Six Holiday 2020 Preparation Tips for Retailers

This holiday season is going to look a little different than last year. The world has changed at an unprecedented rate, affecting consumer behaviors, revenue generation, and supply chain efficiency. 

To make the most of this typically high-traffic sales season, retailers will have to be innovative and insightful. Here are six holiday preparation tips for retailers in 2020. 

Streamline the Shopping Experience

Efficiency is going to be everything in 2020. Retailers will have to give careful thought and planning to their customer flow throughout a physical location. Many consumers have indicated that they aren’t comfortable heading to a brick and mortar store for Black Friday or their usual shopping experience. Those who are comfortable won’t want to spend more time waiting in line to get in.

Retailers can encourage people to come in by streamlining the shopping experience. Consider offering shopping appointments so that customers can book their time in advance and won’t have to wait in line. Add touchless shopping elements, such as barcode recording and self-checkouts. 

Highlighting these changes and opportunities will encourage shoppers to head into the store rather than shopping online.

Start Holiday Marketing Early

With supply chain delays and concerns about late deliveries, shoppers are getting ahead of the holidays by starting early. That means retailers must also start their holiday marketing campaigns early to stand out from the competition.

Consider using early holiday marketing as a loyalist program, rewarding loyal and retained customers with early bird specials. This approach ties into another 2020 consumer trend, in which customers are more selective about their income and choosing to shop with tried and true stores and brands.

Adapt to New Consumer Behaviors

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered consumer behaviors. With mass layoffs and unprecedented lockdowns, consumers are coming into this holiday season with different priorities. 

One of the overarching issues to be aware of is the new at-home culture. More people are working from home and staying home, without the usual draw of a large holiday celebration. The evolution of the at-home culture has created new interests, meaning new sales opportunities and challenges. For example, more consumers are tapping into creative hobbies and looking for things like baking tools and jewelry supplies, creating a unique opportunity for merchandisers. 

Retailers that traditionally focused on entertaining and parties in their holiday marketing will need to change tack. Creating displays and marketing materials surrounding new traditions and at-home experiences will resonate on a deeper level this year.

Upgrade Your Website

It’s expected that online holiday shopping will grow at an exponential rate this year, shattering the linear growth of the past decade. Retailers that have neglected their website in the past need to make a change to survive. 

Work with a consultant to evaluate your current website for any friction or potential bottlenecks that could cause a massive loss in potential revenue. A skilled IT consultant will be able to identify if more bandwidth is needed and where customers are leaving you for the competition during the shopping experience.

This overall evaluation is also the prime time to incorporate AI-driven email campaigns that retarget customers and send funnel stage-appropriate marketing materials. 

Clarify Your Return Policies

Returns are a common side effect of the holiday shopping experience, with stores being inundated with returns during the weeks following the holidays. Many stores and regions have banned returns entirely. Others are accepting some items (such as electronics) and not others (clothing, for example).

Make your return policies a clear part of your holiday messaging. It should be apparent on your website, throughout your store, and spoken at checkout. 

Prioritize Value

Finally, retailers will have to work harder than ever to earn a consumer’s disposable income. The pandemic has created a paradigm shift in how people spend their money. Value is more important now than ever. Retailers will have to showcase value beyond cutting prices and prove to consumers that their purchase is well worth the investment. 

It’s hard to say which holiday 2020 shopping trends will pass and which are here to stay. By adapting and creating contingency plans, retailers can prepare themselves for the 2020 holiday season and beyond.









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