This year, holiday shopping starts in October. Early October. Some experts are even putting a date on it: October 10, 2020.
The challenges of retail shopping in a pandemic have made life tough for businesses, many of which have been nervously watching the months tick by since the lockdowns and restrictions took hold in March. For many, holiday shopping is the keystone for a successful year, but there’s little optimism or signs that holiday cheer will cause more foot traffic.
According to a recent study, a full 45% of respondents say they’ll do the majority of their shopping online. That’s a 15% jump from 2019, and it’s a good indicator as to which industries and firms will benefit.
It also has caused a reaction from some of the biggest fulfillment and delivery companies. FedEx, Amazon, USPS, UPS, and others have already voiced concerns that they’ll be able to handle the substantial increase in parcels expected in November and December. UPS is expected that jump to break records, and they’ve responded by hiring 100,000 seasonal employees to help smooth out the delivery process. Deloitte is forecasting a 1-1.5% increase in retail spending compared to 2019, but with a 35% increase from online retailers.
For marketers, all this really means is that the starter’s pistol is about to go off. For businesses, it means ensuring your eCommerce system is ready to shoulder a heavy load in the next three months. From marketing to fulfillment, remarketing and the inevitable flood of returns, having a sound system in place will be key.
It also means normal holiday promotions can’t wait. Due to the early start, it may be tough to balance discounts and deals for holiday shopping before Halloween customers and candy are even off the shelves, but it’s the reality. Especially with Halloween festivities expected to be canceled or greatly curtailed, many Americans will cast their eye on Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, even if the traditional Black Friday mobs of in-store shopping are a thing of the past.
Creating interesting and competitive promotions now ensures a better customer experience and first-dibs on open wallets, wallets that may have reduced consumer confidence due to the pandemic and on-going economic challenges. The right message will be especially tough to craft this year with the confluence of issues all coalescing in the American mind.
How is your company working to make the most of eCommerce? Let us know, and let us craft your holiday campaign to make 2020 your best holiday season yet.