Believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner. Now is the time smart businesses are planning and rolling out their holiday marketing – especially since the pandemic is still affecting supply chains and local economies.
No matter what type of small business you have, there’s no doubt the retail landscape has shifted. That means your holiday marketing plan should shift, too.
Digital Plays A Major Role in 2021 Holiday Shopping
Last year, people were shopping online like never before.
According to Think with Google, this year will be more ‘omnichannel.’ In other words, in-store shopping will see a resurgence, while online shopping will remain strong.
But the big change is that more than 70% of consumers will have a ‘digital touchpoint’ in their shopping journey. That means that even if they buy in-store, they’ll have interacted with you online beforehand.
From a marketing perspective, this is huge. It means that if you’re not finding meaningful ways to connect with customers online, you’re going to miss out on opportunities. This is true whether you have an online store or not.
So as we head into the 2021 holiday shopping season, here are 4 ways to ensure your small business stands out from the competition and reaches your target audience effectively.
1. Embrace communication
Communication is always important, and even more so when customers may have health and safety concerns around in-person shopping. Make sure you let people know they can expect a safe shopping experience with you.
For example, my company’s client Malary’s now offers private shopping several days a week, so we’re sure to include this critical information in every blog post and newsletter.
Be sure to communicate relevant news with your customers.
Before you share your seasonal messaging with people, make sure your inventory is up to date. Many shoppers will be searching online for products or services with the keywords “available near me” before heading out.
You don’t want someone to drive over to your shop because they saw a trendy toy on your website or loved an outfit they saw was “available near me,” only to arrive and find out you don’t actually have it in stock.
And of course, a big part of embracing communication also means making sure you’re maximizing your social media channels.
2. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
According to Think with Google again, the shopper continues to be mobile first.
That means your website can look as pretty as can be on desktop, but if it’s not functional on mobile, you’re going to miss out on business.
3. Think Local
Thankfully, we can expect shoppers to embrace local during the 2021 holiday season.
While pandemic shopping has boosted Amazon’s revenues by 40%, many consumers have been trying to shop locally as much as possible.
According to BDC’s research, 97% of Canadian consumers choose to buy local to support the local economy.
This isn’t about just pushing local products or services on your target audience. It’s about telling your brand story, whether you’ve been serving customers in the same small town for 40 years or are a new startup supporting charitable seasonal initiatives.
Become part of your community, and make sure whatever you’re selling locally provides real value to your customers. People do want to support local businesses this season, but that doesn’t mean they’ll sacrifice quality or convenience.
4. Adjust Your Offerings
Yes, things look better than they did last year. But the pandemic is still affecting how we gather, how we travel, and how we celebrate. For some companies, that will mean adjusting your offerings to match the new climate.
With so many homebound families this year, people who previously bought things like vacations, tickets to events or formal shoes and clothing as gifts will need some other ideas.
Think about how you can reach your target audience with replacements for gifts that make more sense in the current climate.
- An entrepreneur in the hospitality industry could offer an “experience in a box” for customers who can’t travel right now.
- A clothing retailer could focus more on casually chic clothing people can wear in or out of the home, rather than on high heels and festive dresses.
- A sporting goods retailer could highlight solo sports like skiing and swimming in newsletter campaigns, to encourage socially distancing folks to get out into nature.
So how can you adjust your offerings to give your customers something unique and timely in the 2021 holiday shopping season?
I like to always say that with big challenges come big opportunities. And the better prepared we are as small business owners, the better!
Originally published here.