The holidays have (nearly) arrived. Cue the marketing campaigns, seasonal offerings and festivities all around! While this time of year brims with excitement, it can also pose unique challenges for marketers. To help you prepare, here are some 2021 holiday shopping predictions and tips to optimize your holiday marketing, 2021 edition.
Today’s consumers are all about convenience, but the desire for quick and easy is especially ratcheted up this year. With shoppers still worried about the spread of COVID-19, many folks are likely to stick to online shopping, curbside pickup, or “buy online pick up in store” (BOPIS) options. If you have a brick and mortar store, make sure you accommodate these preferences and advertise anything you’re offering that will make shopping more convenient to bring people to you.
Expect Shipping Delays
We’ve all read stories about supply chain disruptions, which of course trickle down to shipping delays. Some buyers will be proactive and get their orders in fast to prevent freight hangups, but there will be some “Johnny-come-lately”s who decide to buy online a week or two (or less) before they hope to receive their purchase. You can’t change these people, but there are two things you can do to prevent angering customers like them who procrastinate but still expect their gifts in time for the holidays.
First, make sure you include shipping guidelines in your marketing copy wherever possible. If you advertise a new essential oil-infused candle, for instance, include an asterisk and say that it is expected to arrive by 12/24 if ordered by 12/14 (or whatever the case may be). Leave no room for misinterpretation, and avoid giving false hope for something you can’t control, like shipping times.
Second, be ready with a backup. If someone’s items cannot get to them in time for the holiday, offer something they can use in the meantime. Going with the candle example from above, you could have your marketing team design a printable PDF with cute copy that says something like, “Your world is about to look – and smell – rosy when your present arrives!” Then you can put a picture of the candle and the expected arrival date. This isn’t the same as having the physical present to give (and receive), but it at least shows an effort to give your buyer something tangible they can give to their recipient.
Keep Context Front Of Mind
Since the start of the pandemic, countless people have suffered loss, job loss, and illness. It’s been a rocky 18+ months and it’s important to remember the state of your buyers’ minds this holiday season. While there will surely be smiles and cheer, there is still a pandemic going on. Be mindful of the verbiage you use in your advertising, and always seek to be empathetic and kind to your customer base, above all.
Consider the potential emotions of your buyers as you think about seasonal offerings and gift guides, too. Give stressed-out parents a few extra days to nab deals that previously were only available on Black Friday, and be flexible with your return policies. Be ready to offer customer support in an omnichannel fashion, to meet buyers where they are (whether that’s SMS, your website on their mobile phone, chat, phone, etc.). Acknowledge the hardships faced, where appropriate, and don’t shy away from being human in the process.
As an example, let’s say you always put together a holiday gift guide for your buyers. You include recommended products for loved ones, along with price points. Perhaps this year you also include something compassionate as an option, or layer that into your sales. For instance, your gift guide usually includes nothing but your own products.
This year, though, you let people know that 10% of holiday sales will be donated to local homeless shelters. Or, include an option to buy the “gift of a blanket” for the homeless in your gift guide, to be given in a recipient’s name. Many people are eager to help others and reach out a hand during this time, so give them a way to do that.
If you prioritize convenience, prepare for shipping delays, and remember others’ states of mind during this time, you’ll end up creating marketing campaigns and gift packages that resonate.
Need help coming up with ideas? We’re happy to help!