Undoubtedly, the 2020 holiday season promises to be unique for businesses and retailers all around the country. Thanks to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, retailers have already had to shift many of their business practices to more of an online format. Now, with the holiday season fast approaching, retailers’ online shopping capabilities, social media and more are more vital than ever.
So how do you, as a small business owner, get creative with your business to ensure a successful 2020 holiday season despite the challenges?
The base for everything you do in the digital space, whether it be email marketing, social media marketing or paid advertising, starts with your online store. If you do not have one already, setting up a virtual storefront needs to be step number one, so your customers can still browse and shop from the comfort of their own homes.
Allowing your customers to shop from home isn’t the only reason to set up a digital storefront — it’s also a prerequisite to utilizing social media selling tools properly. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer retailers of all sizes great, easy to integrate tools to promote (and even sell) your products right on their platforms. But without a storefront, these tools are impossible to utilize.
Whether your company should or shouldn’t be utilizing social media and email marketing isn’t a question (spoiler alert: you definitely should be). But how you utilize social media and email marketing in times of uncertainty can change, depending on your target demographic.
Over 99% of consumers open their email at least once every day, according to popular marketing platform HubSpot. But even more than just adding exposure to your business, email allows you to present important information and additional purchase opportunities directly in your target market’s inbox.
From a social media standpoint, the uses are similar to that of your email marketing campaign — utilizing it to present alternative purchasing options, explain delivery/curbside services or present exclusive deals and coupons. However, social media also gives your company the opportunity to be a part of the community in supporting other local businesses, interacting with local community members and sharing important, localized information.
By setting up an online store using popular retail platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, you can easily integrate your online storefront into the aforementioned social media selling tools — such as “Facebook Shop.”
By integrating into the “Shop” tab of your Facebook business page, you can promote products — with images, detailed descriptions and pricing — right in your social posts. Furthermore, if you connect your payment processing to the platform, such as Square or Stripe, you can take payments right on the platform — essentially creating a secondary storefront for customers to shop without ever having to leave Facebook, let alone their home.
Instagram has created and made available some incredible tools for retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the way retailers and businesses are able to position their posts for not only optimal exposure, but in-platform shopping, as well.
One of the biggest challenges facing retailers is the existing inventory they’re currently holding — and how to move it without taking a loss. One way businesses can get creative is by utilizing their existing inventory to offer new, “experiential” product offerings, such as bundles or kits.
By bundling together a handful of similar items — to create a “project bundle,” for example — you are not only utilizing existing inventory sitting on the shelf, you are also creating an experiential item that families or friends can buy and take part in together. Bundling products is also a great way to advertise specific products that many customers might not initially think of using together, making it not only an experience, but an educational one, as well.
Presenting your customers with alternative ways to receive the items they purchase from your business is just one of the many ways you can expand your service offerings. Many businesses have chosen to begin offering curbside shopping and contactless delivery services to their customers at little to no charge.
By offering curbside service — allowing your customers to order ahead via phone or website and delivering the items to their car upon arrival — you are allowing those who consider themselves to be most vulnerable an opportunity to continue shopping your selections without skipping a beat. And by adding in potential delivery services, your business can make it possible for them to shop without ever leaving the safety of their homes.
At SmartSolutions, our team can help assess your company’s marketing strategies and efforts and help you create a plan for your digital marketing channels.
Every company has a story — and at SmartSolutions, we’re passionate about helping you tell that story.