The 2020 holiday shopping season is already proving to be unlike any other. The global pandemic has made a huge impact on in-store shopping, and retailers large and small are getting creative and scrappy with strategies for inventory management and online sales. That doesn’t mean that in-store shopping is obsolete, but it’s definitely undergoing a transformation. Here are five ways holiday shopping will be different in 2020.
1. First, we’re currently witnessing that Black Friday is no longer a single day, but a week (or longer) of online deals and discounts. For years, store opening hours on Black Friday have been of utmost importance to the customer. Yet this year, timing isn’t important, so much as the online deals, inventory assurance and gift inspiration.
2. Retailers can use apps such as FaceTime and WeChat to bring customers around the store virtually. They might also consider hosting livestreaming events in store. Burberry recently did this, and the livestream event garnered more than 1.4 million views and sold out most products within the hour. Brick-and-mortar retailers should also consider using a reservation app to allow shoppers to reserve a spot in the store as a way to maximize their shopping time.
3. Despite recent struggles, malls still have the ability to provide one-stop-shop convenience and inspiration for consumers looking for gifts. Providing a list of these items and the ability to purchase with curbside pickup will meet the needs of consumers looking for the element of discovery, while emphasizing safety and convenience. Malls can also offer gift-wrapping services for curbside pickup orders as a way to continue to provide specialized service.
4. Consumers will demand a seamless omnichannel experience that enables discovery, inspiration and exploration on digital channels. Proper inventory tracking should be used to limit store trips, as a recent Google survey found that 67% of shoppers plan to confirm online that an item is in stock before going to buy it. As mentioned previously, virtual shopping will allow customers to have a personalized shopping experience without going into stores.
5. Small businesses should identify which customers might be up for grabs this holiday season, as the Google survey also found that 66% of shoppers plan to shop at more local shops. These retailers should also consider offering personalized virtual shopping experiences, based on preferences; make sure to follow up with customers to confirm they are fully satisfied; and provide a platform for human connection. After all, everyone is looking for more ways to unite in this isolated world.
The 2020 holiday shopping season seems daunting to many retailers right now, but with all of the changes they’re facing, there is great chance for reinvention. Retailers can use this opportunity to change for the better and continue growing their business.