The weekend after Thanksgiving has long been synonymous with holiday shopping. Consumers go out en masse to find the best deals on their favorite products. And whether it’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Museum Store Sunday, or Cyber Monday — most retail businesses participate in this big shopping weekend.
It’s no surprise that this year will be different due to the pandemic. While holiday shopping is still projected to be robust, we won’t see large crowds on this traditionally busy weekend. Here, we’re sharing what you can expect instead.
Holiday promotions will last longer
Instead of offering the best deals on a single day or weekend, experts are seeing retail businesses opt for promotions that cover a longer period of time. This means many retailers will start offering buying incentives now.
Small Business Saturday, an initiative developed by American Express in 2010 to promote local shopping, will technically fall on November 28. But this year, those who support local businesses are urged to “shop small all season long” instead of focusing on a particular day. Independent retailers can echo this messaging throughout the season, rather than doubling down on a single Saturday.
Retailers will get creative managing in-store traffic
Waiting in line to enter businesses will become less appealing as the weather gets colder. There are a few creative ways to avoid having crowds and lines in-store.
Curbside pickup has been one of the most popular tactics for retailers during the pandemic. About 64% of Faire retailers report using this strategy, which keeps sales flowing without having too many customers in-store. Curbside pickup will remain popular through the holidays.
Another popular option is shopping by appointment. Roughly 40% of Faire retailers report using appointments in their retail strategy. Based on the size of the shop, appointments can allow a small number of customers to enter at an arranged time. This not only reduces crowding but makes customers feel like they’re receiving a personalized, white glove experience. Retailers who are seeing high demand for appointments may even consider offering a lottery system for desirable time slots.
Consumers will seek online options
More than 50% of Faire retailers have improved their online shopping experience for this holiday season. And they have the right idea — one third of U.S. consumers are expected to do their holiday shopping online this year. Retailers who have e-commerce options will be able to meet their customers where they are.
Further, we can expect to see more retailers connecting their e-commerce and in-person experiences. For example, retailers can direct shoppers to their websites via QR codes in their shop windows. We’ll also see the continued popularity of BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) strategies. Plus, we’re seeing that 65% of Faire retailers are doubling down on social media marketing this holiday to drive traffic.