Discover this year’s holiday season trends
With two of the biggest events of the retail calendar quite literally just around the corner, we’re discussing what consumers really want to see from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
This year may be slightly different to any other year though, as queuing outside of our favourite high-street stores is being traded in for virtual queues with plenty of tabs left open instead.
And for many businesses, this will be their first Christmas that is primarily based online. And while the online marketplace does present some opportunities, increased demand, greater competition and logistical consideration can create a number of challenges, too.
With 2020 altering the purchasing decisions of thousands, businesses need to consider the change in trends within the industry to ensure they are meeting the new needs and demands of potential customers.
Brands and businesses should be working hard to build trust between themselves and their consumers. After all the disruption that has come with this year so far, consumers need to be able to trust and rely on brands to deliver excellent customer service and top-quality products and services. Now more than ever, brand trust is a pivotal part of the buying process.
Brands should be placing the consumer at the forefront of their marketing strategies, adapting their services to meet their new-found needs. This year’s events are also influencing trends in the types of gifts users are scouring the internet for.
For instance, Google trend research has shown that ideas for homemade gifts have experienced a 10% increase in search volume than this period last year. This might be an indication that people will be spending their additional free time creating gifts with greater sentimental significance than financial value this Christmas.
Also, with people spending more time at home and less time at salons, pubs and restaurants, we are also expecting to see an increase in at-home pamper kits, cooking kits and cocktail making sets.
Similarly, searches for hampers have increased by 175% and letterbox gifts by 450%, suggesting items that can be gifted ‘remotely’ or from a distance are the theme for this year’s wish lists.
The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has hit both businesses and consumers hard. But while companies seek to claw back some lost revenue, they must be mindful of the difficulties their customers are facing, too.
Consumers are finding themselves on a much tighter budget this festive season and with a rise in both redundancy and unemployment figures, it comes as no surprise that consumers are likely to be motivated by price.
Because of this, brands should be utilising the Christmas sale-period including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day deals to appeal to customers, persuading them to shop and bag themselves a bargain.
Many businesses have already begun advertising their Black Friday sales, allowing them to benefit from increased traffic and purchases from budget-conscious customers for an extended period.
This also enabled businesses to capture panicked customers who flocked online when lockdown restrictions were reintroduced, allowing them to buy gifts promptly in case of any delays.
And, faced with more free time at home again, customers can shop around to find the best deals for their Christmas gifts, too. 63% of shopping begins online, and in most cases, consumers take to Google and Amazon to do their research, indicating which channels businesses should be focusing their marketing activity on. More specifically, 23% of online shoppers visit Amazon and utilise the platform as a source of inspiration.
There is clear evidence that price will be the deciding factor with 82% of Amazon buyers stating that price is an important factor to consider. So, businesses should either be utilising the marketplace or, offering a greater incentive to shoppers buying through the brand’s owned channels.
There are various things that businesses can do to remain at the top of their game, working with current trends and purchasing decisions rather than against them.
Pay-per-click advertising is a great way to reach audiences, providing a variety of short and long-term benefits. PPC is a form of advertising in which businesses pay a small fee each time a user clicks on one of your ads.
This can be done on a variety of platforms including Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising and Facebook Ads.
PPC ads provide instant traffic and reaches audiences in a cost-effective manner. If your business is looking to boost ROI, improve your SEO strategy and monitor accurate results, then PPC is for you.
Email marketing is a channel that consumers ask to receive, by signing up to your website and newsletters.
This form of advertising enables businesses to reach an already engaged audience, encouraging them to make that all important purchase. Email marketing is the perfect way to share seasonal offers including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Email marketing is also easy to measure and share, receiving an almost instant impact.
For those now dealing with multiple sales channels, whether that’s online and offline or via different marketplaces, for example, efficient management practices are key for ensuring a seamless customer experience and in turn, regaining trust and confidence.
For instance, ecommerce platforms such as VTEX align and integrate all of a brand’s sales channels. With all information kept in a centralised management system, businesses can be more responsive, retrieve data faster and in turn, provide better customer support that is not only quick to respond, but also able to effectively resolve issues, should they appear.
So, although the way in which gifts are bought, delivered or received might be different, there is clear evidence to prove customers are still interested in shopping for items they would usually be purchasing at this time of year.
With Black Friday deals and a trusted customer experience that is supported by digital management practices and online activity, there remains an opportunity for brands to maximise their sales this festive season.
Christmas isn’t cancelled, after all!
Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.
At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.