totally unexpected result--even before the pandemic, there had been steady growth in the number of shoppers getting through their gift lists partially or entirely online. But this year, that’s forecast to spike fairly dramatically. Criteo polled both sides of the equation, and documented that 88% of US consumers planned to do most if not all of the holiday shopping online, having the presents shipped to recipients. Not to mention the fact that 39% of the respondents used online shopping methods for the first time during the initial Covid lockdowns; overall, 84% of them have said that they plan to stick with those brands for the long haul.
Of course, not everyone trusts shipping; for brick-and-mortar businesses, another option to look into that has gained a great deal of popularity in the past few months is allowing customers to order online, but either pick up their orders with curbside services (click to collect models) or to offer home delivery within a given radius. Contactless delivery is, of course, a must--and may be something of a logistical issue, though likely not as much of a problem heading into the holiday season as organizing shipping. These services are in high demand by customers looking to patronize local businesses without the risks associated with shopping in person or the frustrations that go along with social distancing and mask mandates. It’s also vital that you get the word out sooner rather than later: an email marketing campaign aimed at announcing your options will go a long way not just now but later.
It may seem somewhat early to be forecasting, but Site Impact is always keeping an eye on the data, and to us, it’s worth looking into ways to make online ordering systems more robust now, in preparation for holiday season 2020. Shoppers are already preparing to do most if not all of their shopping for friends and loved ones online, and brands that are vocal about making that as easy as possible are likelier to get the bulk of the business. Contact Site Impact to hear how we can help you get the word out to your prospects about your new distribution options.