The holiday 2020 shopping season will be unique. Pandemic-driven concerns of safety and economic uncertainty will prompt shoppers to look for both functional and entertaining gifts at competitive prices. Free shipping will win more than ever this year.
Here are some tips for ecommerce merchants to gear up now.
Holiday Selling in the Pandemic
Create a holiday section. Target.com’s “Holiday Shop” section addresses the big events throughout the year. This makes it easy to promote Christmas decorations and supplies without appearing too aggressive. A simple link in the navigation bar and home page does the trick.
Focus on trends. This year, gift-giving will center on items that make home living more convenient and comfortable. High-end luxury items will take a back seat to unique and memorable goods for recipients to appreciate sooner rather than later.
Offer gift wrapping. Many consumers will shop online for safety and convenience. Stores that offer gift wrapping and personalized messages will be preferred.
Think virtual connections. During the 2020 holidays, families and friends will connect via video calls and chats. Showcasing products with this in mind can encourage purchases.
For example, sites that sell tech gadgets could emphasize selfie tripods and ring lights. Fashion and makeup retailers might post lifestyle shots and tips about looking your best on camera. Wine and food merchants can inspire shoppers to host a virtual family toast or snack.
Argaux, a wine retailer, offers a quarantine edition of its blind tasting kits. Customers can purchase multiple kits, each shipped to a different address.
Think creatively. Most product types are suitable for virtual holiday celebrations.
Promote at-home experiences. Showcase items for the experience. For example, gifts for avid readers could include snuggly blankets, loungewear, and Bluetooth speakers for audiobooks. Portable projectors and popcorn gift baskets would likely appeal to movie fans.
Instill trust. Gift givers want to know their orders will arrive on time and error-free, especially if they’re being shipped directly to the recipient. Now’s the time to revisit and reinforce your store’s trustworthiness via security badges, customer testimonials, and active social media accounts, to name a few.
Provide real-time guidance. Live chat is critical during the 2020 holiday shopping season. No consumer wants to hold or wait for email responses. At the least, turn on Facebook Messenger.
Empathize. 2020 holiday shoppers are worried about their health and finances. Many will be distraught over U.S. election results — one way or the other. Empathy is crucial to online shopping experiences. Train staff accordingly.
Introduce your staff! Plenty of shoppers want to support people over companies. Telling stories about staff members — including photos and videos — is an excellent way to demonstrate that customers’ purchases help employees’ families.
Match prices if necessary. Consumers will pay more for unique shopping experiences. Stores unable to do this should focus on live competitor-price matching.