I know, it’s July and the idea of shopping for the winter holidays is a gruesome thought. I mean, we haven’t even made it through the summer yet!

That being said, the reality is that people are starting to shop…or at the very least are starting their gift lists. As I type this, Amazon is running it’s Prime deals. Pinterest is asking their pinners to start posting holiday pins and merchants are starting to think about their promotions for Black Friday and beyond. Clients of ours are even starting to focus on their branded merchandise to create holiday gift packages.

Holiday 2023 – Two Years Post Covid

The big question that everyone is asking is what will this holiday season look like in comparison to those of last year? Last year was the first year where we had some relaxed restrictions throughout the country, people were dying to get back into stores. This year will be the first year where people are restriction free…will they shop online or in person?

My prediction? It will be a 50/50 split.

Shopping online concept - Shopping service on The online web. with payment by credit card and offers home delivery. parcel or Paper cartons with a shopping cart logo on a laptop keyboard. Holiday online shopping

Those that embraced online shopping will do the majority of their shopping online. And they will shop EARLY.

Because those that truly embraced online shopping, really haven’t stopped.

My sister still gets her groceries delivered. My friends will still have a group order for coffee delivered randomly throughout the week. I still place an order at Target and do the pickup…or shipping if it’s easier even though I have two within five miles of my house. Online shopping is here for the long run and your job as a retailer is to attract customers to boost your sales.

The other 50%? They are going to the stores.

They love the touch and feel of an item or they are purchasing something above $250. Why $250? I really have no idea, but a wise business man by the name of Matt Kinsella once told me that if he was selling any service or item over $250 that he was more likely to close the deal when he was speaking to someone. And I have found that in the past 7 years since him telling me that, that he was correct.

People want to connect with others. During the holidays our generosity of spirit is cultivated and people tend to be a bit kinder. As retailers we can cultivate community online or in person. We can help to foster this spirit not only during the holidays but year round.

A man and woman outside of a store looking through a window by Christmas trees for holiday shopping

The Community Experience

So the real question here is – how can business owners ensure that their location (online or in person) is a destination for the holidays?

Start now.

Seriously. Today.

Bring your current customers back to your business on a consistent basis. Make sure that you are always top of mind and that you have excellent gifts for now and the upcoming holidays.

Ideas for Customer Outreach:

  • Loyalty programs that send text and/or emails to current and new customers
  • Trunk shows at your physical location
  • Events/Classes at your physical location
  • Online live events – highlighting products or teaching something
  • Email blasts with educational information for targeted segments of your email lists
  • Email blasts that focus on products
  • Social media posts that highlight products or services
  • Social media posts that focus on getting ready for the holidays
A dad and his son outside of a Christmas tree farm with shopping bags in the snow. Holiday shopping

Your Holiday Key to Success

Each business is unique and requires a different strategy to be successful for the holidays. There is ONE thing however, that will dictate how successful a business is during the holiday season – their year round marketing, or lack there of.

The holidays are amazing, but getting out on Google or Social Media and spending a ton of money during the months of November and December may seem like a golden opportunity, but it’s also when competition is the highest. Everyone and their brother are running ads, and if it’s an election year, you can forget your ads from getting major traction if you don’t spend an insane amount of money during the holidays.

In order to avoid this spending, you can start your social media/email/text outreach now (if not sooner) and capitalize on ads at a lower cost. You can also build an organic following and engaged client base when you reach out to your customers consistently in a variety of ways.

Your life is busy, your customers lives are just as busy. We all forget our favorite retailers until we get a little nudge from them.

How will you cultivate a community now to ensure your success for the holidays? Comment below and as always, reach out if you have a question! We love to share our knowledge and learn from retailer’s wins and challenges.

Until next time, cheers my friends. A