A Very Covid Christmas: 8 tips to ‘sleigh’ peak season this year

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70% reported that they have no intention of reducing their spend for Christmas this year. How can retailers prepare?

Internet marketing company, Rakuten Advertising, recently reported that 65% of UK consumers have purchased more online since the initial lockdown began and, with a remarkable 73% planning to buy primarily online this holiday season, it looks like they will be here to stay. Of the 8,000+ consumers reviewed, 70% reported that they have no intention of reducing their spend for this year’s upcoming peak shopping days.

  1. Make data driven decisions
    Retailers are in a fantastic position this year to deep dive into the data collected in order to make the best decisions for your company and consumers. Relying on the data you have gathered on Christmas shopping behaviour from the past few years, and cross referencing this with the data you have gathered on your consumers’ behaviour throughout the pandemic will give you the best insight into how much operations should be scaled up for Christmas 2020.

  2. Communicate
    It should go without saying at this point, but communication is now more critical than ever in a world where we are obliged to keep our distance. This year, keeping your consumers in the loop on any changes to the norm will be vital. Consider adding the below to ensure your customers are up to date at all points of the purchase journey: Add emergency basket messages and Shipping holidays, update courier processing days and automated emails, and let customers add delivery instructions and terms to their order.

  3. Encourage early purchase
    The second national lockdown could potentially cause couriers to feel the impact, so encouraging early purchase could minimise the impact and allow couriers to fulfil all deliveries in a timely manner. Additionally, spreading out orders as much as possible will minimise impacts on warehouses.

  4. Offer flexible financial options
    The pandemic has made consumers far more conscious of their financial stability and we still don’t fully know how this will pan out. Allowing your customers to spread the cost (especially in the run up to Christmas) could be the difference between a sale or not. A more positive shopping experience is also created for your customers, and it can provide your company with a level of guaranteed cash flow throughout the run up to Christmas.

  5. Optimise landing pages and your user journey
    There are now more users online than ever before, so you want to make sure that the journey towards conversion is as easy as possible, particularly for your new consumers. Think about optimising your website pages based according to your customers’ needs - based on what you know your consumers will want to see (utilise data from previous Christmas peaks and lockdown trends), what information they will want to find. How can you make it easier for your customers to access what they need to?

  6. Reviews
    Reviews can act as an additional sales pitch, so by ensuring that your reviews are visible on site. Make sure to keep on top of your reviews - particularly in the current climate customers don’t expect total perfection, they know that there may be the odd minor issue here and there. However, what they do expect, and need to see, is how well you can respond to any issues, and an effective and timely response.

  7. Add value with video
    Before the world went into lockdown, how-to guides and videos were already performing pretty well. However, they have seen incredible increases in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic. If you’re able to provide your consumers with this valuable how-to content throughout peak season (particularly as local lockdowns are becoming more popular), you are providing added value to your customer which will encourage them to come back to you time and time again.

  8. Utilise wishlisting
    Wishlisting can be an incredibly helpful tool for retailers as consumers need to set up an account in order to be able to utilise the wishlist feature. However, now more than ever this could be a fantastic marketing tool - as they are great methods for users to share gift ideas with loved ones, eliminating contact and enabling the gifter to send the item directly to their loved ones door.

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