What will holiday shopping in a pandemic look like?

4 minutes read

As we reach the end of 2020 and with no sign of the coronavirus pandemic disappearing, shopping for the holiday period is going to be evermore busy than usual.  

The typical floods of people out for Black Friday sales and the December rush of Christmas shopping could be missing this Christmas. It is reported that around 61% of shoppers are changing the way they shop amidst the uncertainty due to the current pandemic. We have compiled a quick guide on how to prepare your business for the unknown this Christmas.  

Christmas Shopping During a Pandemic

People are Discovering and Buying More Online  

According to Google, last year saw a significant 71% of UK shoppers using three or more channels when doing their holiday shopping, with 57% reporting to have completed the customer journey online.  

Although digital has been playing a large part in the customer journey, this year we expect this to ramp up further. It’s reported that 71% of British consumers are reluctant to shop in store this holiday period; this shift will continue to see customers take advantage of home deliveries as safety becomes our priority. This means in the lead up to Christmas your site needs to be technically sound before traffic increasing and users begin to navigate a site that is lacking in SEO best practice and may not be showing on Google SERPs yet. The importance of auditing and ensuring a smooth user experience on the site is crucial in preparing for the holiday season.  

Be Adaptable to Your Customers’ Needs  

Given the vast amount of uncertainty at present, being adaptable is key. Your customers will react quickly to the ever-changing buying landscape as retailers impose Covid-friendly guidelines for their shoppers.  

InterestinglyGoogle reports that more than a third of UK shoppers will not be shopping in stores this year. Perhaps this paves the way for your business to re-strategise your digital marketing strategies. From an Organic perspective, it’s important to keep your Google My Business updated during the ever-changing rules imposed on businesses. Re-strategising from a PPC front will also keep your business relevant – perhaps it’s time to do an audit on your location targeting and refining exactly who is seeing your ads? Finding ways to adapt to consumers is imperative to staying relevant to their searches.  

Check out one of our previous help guides on how to get started on your Paid and Organic marketing plan. 

Utilise Automation in Anticipation for the Demand 

Automation on Google Ads can save you lots of time. It is important to plan for the likely increases in traffic you will see during the holiday season. This is where automation can make a difference to managing busier periods to your site.  

Smart Bidding uses machine learning in order to optimise for conversions by using different strategies that meet your needs for your campaign. Whether it is hitting a target CPA, ROAS or your goal is to maximise conversions, Smart Bidding strategies can aid your business in maximising potential by making smart choices on your Paid Search activity. Although automation has its many benefits in this climate, it’s important to review your strategy frequently to judge what Google is actually doing with your budget and how beneficial its algorithms are to you. Remember Google doesn’t know your business the way you do, so leverage Smart Bidding to your specific needs.  

Prepare for Returns 

If you are an ecommerce business, customer returns are a likely part of your day-to-day. Going into this Christmas, it is predicted that many customers will utilise your returns policy more frequently than before. For clothing brands especially, the sanitising process may affect your usual delivery and returns timings your business is used toBig brands like ASOS, John Lewis and Vans have extended their returns policies in line with the guidelines of essential travel only. Ensure you can accommodate to your customers’ needs in the new normal we are in.  

With many changes to consumer behaviour this Christmas period, being adaptable and responsive to your customers’ digital needs will prepare your business in a changing climate. Our strategies have helped our clients achieve a stronger ROI through testing and adapting their budgets to see a better return. 

For more on improving marketing strategies, check out our blog here and get in touch today! 

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