It’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Following a very tumultuous 2020, Christmas this year is going to look very different from previous years. COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, particularly how we shop and merchants need to be prepared for this. 

As we’re now officially very much into the second half of the year, ecommerce brands need to start planning their marketing campaigns to ensure that they have everything in place ahead of time to maximize their opportunities.

Despite the pandemic’s mass-disruption people are still very much looking forward to the holiday season and December is serving as a realistic goal for getting back to normal. In line with this Facebook have released a global marketing guide to help marketers get their campaigns on track. To save you the time we’ve outlined the top 5 shopping insights found and what actions you need to take to succeed this Christmas. 

 

1) Gen X and Boomers dominate mobile and ecommerce growth 

Mobile purchases by Gen X and Boomer groups has increased by 50%. And with 80% of these generations shopping online, it’s imperative that your online store is mobile-friendly.

Merchants need to lay the foundations for a simple shopping experience by ensuring that your Facebook pixel, SDK and service-side API are implemented, and integrated offline conversions. Then, make sure that your Shopify store is easy to navigate, so shoppers can purchase what they want when they want. 

Central to success with Gen X and Boomers is to make communication as easy as possible, especially during the build-up to the busy Christmas period. A strong community management strategy and customer service helpdesk are key to success here. This demographic of customers want their questions answered promptly and when it’s most convenient for them. 

 

2) Self-gifting and seasonal shopping can be positive outlets in difficult times 

Despite these very challenging times, people want to find ways to stay positive and reward themselves. Case in point the rise in online fitness subscriptions and the banana bread renaissance. This is also reflected in the world of ecommerce as 74% global shoppers say they’re researching gifts for themselves more during this holiday season than ever before. 

For ecommerce business owners looking to capitalise on this shopping trend, you’ll need to ensure your products are discoverable to your customers. The best way to do this is to utilise the power of social media advertising. For example, setting up Facebook ads effectively will ensure your products are being seen by the right people at the right time. 

We’d also suggest that you showcase your newest products with high-quality photos and video content on your social channels. And make product promotion fun and exciting, ensuring you tag the product in the post or mention within the caption. 

What’s more, you could also add a ‘drop a hint’ integration to your Shopify store which will allow your customer to send an electronic ‘hint card’ to a person of their choice. The hint receiver will then get a styled hint card that will link them to the exact product the browsing visitor wanted. This will drive traffic and conversions.  

Merchants should harness the power of AR when it comes to the festive shopping period. This will allow your customers to interact with your products at home. For example, by offering a try-before-you-buy-service it will result in a deeper relationship with your products and your brand. 

Also, it’s important not to forget that when it comes to customers buying for themselves, personalisation is key! From email marketing to customisable products, ensure that the customer is made to feel special throughout the buying journey. 

 

3) Imposed disruption fuels receptiveness to news products and service

Although COVID-19 has forced people to the extremes and disrupted the lives of many, it’s pushed people out of their comfort zones and into an openness to embrace new ways of shopping and receiving products. From Grocery deliveries to try-from-home services, people across the globe are getting more comfortable with product, services and activities that offer better price and convenience. 

64% of seasonal shoppers surveyed said they are planning to explore new products during the holiday this year more than previous years. In addition, when it comes to Christmas shopping, people are open to exploring products across borders – with an average of 50% of spend, from people surveyed, going to products in a different country. This means Christmas is the perfect opportunity for ecommerce businesses to scale globally. To do this and get ahead of your competitors you’ll need to have a robust marketing strategy that utilises both organic and paid social media, influencer outreach (e.g user-generated content) and email marketing. 

However, the pandemic has brought an increase in local pride with 68% of shoppers saying they preferred to see advertising in their local language when shopping this holiday season. So brands should consider geo-targeted ads to drive local relevance and support. For ecommerce businesses considering brand partnerships, we’d suggest exploring partnerships with local businesses. 

 

4) The economic downturn will expedite the rise of mega sales

Coronavirus has impacted businesses globally, with the economic downturn likely to affect the majority of families and their finances, people will be more sensitive this year to price and are likely to turn to ecommerce to avoid sales crowds. With 1 in 3 global shoppers waiting for products to be on sale before purchasing, days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be top of mind. To stay one step ahead of your competitors you must appeal to the shopping preferences of your target audience and accelerate buying with automation and machine learning.

 

5) The new value equation is: affordability, authenticity and action

Beyond price consumers across the globe are increasingly drawn to brands that support causes they care about. The crisis has only heightened these expectations. For example, it’s been found that 65% of people said a brand’s response to the pandemic would have a significant impact on their likelihood to buy from that brand in the future. This means Christmas campaigns should remind consumers about a brand’s COVID-19 response as 32% of shoppers want to see informative social media content across the festive season. 

It’s unquestionably clear that the global pandemic has brought people together and this sense of shared hardship has increased consumers appetite for social good and transparency. Businesses who show compassion for their community will have a huge influence on buying behaviour this year, with 82% of shoppers agreeing that brands should give back, for example by providing free services. 

With this in mind, the holiday season is going to be more than just advertising a great product or service; it is going be proving that you’re the online store a consumer wants to associate themselves with. Showcase the work your business has done to support the community through the virus, as well as communicating your company values and how you’ve responded to these difficult times, particularly on Instagram and Facebook. 

Additionally, as discussed above brand partnerships are a great way to show support for local businesses, where retailers can collaborate on ads and drive sales across all channels together. 

We’d also suggest using your Facebook Feed and Stories to highlight transparency and social good. For example, the Bodycoach (Joe Wicks), donated all the ad revenue from his hugely successful Youtube channel to NHS Charities Together.  

This year is going to be a Chrismas like no other. So, direct-to-consumer business owners need to adapt quickly! As you start to plan your festive marketing campaign consider these three considerations: DO consider the context when it comes to content, DON’T be afraid to celebrate but be sensitive of your market, and TRY and consider new and creative ways to embody the festive spirit, break traditions and explore new territories. 

As always, we’re here to help you through this unprecedented time. Our team of Shopify experts will support you every step of the way, so you don’t have to take it all on yourself. Contact us today and get your business prepared for the holidays!