During the 2020 holiday season, shopper behaviors are predicted to change dramatically. Many shoppers have already begun their holiday shopping and big businesses started rolling out key holiday deals in October in an effort to meet those demands. Shoppers expect delayed shipping times. Many are expecting to spend less.
Changes in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought with them new challenges for retailers and their workforces. As we all search for a new normal this holiday season, here are some trends to keep in mind.
For almost everyone, this year’s holiday season will be like no other.As the world continues to battle both the COVID-19 pandemic and economic woes, consumers and businesses alike are having to make major adjustments to their holiday plans. How much shopping will people do during the holidays? Will they venture into stores? In these unsettling times, how can retailers plan ahead?
What should you expect, as a business, as shoppers start to navigate their holiday shopping needs in the middle of a pandemic year?
The pandemic is expected to dent holiday spending by as much as 20% this year. Across the UnitedStates the unemployment rate still hovers around6.9% while it has continued to rise for the last 5consecutive months, reaching 8.1%.
In July, due to government shutdowns or decreased business due to the pandemic, more than 16.9million people filed unemployment claims in theUS and close to 397,000 workers in the european union.
Even those who kept their jobs may have faced decreased income: shorter hours, fewer bonuses, and many other challenges inherited from the current situation. Many people are also worried about potential future economic disruption.
All these elements may combine to lead to decreased spending throught the holiday season.
For your business, that means you need to standout. Why should consumer visit your business over your competitors? What can you offer that should encourage shoppers to come check out what your business has to offer?
Consider the other pandemic shopping trends to help adapt your business to fit current consumer needs and behaviors.
From the initial days of lockdowns, many consumers focused more heavily on online shopping opportunities. Instead of spending in stores, especially during the early days of the pandemic, many consumers around the world chose to do their shopping, including shopping for essentials, online.
Online shopping allows consumers to get the items they need without having to worry about encountering people in the stores who might not follow safety precautions. Delivery direct to the door, especially no-contact delivery, creates a greater sense of confidence in many consumers.
Online shopping is likely to continue throughout the holiday season. Many shoppers are looking to their favorite retailers for gift options. As a brand, that means you need a strong online presence. You want to show up in consumers’ social media newsfeeds. You want consumers to find you when they conduct online searches. You want to send out emails letting consumers know how to shop online with your business and what they can expect from you this holiday season.
In light of the pandemic, consumers have cut down on discretionary spending for the holiday season, this may include spending on gifts, decor and other popular holiday items. Some consumers may choose not to purchase as many gifts as they would have in previous years. Many offices and organizations are foregoing holiday gatherings and parties.
For your business, that means you must adapt to fit the current needs of your consumers. What can you offer that fits the current needs of your consumer base? What options can your business provide that will enhance consumer’s holiday season?
Keep in mind that entertainment is a very real need in the midst of this pandemic season, and many consumers are looking for ways to maximize that entertainment -- especially with winter rolling in and many areas talking about future lockdowns. Look for ways your business can adapt to fit the current needs of consumers throughout this difficult season.
This year, consumers are very price-conscious, and they’re planning to spend more on the big shopping days, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, an average 39% plan to spend more on those big shopping days.
More than even before, buyers are very price-conscious: they have a strong understanding of what they have to spend this year, and they want to get the best possible value for their money.
There are two strategies to keep in mind in order to maximize spending at your business during those key days.
First, make sure you’re offering eye-catching sales. Offer sales on times that matter to your consumers. Provide information about those sales early so that consumers will be able to take advantage of them.
Second, consider when you’re offering those deals. Many big businesses are already rolling out their big holiday sales. Some plan to offer the same deal sthrough November, others are offering daily deals that will culminate on BlackFriday.
As you plan your sales patterns for the coming holiday season, make sure you take those needs into consideration. It’s not too late to get those deals in front of your customers!
With COVID-19 cases spiking sharply in many areas, consumers are looking for ways to stay safe while they shop. Elderly or immune-compromised family members still want the opportunity to purchase gifts for their loved ones. People who want the chance to spend the holidays with their families are planning to start social distancing or even quarantining early so that they can reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Your business needs to prepare for those needs. How can you offer holiday shopping options that will allow consumers to make the purchase they need without coming into contact with more necessary? You may already have solid curb side and delivery options set up.
During the holiday season, you need to refine those options so that consumers can shop more easily in your store. Are you clearly displaying the deals you have available in store?
Do you have gift guides that will make it easy for consumers to find highly sought-after items that they may want to purchase as gifts? This year, it’s more critical than ever to offer safe, convenient, low-contact holiday shopping options.
Shopping in a pandemic year looks very different. The holiday this year may be different than it ever have been before.
By paying attention to consumer behaviors and needs, however, your business can put together a more effective strategy that will encourage consumers to connect with you as they plan their holiday shopping needs.
Your business needs to prepare for those needs. How can you offer holiday shopping options that will allow consumers to make the purchase they need without coming into contact as much as possible? You may already have solid curb side and delivery options set up.
Create an in-store covid-19 compliant environment
Everyone’s safety is of the utmost importance in these times. Using chatbot-based screens can be a valuable tool for your teams to do a self-screening keeping both your customers and clients as safe as possible.
Provide strong customer support
Shoppers have come to expect retailers to offer pandemic-friendly interaction options like curb side pick-up, same-day delivery from their local store, contactless payment, and so on. As we head into the thick of this busy season, make sure your customer care teams have access to an integrated knowledge base containing the latest information on delivery options like curbside or BOPIS, contactless and mobile payment methods. CustomerFacing interfaces, like Live Shopping should be kept updated as well.
Anticipate foot traffic
Various tools can help you assess how safe your customers feel coming to your brick-and-mortar locations. With a reporting dashboard that high lights changes in comfort levels, regional differences, and other key insights, these solutions help you plan for expected foot traffic through the holiday season. Surveys of the sort will also tell you how customers are reacting to your current COVID-19 safety policies, and what you could do to help them feel safer. Having this feedback loop with your customers can help you react quickly to changes in their sentiment and behavior.
Reshuffle your eCommerce Customer Experience:
This particular season is shifting customers behavior towards online shopping.
As we are stepping into this new trend, make sure you’re inline with these eCommerce Customer Experience guidelines:
Automate seasonal traffic spikes:
For customer care teams, the holidays usually mean big spikes in contact volume. Many contact centers seek outside help, either by hiring more agents or turning to outsourcers.
Email automation now goes beyond generic auto-replies to deliver real resolutions to customers, rising to the challenge of the large influx of support emails you’re likely to receive during this holiday season – not to mention the inevitable slew of post holiday returns and exchanges.
Our Bayretail software increases sales, marketing agility, operational efficiency and time-to-value for cloud and digital adoption in the enterprise.BayBridgeDigital is committed to innovation and customer success. Bayretail’s mission is to empower retailers to use best-in-class enterprise software, mobile first, in the cloud that is transforming the in-store experience.
Access and monitor smart appointment information on the app.Smart Booking allows the sales associate to consult all of his scheduled appointments. It lists the appointments made by customers on the website and those created by the sales person on the mobile application or CRM.
Give your client the best service they deserve, live commerce allows your customers to get in touch with your store’s employees. This feature grants a personalized answer and customized care for your clients wants and needs all from the confinement of their home.
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