As the fall approaches, retail businesses are looking toward what is normally the biggest shopping season of the year. But since this year is not normal, we can only assume that this year will not be normal either. If you rely on seasonal shopping to hit your annual revenue targets, you can’t afford to be ill-prepared.
According to research published in eMarketer, 71% of U.S. shoppers expect to do more than half of their holiday shopping online this year. In an annual study by Salesforce published in the same article, 47% of respondents are more likely to do holiday shopping online in 2020 than in 2019. And as we wrote about in our 2019 holiday shopping article, last year already set major online shopping records.
What role will marketing play as we lead up to the 2020 holiday shopping season? Marketing during Coronavirus will be very important, but you will need to adapt your approach. If you try your “typical” campaigns in this not-so-typical time, you will definitely look out of touch…and your revenue will show it. Be prepared with the right strategies and the right ecommerce technology.
The products you promote and the messages you feature in marketing during Coronavirus will say a lot to your customers. Think about how their lives will be impacted this fall and winter season; promote products and use messaging and tactics that will resonate with their lives. If you sell toys, emphasize family games with promotions and language about family nights in. Or, find ways to provide additional value for customers in light of social-distancing protocols, such as subscriptions for products that customers use frequently, to help them limit their trips to retail stores.
For eCommerceCart clients, you can easily feature and promote the inventory that will appeal most to customers during COVID-19. Within the product page admin panel, a simple check box allows you to feature that product on the home page or designate it as a “Hot Deal”. In addition, the descriptions and copy related to each product are easy to change and update; make sure yours are relevant to the current themes and issues. And finally, setting up promotions and discount codes can be done quickly in the admin panel for marketing. Use these options to drive more shoppers to your site…just in time for the holidays!
Both within eCommerceCart and as part of the eMerchantGateway, you can also easily set up subscriptions and payment plans. Utilize these features can create convenience for your customers and build loyalty.
Deliver the Right Message
The tone of your message will be critical this year. At the beginning of the pandemic, the tone of choice was compassion and concern. Of course, there is still great cause for these sentiments, but Americans are also expressing a desire to live as normally as possible. Purchasing products and services gives them a sense of normalcy. A balance in your communication is key. Aim to be:
- Practical and confident – tell customers about new hours, special delivery or curbside pick-up, outdoor seating and other logistics.
- Creative and flexible – communicating innovative ways to use your products and services in this time may spark a demand or increase retention
- Helpful – provide solutions to ease people’s concerns and increase feelings of loyalty
Using email is always a very effective way of delivering these messages; email marketing during Coronavirus can be even more impactful. eCommerceCart clients have several options to email customers within the platform. Check out your purchase and shipping notifications, for example. Maybe it makes sense to update them during this time? Those email templates can be found easily in the marketing section of the admin panel. Also, in that same admin area, be sure to set up the abandoned cart emails. With all of the online shopping, it’s common for customers to wander away from your site to check products and pricing in another online store. Use email, and the right message, to bring them back.
Update Search Marketing
Most likely, you’ve already implemented Search Engine Optimization (SEO) concepts for your website. But in the current environment, have you considered how your potential customers’ search behavior may have changed? It might be time to measure your search performance, reevaluate your keywords, and add more longtail phrases. Writing SEO blogs about your products or industry is a great way to rank for additional keywords and to have additional opportunities to connect with your customers.
If you have eCommerceCart, you have a variety of SEO options on both category pages and product pages, as well as every other site page you create. Update your meta data too! And adding a WordPress blog to our cart is easy. You can start blogging about your products to build out your content (and search results) prior to the upcoming shopping season.
Has your ecommerce platform equipped you for marketing during Coronavirus? Looking to upgrade? We can help. Contact us and we will consult with you to create the best ecommerce solution for your online business.