The 2020 holiday season was, to use an overused but still true expression — unprecedented.
Ecommerce experts have been forecasting record sales for months. The COVID-19 pandemic result meant that many people were unable to visit their loved ones or shop in stores. Many of these predictions were correct.
Here are their words.
Increased Online and Hybrid Shops
“As we enter the holiday season 2021, even though in-store shopping opens its doors in some regions once more, online shopping will be here to stay. Mobile shopping is growing and more people are buying on their mobile devices. Online and offline are the future of retail.
Shoppers are able to access numerous digital touchpoints before ever setting foot in a physical shop. Online shoppers can compare prices, read customer reviews, and get recommendations. Combining offline strengths with online benefits is key to improving customer interactions, whether customers choose to shop online or in-store this holiday season. It is crucial to provide a great customer shopping experience.
Mike Esposito – Content Producer, 1Digital Agency
But also be prepared for more ways to shop
It’s tempting to think that the greatest trend in 2021 holiday season will come from a larger influx of shoppers. This is based on the fact ecommerce growth has been explosive over the past year. We believe that online businesses will face the greatest challenges because of unpredictability.
It is difficult to predict which country will be the biggest source of shoppers. Online shopping will be busy this season, but shoppers from all over the country are suffering from cabin fever. Many shoppers may want to return to the malls or outlets.
It is difficult to predict whether shoppers will continue shopping online or not. Or if they will want to venture out into traditional retail holidays. It is important for businesses that have both brick-and-mortar and online locations to be ready for all scenarios.
“While many states are reopening, lessons from the COVID-19 era in retail will be a guideline for the future of retail for years to follow and maybe forever.
Many merchants feel the pinch of supply chain constraints. It is more important than ever to offer a wide range of products, services, and fulfillment channels. A comprehensive ecommerce strategy will ensure that you are able to adapt to customers’ changing needs.
Leverage Omnichannel Marketing
“The long-held norms of holiday shopping are being rewritten. We can expect surprises this season, more than ever. Although they may not be able to identify the product or service, omnichannel marketing is exactly what our customers need.
Consumers want to know that no matter what channel they choose to engage with, whether they shop in person or from their home, they will still receive an exceptional experience.
They want consistency, hyper-personalized messaging, and convenience above all else.
Alita Harvey-Rodriguez, Managing Director, MI Academy
Duran Inci, CEO, Optimum7.com
Offer Shoppers Convenient Options
Convenience will be the biggest holiday trend, shoppers will be asking.
- Online ordering is possible.
- What if I can’t pick it up in the store?
- Can I make a reservation in-store and have the product ready for me?
- Can I get immediate delivery?
- Can I return my purchase via a simple collection service or return to the shop and get replacement goods?
These “5 C”s of convenience are a winning strategy for retailers who plan to be successful this holiday season.
Alan Moore., Group Managing Director, RANDEMRETAIL
It will be important to say “Buy online, pick it up in store ( BOPS). While the majority of shopping will take place online, I believe more inventory will be available to customers for delivery nationwide.
Michael Payne Director of Sales, Silk Software
Mobile Shopping is a Trend to Watch
The best way to shop on mobile is by purchasing online. Last-minute shopping is easier on mobile devices than ever. Mobile cart abandonment is possible. Online retailers need to address this trend by offering a seamless mobile shopping experience and remembering that customers are more likely to shop from their mobile devices if there is a discount.
Offer discounts to customers by providing a coupon code when they sign up for your newsletter. This will allow you to keep track of their contact information so that you can continue to communicate with them via email. To keep customers coming back to your site, you can offer exit intent. This will encourage them to make a purchase.
Emilie Murphy, Product Marketing Manager, POWR
Be ready for shoppers starting early
“Consumers will begin shopping early. The perceptions have been impacted by supply chain disruptions over the past year. We heard last year that 70% of shoppers planned to shop early in order to avoid crowds and to avoid items being out-of-stock. Similar trends are expected for this year. Retailers should think about launching holiday promotions and plans earlier than usual to meet early demand.
Erin Sagin, Product Marketing Manager, Google
Merchants need to prepare inventory early, too
Be aware of supply chain constraints. In order to deliver holiday gifts on time, retailers typically need to order items 3-9 months in advance. As production capacity is exhausted and consumers demand increases, global supply chains are experiencing major shortages. Are retailers able to purchase enough inventory? It will arrive on time. Shipping woes will continue, or will stores opening expand consumer demand and reduce the burden on carriers?
Jake Cohen Head of Customer Marketing Klaviyo
Social media will grow in importance
Social media is a more popular way for people to buy holiday gifts. Although this is not a new phenomenon, it’s becoming more common for consumers to use digital channels due to the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. Brand discovery is now happening on handheld devices, more often and especially during holidays. That’s thanks to social media. 45% of those who found something online last year said that it was a gift. This holiday season, ensure your social media strategy is top-notch. It could help you make lots of sales.
Chris Cano Content Lead, Dotdigital
Facebook for BigCommerce provides merchants with the tools to succeed on Instagram and Facebook. To learn more about how you can sell on Instagram, including setting up product tags and other details, check out our guide.
Online Experience is a Differentiator
As more people shop online, there is a greater demand for exceptional customer experiences. It can be difficult for merchants to distinguish themselves from others solely on price during the holiday season. Merchants can win customers by providing a great customer experience, from the first contact through to the last purchase, with little investment and a lot of empathy.
Francis Pilon Head of Global Partnerships, LimeSpot
Reviews will play a major role
“Reviews will play a greater role in the holiday season 2021,” said a spokesperson. Reviews and social proof are crucial to success. Retailers and brands should offer everything to shoppers in order to educate, encourage, and increase conversions.
According to BigCommerce, 70% of ANZ customers read at least one review before making an online purchase. Retailers must offer this information or they risk losing customers.
Consumers will also be looking for authenticity, recency, and relationships in reviews. A mix of positive and negative reviews is what consumers want. When it comes to reviews and the impact they have on conversion, trust is key.
Steph Gilies, Head Marketing & Communications, trustpilot
SMS Marketing will be a must-have channel
“SMS is not a nice-to have channel anymore, but a must-have channel — especially during holidays.
Omnisend sent 378 more SMS messages last year than in 2019. Q4 was responsible for 68%. Especially during holidays, SMS conversion rates were more than 100% YoY.
This trend is expected to grow. The first is that consumers are more inclined to use SMS as their preferred communication method. We believe that SMS will be able to fill the gap left by iOS updates, which made it impossible for marketers to resend marketing emails. This will allow them to reach seasonal-cluttered inboxes and drive promotion awareness.
The future holiday season will be decided by time. Will they be eager to go back to the stores, or will they prefer to shop online? Which channels will they be most interested in and which features will help them to grow their business?
We recommend that you prepare as many bases as possible. Make sure you prepare your site well in advance. Customers shop wherever they are. Provide seamless shopping experiences. Our guide will help you get your website ready for holiday magic.