By Trevor Shorte
Are you thinking of Black Friday yet?
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, it’s hard to ignore the impact of the Holiday Selling Season. For some businesses, it’s the time of year that they literally can make more revenue between October to December then they did for the previous 9 months.
Fun fact: What we now refer to as Black Friday originally had nothing to do with retail sales. It eventually evolved into a term that was used to categorize the day after US Thanksgiving when a retailer’s sales could put their revenue numbers “into the black”.
In Canada, since our economy is so highly integrated with the United States, it’s not uncommon to see situations where Canadian retailers offer similar deals to keep their customers from seeking out bargains from US based retailers.
What does this mean for your business?? Here are some consumer trends that you should keep an eye out for to ensure that your final quarter of the year will be a good one.
Shopping Will Start Earlier
Around our house, Christmas is basically a year-long event. The planning for décor and other things like that literally starts in the spring and the gift ideas are mapped out for everyone well in advance. For most people though, the Holiday shopping season starts on Black Friday. In the middle of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be finished with us though, (even though we are completely over it and eagerly await its departure!) businesses are going to have to rethink this practice. Getting people to go into a retail store is hard enough and trying to convince them of that during a pandemic doesn’t make it any easier.
How do you take advantage of this??
Use this time now to think about your holiday sales strategy… are you going to offer percentage discounts, no tax deals, BOGO offers? The time to plan for that is now so that you can ensure that you have enough stock for your customers, plan for your distribution, and manage your finances accordingly.
Start thinking about your messaging and how you are going to encourage people to shop early – and safely. Talking about things like how great it would be to go through the Holidays knowing that you don’t have to worry as you’ve already taken care of everything you needed to do. Or you can talk about how spreading out their spending over several months is a good thing for wallets that have been severely strained for the last couple of years.
Sales Will Continue to Happen Online
Cyber Monday is basically the same now as Black Friday with the exception that e-commerce sales are what’s driving the surge. During the midst of a pandemic though, both days will see a great deal of e-commerce traffic. According to research from PwC, this trend is most likely to continue well past the end of the pandemic. Why?? Consumers and businesses were forced to rethink how they do things. When everything shifted online, consumer buyer behaviour adapted to this change and there’s no evidence that dictates it will decrease any time soon. Plus, once people get used to doing something a certain way, you have to give them a really compelling reason to change their habits.
How do you take advantage of this??
This one seems like a no-brainer but make sure that you can be found online. When people put a search term into Google, they are going to get the most relevant results, so you need to make sure that your website is on point. Simple SEO tactics like making sure that you have the proper keywords for your web content or product photos and descriptions on your website can help get you on to the first page of the Google Search Results. The other thing you can do with your website content is talk about what areas you serve. People are looking for businesses that not only have what they want to buy but other things like location are becoming more important. People understand the challenge that local businesses have been through lately, and they are actively looking to spend their money with them.
If you have a physical storefront, make it easy for people to shop online and then pick up at your store. That way, they can support a local business and shop safely at the same time.
We’ve talked about this before but producing engaging content consistently for your website is not only good for your SEO, but it helps you connect with your audience and create customers for life.
Consumers Will Spend Less (But Not All of Them!)
Let’s face it, the last two years have been hard for everyone, both personally and professionally. The economy is starting to pick up, but it will be some time before it gets back to pre-pandemic levels. So, what does this mean for the upcoming Holiday shopping season? For a lot of people, they are more than ready to get out and spend some money. They’ve been cooped up inside for some time and are chomping at the bit for some retail therapy. Many families though have had to find a way to get by with less and just because the holidays are coming up, that won’t necessarily translate into additional spending.
How do you take advantage of this?
Put out your best offer or, as they say, give them the best bang for their buck. In your communications, you want to really focus on the value that they will get from buying from you. If you’ve ever watched a late-night infomercial, they are a masterclass in sales and marketing. What makes them successful?? They craft a story to connect with their audience and elicit positive feelings from using the product, offer testimonials to support that feeling, and include an irresistible pricing offer that provides an incredible value. (But wait… there’s more if you order now!)
These are definitely strange times we are living in but being aware of upcoming shifts in consumer trends and adjusting your business practices accordingly, you will be able to better serve your customers and set your business up for success.
If you’re hoping to have a great holiday season for your business but you don’t know where to start, book a free 20-minute consultation with us to get yourself on the right track!