How Small Businesses Can Adjust E-Commerce Strategies to Win This Holiday Season - The Social Julie

In a year like no other, it’s time to prepare for a holiday shopping season like no other. Throughout 2020 consumers have adjusted their shopping behaviors to be more reliant on online shopping and curb-side pick up. Small-to-midsize retailers, specialty boutiques, and mom-and-pop shops often depend on holiday sales to ensure a profitable year, and with many struggling this year with shutdowns, winning this holiday season is more important than ever. Here are some tips and trends to help your business rethink how you will tackle the shopping season.

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How 2020 Has Changed Consumer Behavior

In a study of more than 1,600 U.S. shoppers, delivery experience management company Convey found that: 

  • Nearly 4 in 10 consumers (39%) will start holiday shopping earlier this year, while 44% say COVID-19 will have no impact on when they begin their gift-buying.
  • 8 in 10 shoppers (82%) will do most of their holiday shopping online – and nearly 1 in 3 (33%) will do all of it online.
  • 2 in 3 (66%) say it’s important to support local retailers who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Yet when asked which retailers they are most likely to buy from during the holiday, only 13% said they would shop either locally or with specialty chains.
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The study also found that delivery times play a crucial role in the shopping experience. Consider:

  • 9 in 10 shoppers (89%) are willing to give retailers extra time to deliver packages this holiday season. Three quarters (74%) are willing to grant sellers one to four extra days, while 16% are willing to wait five or more additional days for delivery.
  • However, shipping must be free. According to shoppers, the top three most important delivery services are: free 2-day shipping (44%); free shipping on returns (18%); and the ability to track packages en route (14%).
  • Outside of free shipping, curbside or store pick-up is important to 13% of respondents, and that number grows to 18% for those planning to shop earlier due to COVID-19.

It’s clear from these statistics that if your business isn’t taking orders online or hasn’t gone all-in on e-commerce, it’s time to do so. And, if you don’t have a clear delivery strategy, now is the time to think through timing, communication, and fulfillment alternatives.

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What Your Small Business Should Be Doing Now

The holiday shopping season is top of mind for many small business owners. If you’re wondering what you can be doing right now to get started, here are three steps to get you moving in the right direction: 

  1. Develop promotions and communications that match what consumers want, such as leading with free shipping and offering curbside pickup. 
  2. Review and improve your online website and email marketing technology stacks to ensure you can take online orders and show estimated delivery dates as a visible part of the cart prior to check out.  
  3. Build your fulfillment email marketing campaign messaging to communication delivery status often.

It’s also important to think about how you will compete with Amazon. The study found Amazon is the number one choice for holiday shopping with 61% of respondents planning to shop there this holiday. Although respondents indicated negative sentiment for Amazon is growing, with 31% saying Amazon has a negative impact on retail, nearly half admit they will still shop there anyway.

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Take some tips from the retail giant and try to create more-Amazon like experiences on your site by including:

  • 2-day free shipping, or similar offer 
  • Clear delivery options for shipping, including showing estimated delivery dates based on different shipping options or costs.
  • Add ratings or reviews from real customers 
  • Offer suggestions for additional purchases based on what the customer is viewing

Need Help? Call The Social Julie!

For many, holiday buying has already started. If you need help getting your website, social media campaigns, or e-commerce foundation ready quickly, contact us! Our team can help you shape messaging, get it front of the right audience, and optimize your website for online fulfillment. We’re here to help your business finish 2020 strong!