Holiday Shopping Season 2021 is Here

The official kick off for the holiday shopping season has arrived. How is your business preparing? As international supply shortages continue to create inventory problems, consumers are heading out and getting their shopping started early.  

The 2020 holiday season was different for many reasons. Most notably was the increase in online shopping due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, online holiday revenue grew by 32% year-over-year and exceeded $188.2 billion for the first time. Cyber Monday stretched an entire week, and online deals were consistent from October through December.

This year, the online boom is expected to stick around. However, the star of the shopping season in 2021 is sure to be convenience. From BOPIS to new payment options, giving your customers options when it comes to seasonal shopping is sure to set you apart from competitors.

As your business gears up for the busy season, we’re outlining a few trends to look out for, and how to capitalize on them. And don’t forget to keep up with Beyond to get the inside scoop on all things small business this season.  

More Convenient Shopping Experiences

The biggest trend this holiday season is convenience—customers demand options when it comes to shopping and dining. Whether that’s in-store shopping, online ordering, buy online pick up in-store, or delivery, your business needs to provide your customers with convenient shopping experiences. Last year, due to health and safety concerns, BOPIS and curbside pick-up were popular shopping methods. The National Retail Federation found that BOPIS improved the customer experience for 70% of surveyed consumers by increasing convenience. This year, even with lockdowns lifted, BOPIS likely won’t decrease in popularity. In fact, it’s estimated that BOPIS will increase by 10 percent this season. Make sure you’re ready to give your customers choices when it comes to shopping, paying, and more.

Shoppers Are Starting Early

Thanks to supply chain bottlenecks, businesses across America are experiencing major inventory delays and problems. Knowing this, consumers have kicked off holiday shopping earlier than ever—68 percent of shoppers plan to begin before Thanksgiving. As products slowly inch their way around the globe, make sure your business is prepared for inventory delays. Consider offering customers who shop early a discount code valid only in December, to encourage shopping later as your inventory increases throughout the season. Another option for combatting inventory delays is to offer gift cards. Gift cards are a great way to give your customers options for gifting products that are not yet in stock.

It’s Time to Get Social

Last season, 45% of people discovered a gift on social media. Increase your customer base this holiday season by getting social—if your business isn’t on social media yet, join today. Social media is arguably the easiest way to get your message out there, and better yet, it’s free. From Facebook to Instagram, you can leverage multiple platforms to share your business’s story, promotions, and engage with new and old customers.

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