Adapting Business To A New Reality

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 initially forever changed the holiday shopping experience for everyone in 2020, inflation and rising fuel costs continue to solidify and perpetuate this change.

As the pandemic caused many heartaches that required many companies to adapt on-the-fly to new ways of doing business remotely and digitally online, it's also presented many ingenious and inspiring opportunities and possibilities for growth and success.

Online Digitization Growth

According to Google, the world saw an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime digitization movement that started in 2020. Both consumers and businesses continue moving online at an astounding rate. This movement is only expected to accelerate each holiday shopping season as studies show:

  • 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 last year
  • 70% say they're open to buying from retailers new to them

This movement continues to provide an opportunity for businesses of ALL industries to generate new business and sales like never before, if they take the proper steps:

Black November / Cyber Month

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

  • Last year over 62% of US shoppers started 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 now start their Black Friday sales as early as October; many plan to continue the sales throughout the month of November and 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 the last several years are 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 remain safe and well:

  • Reservations aren't just for restaurants, provide in-store personal shopping appointments when capacity is limited
    • Take it a step further and 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, optimized, 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 the new standards for the online holiday shopping season.

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