04 November 2020

Preparing for Holiday 2020

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Congratulations - you’ve made it to the 2020 Holiday season! Take a moment to reflect on all of the hard work, the sweat and the tears, the highs and the lows, that it took to get this far in the face of so much adversity. For that, you are all superheroes! This year has proved that retailers and small business owners are creative, resilient, and play a vital role in the communities they serve. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt, learn new ways of doing business, venture outside of our comfort zones, and keep moving forward no matter what. And now we’re here…  at the start of what is sure to be a very unique holiday season. 

 

Without a doubt, retailers will face unprecedented challenges this winter and the gift giving season will look different for all of us. However, in some ways you’ve been training for this all year! Many of the tools and strategies that were adapted to overcome obstacles earlier in the year will be essential to seeing you through the final months. For your convenience, we’ve put together a guide with consumer trends, insider tips and industry resources to help you prepare for a successful season. 

 

CONSUMER TRENDS  

 

This year, consumers will have an even greater appreciation for local small businesses. Independent retailers stand to benefit from more families staying home for the holidays and avoiding large crowds at the big box stores. Despite smaller family gatherings being held, research indicates that consumers plan to spend only slightly less than they normally would during the holidays. In fact, the average amount families plan to spend on gifts this year is $650 compared to $659 in 2019 (NRF).

 

Although shoppers aren’t necessarily purchasing less gifts, spending is expected to peak in new categories. According to market trends and recent google shopping analytics, three categories in particular have seen a sharp increase (Think With Google).

 

    1. 1. Outdoor Apparel - Snow pants/suits, gloves and mittens, jackets, coats and vests 
    1. 2. Self-Care - Pajamas, robes, blankets, socks, bath and body products, cosmetic sets 
    1. 3. Baby and Toddler Products - Apparel, toys, blankets, bottles, nursery decor 

 

Believe it or not, right now is actually a perfect time to dabble in a new category or pick up a new line. Buying off-price products means you can test out new trends for your customers with low risk to your budget.  

 

In the new normal, the customer journey almost always starts online. According to the National Retail Federation, 60% of all sales this season will be online while only 23% will be brick and mortar (NRF). With Black Friday becoming nearly obsolete, and major retailers promoting sales all season long, independent retailers will need to be creative with their marketing and be prepared to offer holiday deals for a more extended period of time. Buyers should be looking for goods that have a healthy mark-up with room to pass that discount on to their customers. Furthermore they will need to be able to bring in additional inventory throughout the season in order to keep up with rapidly changing demands. You can find great deals in trending categories such as the products below by visiting our new digital marketplace, OFFPRICE Online. 

 

 

 

 

 

INSIDER TIPS 

 

As retailers, we know it is important to adjust to the buying trends of our customers while staying true to our brand. Similarly, many wholesale brands have pivoted to cater to the changing demands; your favorite vendors might now offer a new category such as loungewear that they’ve never offered in the past. Adjust your buys to keep those favorite brands but keep an eye out for new products and promotions. A great way to introduce new categories but keep the cost down is to partner with a vendor that offers consignment for a specific time or host a trunk show to test the customer response to new products. To provide an extra personal touch while staying socially distanced, announce new collections or product launches on social and then offer appointments for customers to shop the items privately. This year, customers will be more loyal to your store than ever before, and for that reason you should do what you can to provide them with an elevated shopping experience.  

 

With continued concerns surrounding the pandemic, it is important to keep offering different options for your customers to shop safely. By now, you may have tested out curbside pick-up or local delivery services. However, as we enter the holiday season, customers will be focused on patronizing the businesses that provide the most convenient and frictionless experience. So that is why it is key to make sure that you are able to meet your customer wherever they feel comfortable shopping.

 

- Now might be a good time to implement a tool that streamlines the customer journey such as web services that make tracking orders and scheduling pick-ups easy and user friendly. Many can be integrated into your current website.

 

- Connect with other retailers in your area to find mutually beneficial ways to serve your local customers more easily. For example, together you might organize a delivery crew who could manage home drop-offs from multiple businesses. 

 

- Stay on top of shipping carrier deadlines and seek out discounts for small-businesses. Some shipping carriers are even offering extra discounts on other business services like printing. Take advantage of these promotions to add a personal touch to each purchase with custom thank you notes or bag stuffers.

 

- Offer meaningful gifts with purchase that show how much you truly value and understand your customers.

 

 

 

 

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