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Adapting Business To A New Reality

It's no surprise that the holiday shopping experience is going to be different for everyone this year due to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

While this pandemic has caused many heartaches and required many companies to adapt on-the-fly to a new way of doing business remotely and digitally online, it's also presented some ingenious and inspiring opportunities and possibilities.

Online Digitization Growth

According to Google, the world has seen an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime digitization movement this year. Both consumers and businesses have been moving online at an astounding rate, and this is only expected to accelerate this holiday shopping season:

  • 69% of all Americans plan to shop online more than in previous years
  • Over 50% of surveyed shoppers tried new shopping services for the first time this year
  • 70% say they're open to buying from retailers new to them

This provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for businesses of any industry to generate new business and sales like never before, if they take the proper steps:

  • Take advantage of this growth and new shoppers by making sure all products and services are listed in Google My Business for Shopping
  • Merchants who run Google Ads AND utilize the Shopping section of their GMB see an average increase of over 50% in clicks and over 100% in views on both the ads and free GMB listings

Black November / Cyber Month

While the Monday after Black Friday has historically come to be known as Cyber Monday, according to Google:

  • This year over 62% of US shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping earlier to avoid crowds.
  • People are always looking for value (even more so this year) Google's seen a global increase of more than 60% for searches including "best affordable".

Help consumers and the bottom line by keeping things safe. Be sure to provide more time for consumers to take advantage of sales and avoid crowds by launching sales sooner, and for longer than in years past. Let existing and potential customers know about earlier start dates by:

Many of the larger big-box stores have already started their Black Friday sales as early as late October, and many plan to have the sales on-going throughout the month of November into late December so as to avoid large crowds and accommodate the need for social distancing and online shopping needs.

Supporting Local In-Person & Online Sales

Global searches for "near me" grow over 100% year over year, and this year is no different with 77% of US shoppers saying they'll be looking for holiday gifts online, not in the store. As such, it's imperative to make sure that a company's website offers a personal mobile experience:

  • Over 65% of shoppers say they plan to shop locally
  • 75% say they will place more online orders than normal
  • Plan for an influx of online sales and make sure the e-commerce site is effective and ready for a boost in sales

Encourage and provide unique and personalized shopping opportunities to help those choosing to shop, purchase, or pickup in-person stay safe and well:

  • Reservations aren't just for restaurants, provide in-store personal shopping appointments when capacity is limited
    • Take a step further to provide shopping appointments for:
      • exclusive customers,
      • those who are over 60,
      • or those with underlying medical conditions
  • Provide specialized bundles of food and supplies for small gatherings at people's homes for the holidays
  • Cater to the nearly 50% of consumers who plan to utilize curbside pickup or delivery options
  • Setup outdoor shopping, drive-thru, or pop-up events for socially distanced sales opportunities

Take advantage of virtual shopping formats to capitalize on new and safe trends in shopping:

  • Provide enhanced window shopping opportunities with "shoppable window" displays
    • Equip displays with QR codes for easy online purchase
    • QR codes are easy to setup and can be done using generators such as:
  • Utilize social media profiles to post photos of offerings
  • Conduct virtual FaceTime shopping sessions

Help Shoppers Get To Know Your Business

Because shopping is moving online and remote, it's more important than ever to help potential customers get to know a business; let them know why they should purchase from a particular company over another.

As such, adding videos to the holiday shopping plan to reach new customers is imperative:

  • Create video ads for YouTube & Google video partner sites and apps
  • Create a free YouTube channel to introduce the business and showcase offers

Research shows that 46% of shoppers surveyed are increasingly using their purchasing power to shop at businesses that align with their values. As such, support for local businesses has grown globally over 20,000% year over year!

Due to such growth, it's important to stand out in ways that count. Make sure to update websites, social platforms, and directories like Google My Business with attributes such as:

  • Outdoor seating
  • Reservations accepted
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Minority owned
  • Black owned
  • Women led

Be sure to let consumers know who and what the business cares about.

Be Online & Ready

Regardless of the strategies a business employs to take advantage of this holiday season's shopping changes; the biggest factor is to make sure the company is online and utilizing all affordable strategies possible.

This means:

  • Making sure the website is fully operational and capable of handling an increase in traffic
  • That all appropriate social platforms are fully utilized and operational
  • All directory services (such as GMB) are updated with pertinent information

With these pieces in place, most businesses will be able to adapt to this new online holiday shopping season format.

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