The 2021 holiday sales season will give businesses a chance to continue their online migration from 2020 trends, with opportunities for more refinement and improvements. The key is to bring as much as possible online and integrate all of your customer touch points into an omnichannel of positive experiences.
Let’s take a look at some trends in retail that we can apply to many other industries. These trends will strengthen our businesses and position us well for the future.
Strong E-Commerce Presence
As people increased online shopping and delivery last year, the trend is expected to continue beyond the pandemic. For this reason, all businesses should strengthen their online presence, especially their e-commerce presence.
Many retail establishments benefit from a complete ecommerce solution, including a storefront, shopping cart, online payment process, and automated fulfillment. They can expand their online effectiveness with these features:
- Enable chat features between customers and store clerks to simulate the conversation the customer might experience in the physical store
- For clothing, post detailed sizing charts, imitate the dressing room mirror with try-on automation, and use photos of models in all shapes and sizes
- Create how-to videos to show customers ways to effectively use the product
- Expand photography so customers can see all angles of the product as well as how it can be used
- Display and sort user reviews to help customers decide
- Implement clear navigation and search options so customers can find what they want. Today, many customers research online, then visit the physical location to finalize their transaction.
Expanding your business’s e-commerce presence doesn’t just apply to retail. For example, businesses in the services space have implemented appointment-setting and payment processing. Real estate agents have enhanced virtual home tours. Many businesses with physical goods and documents have beefed up delivery options and implemented curbside pickup.
Each business has a unique sales cycle that a customer goes through when purchasing goods and services. The question for business owners to ask is how they can bring most of that experience online.
The vast majority of transactions are now occurring on mobile devices. If your business’s mobile presence is not optimal, then you’ll want to make that a priority this year to catch up with your competitors.
More and more consumers are using social media channels – Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Clubhouse, and Facebook — to discover and purchase items that delight them. Wise business owners will invest more budget into attracting customers from this channel.
With the move to online shopping, the holiday season has been extended from just one day or one weekend to entire months. Consumers are shopping earlier and all year long. Retailers and other businesses can benefit by always having some kind of sale or attraction going on. Here are the key holidays for the fourth quarter:
- Columbus Day
- Halloween, the second most profitable holiday (Christmas is first)
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Black Friday
- Small Business Saturday
- Cyber Monday
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
- New Year’s Eve
How does your business fare when it comes to a fully online experience? Use these trends to boost sales growth in 2021 and beyond.