Retailers preparing for the holiday season of 2021
Last year digital engagement reached an all-time high, thereby impacting in-store shopping. Supply chain challenges may not always be within retailers’ control, but they can influence how customers engage and shop. Consumer shopping behavior continues to evolve in light of the pandemic. The pandemic is still very much present and will continue to shape the year ahead. According to the National Retail Federation, around 20%- 40% of the total annual sale for retailers takes place between November and December. Given below are a few ways in which retail businesses are preparing for the holiday season.
1) Online shopping option – Online shopping is now more popular than ever. People prefer the convenience of buying online. The upcoming holiday season will be busy, and according to a survey, 50% of shoppers claim that the pandemic has influenced them to shop even more online. Most shoppers might increase their usage of new shopping options like buying online and picking up in stores. Now e-commerce channels are as important as brick-and-mortar spaces. With consumers looking for safety and convenience, most retailers have e-commerce sites that are up-to-date on details from product specs to the shipping information. Last year Banana Republic focused on its online presence and made sure that customers could shop for every family member in a single online session.
2) Holiday gift guides – For the holiday season, gift guides are a powerful sales tool. With gift guides, most shoppers enjoy discovering items that they weren’t actually looking for. This journey of discovery of the customers gives retailers the opportunity to surprise and delight the customers by introducing them to unique gifts from their brand. Holiday shopping guides can be divided into a variety of categories like hobbies, lifestyles, and values. This is also a great opportunity to highlight best-selling products. Often retailers offer products grouped together as bundles at a discounted price.
3) Holiday campaigns – Some retailers come up with ‘treat yourself’ campaigns during the holiday season. Such campaigns normally include products that customers are likely to be interested in. Norwegian Cruise Line launched a campaign called “Break Free” to address consumers’ desire to “break free” from the pandemic. Their 2021 holiday campaign focuses on activities that travelers can look forward to,like planned vacations and planning for future vacations. They also have online streaming and visuals via social media.
4) Enhance the experience of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores – If physical stores are open for in-store shopping, retailers make sure that customers can easily find them online. Some stores utilize visual merchandise to create striking seasonal displays. Seasonal displays indicate that a particular store is a destination for holiday shopping and can even entice new customers to walk through the door. Stores enable shoppers to touch and feel items in person. Hence displays should encourage people to touch and feel products in an attempt to connect with them. For instance, Ulta Beauty has its hairdryers out for customers to touch and feel them. To keep customers feeling safe, they also offer plenty of hand sanitizer to offer them. Capacity limits are set. The layout of stores is sometimes altered to avoid cramped spaces. For people who are not comfortable with in-person shopping, there are also alternatives like a curbside pickup. Contactless payment options are also offered at stores.