As we enter the holiday season, all signs point toward consumers favoring an online shopping marathon — not an in-store sprint. After months of shelter-in-place orders, consumers have become more comfortable shopping from home, with U.S. consumers ranking as the most concerned with catching COVID-19 from in-store shopping.
In a time of deep uncertainty, it’s pivotal that brands connect with their audiences more creatively, more frequently and earlier than ever to replicate their revenue-boosting, in-store holiday shopping strategies online.
Replicating the Multi-Session Shopping Experience
The reason many retailers rely on in-store shopping boils down to one thing: multi-sessional and multi-cart buying. Consumers come in for one item — but leave with many more, usually across several categories. The practice is so ubiquitous that Target even leveraged it into a slogan: Target Run and Done.
But COVID-19 revealed supply chain failures and raised in-store shopping safety concerns. Now, 47% of shoppers plan to leverage buy online/curbside pickup options this holiday season (Think With Google).
To replicate multi-sessional shopping online, retailers need to be more targeted and creative in reaching their most valuable segments. This includes:
- Promoting awareness-generating content earlier in the year.
- Developing more online offer bundles.
- Creating sequential messaging across several product lines.
Prioritizing Awareness-Generating Content
As we approach a holiday season dominated by online sales, brands will need to use every tool available to stand out in the crowd.
This process should begin early and occur often. Brands should focus on awareness-building content that primes consumers for earlier shopping seasons. Consider kicking off this process as early as October for deeper penetration of product- and discount-focused messaging in November.
Holiday strategies for brands often rely on “in-store” deals, which entice shoppers to engage in multi-cart buying. In 2020, these in-store cues aren’t accessible to brands. To compensate, retailers should consider running extra/better deals and “doorbuster” bundles of products often bought together.
Brands should ensure these offerings align with current consumer interests and sequential product lines for the greatest impact.
Sequential Product Line Messaging
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen readership spike on the Nativo Platform around a few key categories:
- Hobbies, side hustles and staying home.
- Gift-giving and gratitude.
- Outdoors or outdoor spaces.
These trends signal increased consumer interest in socially distant activities. Creating holiday bundles around these three categories — and then promoting them with awareness-generating content and direct deals down the line — will ensure that product offerings and messaging align with consumer interests this holiday season.
It’s almost guaranteed that holiday shopping will look a bit different this year — but brands should view this as an opportunity. By communicating with consumers earlier and more frequently, leveraging interesting ad formats and aligning deals with consumer interests, brands can still generate the connections and sales they need to stay in the black this holiday season.
Cherie Desai joined Nativo in 2019 as the Brand Strategy and Planning Lead within the Solutions & Activations department. Coming from The Wall Street Journal and Forbes where she began in Integrated Marketing, she has worked with global companies across industries to help build their brands and connect with their audiences, with a deep content background in business, finance and tech.