With the pandemic showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon and the holiday season fast approaching, a well thought out online proposition could mean that your business is able to navigate these tough times and perhaps even thrive.

Here we give you some top tips to set yourself up for the best possible chance of success.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Timing is going to be more important now, than it historically has been over the last 15 years. Brands typically need to prep Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as days between Cyber Monday and Christmas to have their big sales, but this year that is likely to change.

Big Box Stores Make Changes

  • Many bricks and mortar stores have already announced that they will be closing down for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This includes Walmart, Lowes, Target, Dicks and more.
  • Some stores are announcing early Holiday deals to help avoid crowded stores over the holiday period.

Consumer Behavior Trends

  • Every year, more and more consumers are shopping online earlier than the years before.  This trend meant that Thanksgiving 2019 topped $4B online for the first time ever and Black Friday 2019 was the biggest ever for online revenue.

Customer Loyalty Is Key

As is true with every Holiday season, there will be a large influx of traffic to many sites and with this increase, comes opportunity. It’s important to create loyal customers to your brand by engaging and incentivizing them in ways that are meaningful. 2020 creates a unique opportunity, as more consumers are purchasing more often online as they decrease the amount of time they spend shopping in physical brick and mortar locations due to the pandemic restrictions.

Drive more email Sign-ups

  • Creating a highly-visible email registration point allows brands to contact their customer base more frequently to communicate savings, new products, upcoming sales and general messages. Email also allows for highly customized messaging based on user behavior, product affinity and is generally available to customers across multiple devices.

Creative incentives through loyalty programs

  • By setting up a loyalty program brands can help incentivize customers to continue to make repeat purchases online. These can range from exclusive deals to drive revenue to incentivizing softer metrics such as registering a product, posting on social media, referring a friend or writing a review. All these tasks benefit brands and revenue over time.

Loyal customers = cost savings

  • Loyal customers cost less to convert and therefore save brands money. Converting a new customer can cost nearly 5 times as much as converting an existing one. Increasing retentions rates by 5% can also increase profits by 25% for the same reasons. Getting a better understanding of customer Lifetime Value and increasing it can create opportunities to participate in higher funnel, typically more expensive, marketing tactics because you are able to measure the effective revenue over time rather than in a single purchase, which creates a more acceptable ROI.

The Message is the Message

The last 8 months have been a burst training in corporate communications and brand communication policy. We have seen empathy play a much larger role than ever before and tone has become ever more important alongside timing. It is not as simple as producing comedic or price focused messaging to garner success. Being present, but also being hopeful and being sensitive are now necessary for brand success.

Communication Cadence

  • “In these complicated times” is now a meme. If you are going to address the uncertainty of 2020, find a different way to phrase it. Be creative without going overboard in your approach to both phrasing and cadence. An overly communicative and redundant messaging strategy will actually lose customers rather than keep them.

Shipping Messaging

  • Shipping is going to be  vitally important in 2020. As focus turns to online, your shipping proposition will come into sharp focus. It is highly recommended that brands have a clear and concise approach to shipping costs and possible savings on these costs. It will also be important to be very clear when people need to purchase in order to have goods shipped before the holidays. Combine these two strategies and you can have a big final push at the end of the season to help drive that final incremental revenue.

Giving back

  • Some brands have taken to donating a portion of proceeds to organizations and causes that align with the company’s ethos. In a time where social justice, racial inequality, economic inequality, elevated unemployment, healthcare access and numerous other topics are at the forefront of people’s lives, brands can show empathy and emotional support by contributing to a cause during the holiday season or even allowing your customers to determine a cause they wish to support.

Trading will likely be tough in the next few months, with increased online competition, logistic and supply chain stresses and low consumer confidence, but if you are able to implement just some of these strategies then it your business will likely be in a good position to close out the year.