Retailers and consumers eagerly look forward to the holiday season. This year is no different as excitement builds and consumers try to make their plans. But no one knows quite what to expect. No holiday parties? Fewer gatherings? More online shopping? Shoppers will be certainly looking for special deals and promotions that capture the holiday magic and allow them to participate in favorite traditions - even if things don’t look the way they normally do this year. How can you shift your holiday marketing to meet the needs of 2020? Here are 7 things you should know.
1. Your Marketing Needs to Match the Times
The holiday season comes earlier and earlier every year. Many stores are already selling Christmas decorations and trees in August. That means that if you want to capture the attention of holiday shoppers, you need to create your commercial now!
It's also important to be sure that your 2020 holiday ads include the information that shoppers need this year. How will you be maintaining social distancing measures in your store, in spite of holiday shopping crowds? Will your hours change for the holidays? You will also want to consider high-risk customers such as seniors or those with compromised immune systems who may need to do their holiday shopping in-person this year. Can you institute special shopping hours just for them?
Also, consider shoppers' needs as they plan whether to handle their shopping online or in-store. Will you have limited quantities in store to help encourage online shopping? Can you offer special promotions for shoppers who do take care of their shopping online, to help keep them out of stores?
Because of coronavirus, consumers may not be rushing to the stores as in years past. Many large retailers have already announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving so employees can stay at home with their families. Your store might want to scale back its in-store Black Friday promotions and encourage consumers to participate in Cyber Monday, instead. Use your creative to talk about what you're doing this holiday season, including how you're planning to keep both employees and consumers safe.
2. Make Sure Your Marketing Creative is Representative of How Things Will Be This Year
Past holiday ads may have featured huge crowds of shoppers filling the stores or lines stretching around the building. This year, the holidays will look very different. Consumers may not be able to come together in person. They probably will not have large holiday parties or participate in big events. Many familiar events may be canceled altogether.
As you plan your marketing creative, make sure it reflects the changes so many consumers will be dealing with during the holidays. Display smaller, more intimate gatherings. Let customers know that you understand the challenges associated with this holiday season. You want your advertising to reflect what consumers are really dealing with, not an idealized look at past holidays.
3. Start Planning Your Creative Now
This year, as never before, it's important to start planning your creative early. You want eye-catching, positive messaging that will help encourage consumers to check out your business and a content calendar that will carry you through the holiday season. While flexibility will remain key throughout the holidays just as it has throughout the rest of the year, the sooner you start creating that content, the more effective you can make it.
4. Provide Customers with Alternatives if They Can't Shop In-Store
Many consumers still aren't comfortable shopping in-store, especially during the more crowded holiday season. Make sure your marketing content includes all the ways consumers can take advantage of holiday deals so that they don't feel pressured to visit your store in person.. Implement curbside pickup and/or online delivery to help consumers make the most of this very different holiday season.
5. Set Clear Expectations
Make sure that consumers know what to expect when they connect with your store. What do your turn-around times realistically look like? What about shipping times? Product availability? Make sure consumers know what to expect so that they can make plans accordingly. You want to help alleviate stress, not increase the challenges consumers have to deal with.
6. Have Information Readily Available
Use your website as a resource that is consistently updated with all the important information consumers need to know in order to connect with your business. Make sure they can quickly and easily access information about your stock, your store hours and your safety measures. Include information about the challenges your business might be facing this year. Are you dealing with shortages of certain holiday supplies? Are there challenges in unexpected areas? Inform consumers so they can make effective shopping decisions.
7. Keep Things Positive
Times are different and stressful this year. Use your marketing to bring some holiday magic to your customers. Share a positive message. Consider a charitable tie-in for the year: donating to a local charity or connecting with local families in need. You want consumers to have a positive connection with your business, even during a unique holiday season.
The holiday marketing season is already here, and many businesses are taking a fresh look at their creativity as they plan for the coming season. By starting work on your creative now, you can prepare yourself for the changes your consumers are facing this year and provide them with a trustworthy source for their holiday shopping needs.