What does an earlier-start, longer holiday season mean? Here are some things that will look different this year:
People are spending more time at home than usual, so they may plan to amp up traditional fun holiday activities, like baking, gift wrapping, decorating and card sending. With travel and social gatherings limited due to the pandemic, physical gift-giving occasions will be reduced. This may mean increased shipping of gifts and more creativity around gift deliveries. Consumers are aware of pandemic-related lingering issues with product availability and delivery delays, so many will be thinking about their purchases earlier than usual. With different budgets and concerns around economic stability, some consumers may be aiming to spend less on gifts this year. But shoppers who don’t have financial concerns, or who have extra cash due to staying home instead of traveling, may embrace holiday gift giving in a bigger way than usual.
The Approach to Holiday Shopping
Many shoppers will be avoiding crowds, meaning less foot traffic in physical stores and fewer opportunities for general gift browsing. Consumers will need to be more targeted in their online searching, and they will be eager to find curated gift collections online to help them in their selections. Easy-to-navigate product catalogs and compelling online shopping experiences to meet customers where they are will be essential in attracting and winning business. In addition to price, convenience, product availability, and delivery timing will be primary factors in consumer decision making for gift purchases this year.
Increased Brand Innovation
Brands are being forced to become extremely creative to adapt iconic holiday traditions and bring holiday cheer in a virtual format. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window displays, tree lightings, Santa visits and more will all become online events. Expect to get lots of ideas for innovative, engaging content experiences.
eCommerce is More Important than Ever
Given the shift to online shopping, the importance of a highly branded, customized website is of the utmost importance, and the eCommerce experience needs to be frictionless. Up to 80% of items in carts are abandoned before purchase. What can you do to create an experience that makes it seamless for customers to complete purchases, while building trust in your customer relationships this holiday season?
- Communication throughout the customer journey needs to be clear and on brand. Any delays in shipping or changes in product availability should be clearly and quickly communicated.
- Contactless or touchless technology must be easy and convenient and provide the customer with confidence.
- Be prepared to scale traffic and anticipate surges.
- Ensure analytics are in place to drive quick pivoting and the building of data-driven experiences, based on what customers are connecting with.
Supply Chain Visibility is Extra-Essential
In order to provide updates on delivery timing, visibility into the entire supply chain is essential. Being able to quickly identify disruptions, delays and stock shortages will lead to choosing the correct response, whether that is changing suppliers or expediting a delivery date. With increased visibility, monitoring the supply chain allows for issues to be identified and solved before they affect customer satisfaction and on-time deliveries.
There’s a great deal at stake. A seamless eCommerce experience, strong supply chain visibility, and powerful data and analytics are the foundational tools businesses need to navigate this uncertain holiday season.
We’d love to discuss how our supply chain orchestration solutions can help your business with planning and execution. Reach out today.