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How the pandemic will impact the biggest retail season of the year and what you can do about it

Both Google and Facebook have commissioned various studies to determine what they think Q4 for retailers and e-commerce clients will look like in a bid to get advertisers Black Friday and Christmas ready. Although sourced differently, and with some variance in numbers, there are a few things that that they both agree on:

The way people shop will change this year and potentially permanently

Facebook’s YouGov sourced study (Christmas Unwrapped, Insight and Planning, July 2020), quoted more than half of UK adults say that they are planning to visit shops less frequently this year. Google goes one step further and quotes 70% based on its search data.

Nevertheless, it’s vital that e-commerce and retail clients think digital-first for sales this year. In a quarter that could be ‘make or break’ for businesses, it is now more important than ever to have a robust digital strategy, search and shopping visibility, and a streamlined conversion process. Something we have been working closely with our clients to achieve ahead of the holiday season – conversion rate optimization here is key in making your website work harder.

Research is starting earlier and the expectation for deals is more prominent than ever

Facebook claims that 41% of people know what they are going to buy by mid-November and Google states that 89% of shoppers research before they make a purchase – making it more important than ever that a digital strategy needs to start earlier every year.

Often, advertisers are late into the game looking to advertise in late November/December trying to hit the Christmas retail season when based on search data, we can see that the research and decision stage is happening a lot earlier than that with people holding out for deals and the lowest prices they can find. 60% of UK adults think they won’t have to pay full price for a product this Christmas (Christmas Unwrapped) and so if advertisers go live too late, they will miss out on the discovery stage and enter a price war instead. At ARM we encourage our clients to use the search and trend data to determine when the right time to go live with Christmas campaigns is.

Don’t underestimate the shift in your target audience behaviour

Google discusses at length in a number of their studies that online has taken a prominent position during the pandemic, but Facebook adds on this by breaking this down by audience (Christmas Unwrapped). Whereby Gen Z and Millennials were always online, the biggest impact on mobile and online shopping has come from Gen X and Boomers. Therefore, it is more important than ever to have up-to-date audience tools, as we use here at ARM, to understand the behaviour and motivations of a target audience so that we can target people at the right time with the right message.

All Response Media viewpoint. 

As discussed throughout this piece, ARM is at the forefront of helping our clients get Christmas ready. However, to summarise the key areas where ARM is focusing its attention;

1) Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) – to get the most out of your website.

2) Planning early to ensure you target people in the decision-making process.

3) Use of current audience trends to understand the impact the pandemic has had on behaviour.

For more information on the digital services we offer, click here.