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Early Holiday Predictions to Inform Your Q4 Strategy

‘As Q4 approaches, retailers and consumers alike are settling into new realities and habits while adjusting strategies and plans to accommodate them. Everything about 2020 looks different than years past, including the holidays, from travel and shopping to traditions and gifting.’ BARE shares an article for RetailMeNot with holiday predictions for Q4.

‘The good news is that people still plan to shop. According to a recent survey RetailMeNot conducted with SurveyMonkey, three out of five consumers are planning to spend the same amount—or more—than last year, and 35% report a willingness to try new brands this holiday season. This yields significant opportunity for retailers. Consumers are striving to create a sense of normalcy during the holidays, so to ensure a successful close to the year, retailers should consider the key themes below. All of these emerged through RetailMeNot’s recent consumer research.

Prediction #1: The shopping season will last longer and start earlier.

Long wait times for shipping, changes to post office operations and out-of-stock notifications have inconvenienced consumers throughout the current public health crisis. Of consumers surveyed, 36% plan to spread purchases out, and 31% plan to shop early to avoid shipping delays or inventory concerns. Additionally, shoppers are looking to make their dollars stretch further, even as they plan to spend the same amount or more than last year.

To sustain engagement and interest over the longer season, retailers should maintain an always-on yet flexible promotional calendar that keeps them top of mind with consumers. Taking a “pulse” approach or using flash sales to drop deep discounts can hook consumers who may be checking for online deals weeks ahead of the holidays—and don’t forget free shipping or other discounts to offset inflated delivery costs when possible.

Prediction #2: It will be harder to cut through the “clutter” due to ongoing health concerns, the election cycle and economic issues.

Increased media activity and political advertising drives up the cost of marketing, which means retailers must be intentional, strategic and proactive about communicating to engaged customers. Promote deals, store hours and safety information and shipping/payment options across multiple channels, and highlight curbside and BOPIS options to meet customers where they are.

“Overcommunication matters so much right now,” says Brendan Witcher, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. “If you’ve got customer testimonials about how [BOPIS and curbside] options have helped them out … overemphasize how you’ve made the world safer for your consumers.”

Retailers and brands can also leverage key partners and events to amplify their message, which will improve cost efficiencies by breaking through the noise more effectively. Consider events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day in early November—we will be promoting the event weeks in advance, giving retailers ample opportunities to deliver impactful messages to customers while helping brands generate early holiday sales.

Prediction #3: Shoppers will find new ways to uphold traditions, which could spike demand in unexpected categories.

Not only will the shopping season be longer and “noisier” in 2020, but it will also take place online more than ever. Over 90% of consumers say they will not shop the traditional in-store doorbuster deals this year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping will occur mostly online as more retailers choose to close on Thanksgiving. Despite forgoing traditional shopping habits because of health and safety concerns, 41% of surveyed consumers said they will go above and beyond to have a “normal” holiday season.

As families look to recreate special moments, such as family dinners or cookie baking, with limited travel and smaller gatherings, expect growth in categories like flowers and food and delivery services. Additionally, as school closures and reopenings continue to shift, back-to-school shopping may occur well into Q4 as parents, teachers and students continue to gear up for in-person and virtual learning.

To sum it up: Consumers are thinking ahead to make the holidays special, and retailers should, too.

Retailers should keep in mind that consumers’ shopping preferences and behaviors are shifting in order to have the best, most normal-feeling holiday season possible. They may shop largely online, choose quieter times to shop in-store, prioritize free shipping and search out BOPIS and curbside options, especially if incentivized with discounts.

Keeping all these considerations in mind, retailers that maintain a feeling of warmth, celebration and tradition while accommodating increased safety and budget concerns will be the strongest players during the end-of-year rush.’


Read the original article in full here.

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Disclaimer of endorsement: Any reference obtained from this article to a specific business, product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by BARE International of the business, product, process, or service, or its producer or provider.