Traditionally, this time of year sees retailers gearing up for the festive season, metaphorically making a list and checking it twice. But with announcements from the Government, ushering in new restrictions that signal the end of the first phase of the Covid pandemic and the beginning of a second phase, we could be forgiven for expecting this year’s preparations to be more restrained.
So perhaps now is an appropriate time to take stock of how customers have changed since March, and to apply that learning to the challenges that face us in the last quarter of 2020 and going into the New Year.
In fact, we urge retailers not to be too quick to sacrifice Christmas 2020 as the research tells us that UK businesses have shown signs of bouncing back after the lockdown earlier in the year.
September’s data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that 22% of businesses overall reported turnover increases of between 20% and 50% in the period between the beginning of August and the 6th of September. And surveys undertaken by Springboard after the ‘rule of six’ was announced, showed an increase in high street footfall of 2.4%.
Turning towards Christmas, in a survey conducted by Bazaar Voice, 41% of UK shoppers said their planned Christmas spend is not impacted by Covid 19 and 41% said they prefer bricks and mortar shopping to online. All of which indicates that for UK shoppers, Christmas 2020 is very much not cancelled.
UK businesses should be gearing up to make the most of Christmas 2020, but in the knowledge that the consumers have changed since March, and at Lime we have been tracking research since lockdown began and running our own online survey to shed more light on these changes.
Here are our 3 top tips to improve your marketing for Christmas 2020, based on that insight.
Put Family First!
Restrictions preventing mixing with extended families and friends, are likely to impact on who Christmas shoppers buy for. In the Bazaar Voice survey, shoppers said that their spending will be targeted at children – 56%; partners or spouses – 55%; and parents – 49%.
We predict that products and services that are particularly tailored to these immediate family groups, and are designed to put a smile on their face this Christmas, will be the ones to sell well.
So, make the most of your online experience and content, mailshots, social media and physical outlets to help shoppers put their nearest and dearest at the heart of the festivities.
Be Open for Business on All Channels
There’s no doubting the fact that lockdown has increased UK shopper’s confidence in using online channels – we’re all that much savvier with our searches!
A recent study in Harvard Business Review found that almost three quarters of shoppers used multiple online channels, including social media and competitor websites, and that there’s a correlation – the more channels shoppers use, the higher the value of spend.
So don’t think you’ve cracked it by having your website in place; the winners will be those who think more broadly and who think omnichannel. We know there are still shoppers who want the bricks and mortar experience and many will traverse all channels to find the perfect gift at the perfect price: browsing on their phone, ordering via their laptop, going in-store to collect.
A seamless, joined-up, reliable and enjoyable retail experience is crucial to engaging the switched on shopper.
The New Normal is the New Local
When was the last time you had to drive a long distance for a meeting or an event? Our physical worlds are shrinking in so many ways, and shopping is no exception. Working from home, social distancing and lockdown have all made UK shoppers more locally-focused.
In Lime’s own lockdown survey, 54% of respondents said they always look for a local supplier in their area, yet almost a quarter also said they hadn’t seen or received communication from local companies.
So our third tip is a spin on an old adage – ‘think local, and act local!’ Whether you’re blue chip with multiple outlets or a small, niche retailer, make sure all of your channels stress that you can respond to local needs and that you’re on the customer’s doorstep.
And as one final festive thought, please remember that, like a puppy, a savvy shopper isn’t just for Christmas. Getting the experience right during the festive season when it means so much to customers, will certainly encourage them to come back again and again in 2021 and help to build a stronger and happier New Year.
Lime’s Insight team can help you to understand in detail how your customers are changing, and how your offer and marketing should adapt to meet their new behaviours and expectations. For more information about our Insight services, our own lockdown survey or to discuss how Lime can help you to elevate your customer experience both on and off-line, please contact our Insight & Strategy Director, Jo Garner, on 07590 881772 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.