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Episode 104: What to Expect From Holiday Shoppers in 2020 (Minisode)

Halloween is over, which means it's officially the holiday season! Iris dove into research on how this year's holidays will look different and is here to pass her findings onto you. Armed with these tips you can crush this final quarter.

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Episode Transcript

Iris: Hello, Outside by Design friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I am Iris. And as you know, we just wrapped up Halloween, which means - if you know me - it is officially the holiday season! So today I am here to talk about how holiday shopping has changed this year. 2020 for holiday shopping is going to be very different than years previously.

So here on this minisode we're going to talk about exactly what kind of changes to expect from this new COVID holiday shopping period and how to set yourself up for success. So let's get into it.

I have included some links in the show notes. First off is Google's five big shifts to expect in shopping behavior this holiday season. And then another one is a very, very in-depth survey that the Morning Consult did. They polled consumers and asked them how their holiday shopping habits will change and how they'll be celebrating the holidays this year. And it's a very in-depth report. So I recommend reading up on that if you'd like to learn more.

So first off, the biggest change that we can expect this year from COVID and from all the craziness of 2020 is that the holiday shopping season is going to be earlier than usual. This is due to a lot of shipping delays. We're seeing an incredible amount of packages going out. So packages are getting more and more delayed. So this means that customers aren't going to be able to wait until the very end of December to get all of their holiday shopping in, they're going to be shopping earlier and earlier because of these delays.

And there were also lots of delays in manufacturing due to COVID and factory shutdowns, all sorts of those things. So there's lots of delays and that's going to keep pushing the holiday shopping season earlier, which means the holiday shopping season is right now.

Many analysts are claiming that Black Friday/Cyber Monday, that whole week, is actually going to end up being the entire month of November. So it's really recommended to start pushing out your Black Friday sales right now so customers can get in on those sales without having to wait until Thanksgiving. Because Black Friday, instead of being like the beginning of the holiday shopping season, which it normally is, is going to almost be around the end of the holiday shopping season this year.

So people are trying to get in on those sales earlier and earlier. So if you can announce those deals now and allow your customers to have early access to those sales, you can stretch out your Black Friday sales throughout the whole month of November as people are trying to catch up and be ahead of their holiday shopping.

The next change in 2020 is obviously, so much shopping is going online. Of course, lots of consumers are feeling less safe about shopping in person. So they're turning to shopping online. However, online shopping is not everything. So because of COVID, there has been a huge push in consumer attitudes to shop locally and to support local businesses instead of big corporations.

So if you are a local business, that is something to play up this holiday season and make it easy for your customers to reach you. So maybe expanding your shopping online and pick up in store options or expanding your website to include the details of your products so people can research online and then go into your store.

Customer surveys are also finding that many shoppers are on the lookout for women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses to support this year. So if that applies to you, that is something to really play up in your advertising, your social media to show who exactly is behind your company and who your customers are supporting when they buy from you.

But mainly, if you are a brick and mortar store, you're going to want to really nail your online presence for this holiday shopping season. Because not only is a lot of shopping going to be happening online during this holiday season, it's also going to be a lot of researching before buying. So if you are a brick and mortar store and you don't offer online shopping, at least inform your customers what kind of offerings you have and double down on your website and your social media presence as we head into December.

Next, another trend that we're seeing this holiday season is some joy, some optimism. We're finding that customers are getting turned off by all those COVID ads. So if you're running advertising or campaigns that are really somber, that are kind of sad, a bit of a bummer, that's not what the holiday season is about.

And trust me, we have enough bummer things on our feeds going on right now. So having some optimistic ads, some joy, celebrating the little things that we can still find during this year: family, virtual connections, small things, and finding that joy in our advertising and our social media is going to entice your customers to want to feel that joy as well.

Next we're seeing that the 80/20 rule, which is the idea that 80% of your profits comes from only 20% of your customer base, those loyal customers. You're going to want to double down on that loyal 20% this holiday season. Treat your loyal customers well; your email list, your social media fan base.

Now is the time to reach out to those people, to be super responsive to their DMs or messages, make sure that those customers know that they're special to you and special to your brand and make them feel special. The holiday season can be really busy and when brands are still responsive and kind, and when brands are creating special offerings for their very loyal fans, that just helps make the holiday season more special.

Next, another trend that we're seeing for holiday shopping this year is that meaningful gifts are going to be more sought after this year than expensive gifts. So a lot of people are feeling the financial strain of the COVID pandemic, so what they're searching for is to still celebrate the holidays without breaking the bank. And so memorable, creative, personal gifts are going to be big this year - ones that a family can celebrate together or that are meaningful and thoughtful versus high dollar gifts. So for example, like a backyard camping kit, where you have snacks and maybe a tent, that sort of thing that a family can enjoy together, versus something expensive and less meaningful, like a MacBook or something like that. So if you have meaningful offerings that bring people together, that bring joy, that's going to be a big seller this year versus more expensive things that are less meaningful and less personal.

And lastly, my final tip for the holiday shopping season in 2020 is: Gift Guides.

You guys. I'm tired. You're tired. We're all so tired. If you, as a brand, can make your customer's shopping experience easier, go for it. We all could use a little bit more ease in our holiday shopping season this year. So if you have gift guide suggestions, making it very clear where to find gifts on your website, what gifts are good for what people, if you offer gift wrapping or little gift notes, include that in your website, make it easy for us. We're all doing our best out here. And we're just trying to get gifts to everyone on our list. So, if you can think about the experience for a gift shopper on your website or in your store, and just make it a little bit easier for your shoppers.

Overall, this holiday season is going to look a lot different than it has in previous years, but you can be successful as long as you focus on what exactly your customers are looking for. They're looking for ease in shopping, they're looking to do it earlier this year. They're looking to find some optimism, some meaningful gifts, and they're likely looking online.

Hopefully these tips are really helpful, if you'd like go to our show notes to get some more details on exactly what holiday shoppers are looking for this year, broken down by demographic information. And we hope that this information helps you wrap up 2020 with success.

Thank you so much for listening to Outside by Design.

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Thanks so much for being here. Happy holidays!

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