After the biggest time ever for digital sales of the 2020 holidays, the retail industry continues to change. COVID-19 resulted in logistical difficulties that resulted in delays in deliveries and shortages of products, but the potential unlocking of pent-up demand and people's enthusiasm given by the possibility of spending this year's holidays with friends and family. they are a source of optimism.
In fact, 21% of shoppers in the EMEA region started shopping for the holidays as early as June and over 37% of shoppers say they will start shopping well in advance of last year.
* Source: Google / Ipsos, EMEA (BE, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, IT, NL, NO, RU, SE, UK, ZA), COVID-19 study, 23-26 September 2021
The fact that the shopping period starts earlier each year translates into greater competition for retailers, who must launch their holiday campaigns well in advance to intercept consumer demand and try to stand out from the competition. For insiders, this means having to come up with the right messages to meet customer needs and reevaluate which marketing channels are best to reach them at any point in their holiday shopping journey.
Despite the rise in digital shopping in 2020, last year's holidays were subdued, with shops closed in many countries and people forced to spend the holidays away from loved ones. But now the phase preceding the Christmas holiday period of 2021 offers us a different scenario.
The pandemic continues to impact people's lives and their shopping behaviors, with 37% of consumers in the EMEA region saying they predict COVID-19 will still affect how they shop for this holiday season.
Consumer behaviors are more aware of the stores they buy from. The pandemic has put a strain on smaller businesses, and in response, countless campaigns have been launched globally focused on encouraging people to buy from local stores to save them from closing. This topic has particularly touched people over the past 18 months, with 56% of holiday shoppers in the EMEA region saying they will be buying more from smaller local businesses this year.
Google's mobility trends reveal that visits to brick-and-mortar stores by retailers have returned to pre-pandemic levels in many countries. Furthermore, new Eurostat data shows a considerable increase in European household savings since last year's holidays, which could help unlock demand repressed by the economic crisis. In fact, the financial uncertainties of the past 18 months translate into the fact that 46% of holiday shoppers in the EMEA region say they will focus primarily on discounted items.
The uncertainty for this upcoming holiday shopping period is still high, fueled by aspects such as delivery delays, product shortages and concerns about the possible introduction of new restrictions. This means that it is now more important than ever for businesses to provide a clear and simple experience at all stages of the customer journey.
Furthermore, considering that the holiday shopping period is already underway, it is essential that retailers offer it now by focusing on the following aspects:
- Consistency: Retailers need to ensure consistency on brands and products across their websites, stores and other channels to create a seamless omnichannel experience. More people are using digital channels this time of holiday shopping, but shopping isn't just online. Physical stores continue to add value through convenience, immediacy, in-person experiences and product testing. People increasingly want online, in-store, or even both choices
- Utility: Retailers need to put themselves in their customers' shoes and understand what uncertainties can lead to a missed purchase. For example, if a product is out of stock due to stock shortages, relevant recommendations and alternatives can be provided to satisfy customers.
- Transparency: clear and transparent communication on out of stock or delivery delays establishes a relationship of trust with the customer in question. When people know what to expect, they can make informed decisions.
To find out how to take care of your customers and retain them, rely on E-Business Consulting, a Digital Marketing company active since 2003. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.