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How to Navigate the COVID Holiday Season Sales & Promotions

The pandemic disrupted most of the industries in one way or another, and it will take a while before things can get back to where they were: annual sales, revenue, and profits. While the retail and eCommerce trends are rapidly shifting, top retailers remain optimistic about their market performance in Q4. E-commerce marketing strategies are geared towards the consumer now than ever before. 

Accelerating sales is one of the key priorities, but altered consumer behavior needs to be factored in to ensure success. Read on to learn more about the 2020 holiday sales and how you can boost business performance. 

Retail Overview 2020

For the last five years, the retail industry has been slowly transitioning with key emphasis on consumer expectations. The pandemic has slowed this forward trend, and experts predict that the effects could stretch until 2022. This is a speculation that many industry leaders are working on, with many already re-writing their playbooks to get back into the business in style.

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The retail industry’s 2020 economic outlook predicts a drop in GDP growth from 2.3% in 2019 to 1.6% in 2020. On the same note, consumer spending is expected to drop from 2.5% in 2019 to 2.2% in 2020. One of the key factors that will drive this change is the reduced spending power, as major economic sectors struggle to recover from the pandemic. That said, some retailers will perform better than their competitors.

Convenience is one of the trends that will create a huge difference in performance. Many customers are likely to pay more for convenience, for example, home delivery services. Businesses that are investing in convenience in areas aligned to their brand promise will definitely perform better.

Accelerating Sales through the November Holiday

November is one of the most profitable months for businesses, thanks to holiday sales and promotional offers. People are used to spending a lot in November, especially from Thanksgiving Thursday through to the Black Friday Cyber Monday Weekend. 

According to Adobe analytics, 2019 Cyber Monday was the largest shopping day in the United States, with a record-breaking $9.2B billion in revenue. Interestingly, smartphone sales accounted for 33% of Cyber Monday sales, representing a 46% growth year-over-year. Smartphones drove 54% of the retail site visits, representing a 19% growth from the previous year.  

2019 Black Friday, on the other hand, saw a whopping $7.2 billion in digital sales in the United States alone. This represents a 14% growth from 2018, and according to Salesforce, the sales hit approximately $20 billion globally. 

From these statistics, it’s clear that online shopping is winning the popularity battle. Physical stores are becoming less popular by the day, and the 2020 shopping holidays will undoubtedly see similar trends.

If you’re going to drive more sales and boost performance from Thanksgiving Thursday through to the BFCM weekend, below are some tips to keep in mind:

Use the right discounts 

If you’re unsure which discounts to apply, check your competitors’ pricing. This will give you a hint of the best percentage discount that will attract more customers without necessarily going on a loss.

Start early

The earlier you’ll start your sales, the higher the chances of attracting more customers. Consumers begin looking for deals as early as October to prepare in advance for what they might want to buy. Where possible, set to begin your sales a week before the BFCM weekend.

Leverage the right marketing techniques 

Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your business during the sales weekend. The competition will be pretty high, so you’ll need to invest a little higher. 

Besides PPC and email marketing, it’s also recommended to use other marketing techniques: social media marketing (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Email marketing is quite effective if you already have a sales funnel. Using your sales funnel, you can re-target your existing customers using email marketing. For example, you can inform your Thanksgiving customers about the new Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, and chances are, they will still take action if they are interested. 

Optimize your products 

A majority of customers during the BFCM weekend are impulse buyers who aren’t really sure of what they want to buy. It’s, therefore, crucial to give every product in your store a chance to stand out. One way of optimizing your products is to do keyword research for your store’s products and optimize for the search engines. 

Changes to expect 

The majority of the changes to expect during the last quarter of 2020 will be inclined more to the consumer side. Consumer expectations will still make an impact, and those businesses that will bend over backward to meet their customers’ demands will register higher sales and revenue. 

According to a 2020 retail industry report, it’s speculated that 30% of U.S consumers are going to stores less frequently, while 21% are buying more online. By extrapolation, the November holiday sales will see more online shoppers than ever before. The convenience of shopping online and waiting for your delivery will outweigh the health risks of queueing for some discounted products in an apartment store.

For businesses, this is the time to forge ahead and prepare to embrace the “new normal” in the retail industry. How prepared your business is in adapting to the new eCommerce marketing strategies and accommodating the current consumer demands plays a key role in accelerating performance, not only in the last quarter of 2020 but also in the years to come. Performance-focused marketing techniques and tactics are the new trends that will differentiate the top performers from the average players.

Tips for eCommerce/Retail Success

If you’re to drive more sales and generate profit at the end of the holiday sales period, you need the right strategy in place. Below are some critical tips that will help you prepare for success during the November holiday sales and beyond. 

Take Holiday Sales Virtual

Perhaps you’re already thinking of running sales online. The cost of setting up the online infrastructure: from building a site store to identifying a delivery option can be hectic. But the opportunities are massive, and the online shopping trends are just but getting better. 

Understand the Retail Market 

The business landscape is constantly changing. Consumer expectations and demand continuously set new trends. If you’re to stay ahead of the market, you need to pay attention to the customers’ needs. For example, convenience is the biggest 2020 trend you should watch out for. 

Target Niche Audiences

Marketing is a crucial part of every business. It would help if you targeted the right people so you can successfully sell your products or services. This is where targeted marketing comes into play. You’ll need to leverage the power of social media analytics, data science, and website analytics to make informed marketing decisions and to target the right audience with your campaigns. Knowing who is your perfect customer, when and how they shop online is important to precisely target your advertising campaigns and get most of your marketing dollar.

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Closing comments 

The COVID 19 pandemic negatively impacted all the major business sectors. Navigating the challenges and setting your business for success means conforming to the new normal. Accelerating sales during this last quarter of 2020 is probably one of the key agendas in every business priority list. While that is easier said than done, the above tips and insights will give you a competitive advantage in a market where access to the right information is crucial.

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