According to the latest reports, the U.S. economy is expected to gradually begin reopening within the coming months. While this is great news to many businesses around the nation, the truth of the matter remains that the repercussions of the pandemic still continue to be far reaching. Those beginning preparations for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season are currently faced with the cold, hard truth that the nation’s biggest time of year for retail sales is most likely going to be hit with a bit of turbulence.
According to the latest reports from Bloomberg, retail sales in “hard-hit discretionary categories” are expected to see a fall of between 5% and 10% compared to last year. Naturally, this decline is also anticipated to be felt by industries all over. However, we’re not here to project fear – we’re here to provide you with solutions. If you’re interested in learning the steps you can take to proactively prepare your company, then this article is just for you.
Reasons behind the less than desirable post-COVID 2020 holiday season projections
There are numerous reasons behind the projected decline in holiday sales. The tremendous impact of COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our society. However, there are four main reasons which companies need to understand in order to get a better grasp on how to effectively respond to the aftermath of the pandemic.
In April of this year, the LA Times reported that the unemployment rate hit an astounding 14.7%. That adds up to a whopping 20.5 million jobs lost – the highest in history since the 1940s. What’s even more interesting is that up until this point, the United States had been seeing “record economic expansion” and the “lowest unemployment in half a century”. While the job market will continue to slowly recover as the economy begins to reopen, the truth of the matter is that unemployment will continue to remain high throughout the remainder of the year.
2. Consumer Psychology
Consumer psychology encompasses the emotions, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs of the average consumer. The truth of the matter is that right now, the consumer population at large is skeptical – to say the least. Moral is low and people are naturally in a savings mindset and not looking to overspend. This will naturally boost the savings rate. When the future of the economy is uncertain, people simply aren’t looking to spend unnecessarily.
3. Risk of a second outbreak
Another factor influencing the projected downturn in holiday seals is the possibility of a future outbreak. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, CDC Director Robert Redfield warned of a second, potentially worse outbreak in the winter months saying, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time”. This fear will undoubtedly cause the public to continue to want to avoid crowded locations and retailers to continue to face the hassle of taking extensive precautionary measures to meet social distancing standards, including adjusting capacity limits. Naturally, brick-and-mortar stores will be most impacted by this.
4. Weakened supply chains
There’s no denying the fact that the pandemic has exposed some glaring vulnerabilities in our global supply chains which have been hit immensely hard during this time. Many manufacturing experts saying that supply chains must get shorter in order to begin to grow stronger. As the Washington Post so succinctly put it, “Supply chains are like the plumbing of an economy: We don’t notice them except when they break, and when they do, it rapidly becomes catastrophic." As a result, many are naturally questioning whether or not chains will be able to recover in time for the holiday season.
Strategizing for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season
However, as we mentioned earlier, we’re not here simply just to spread doom and gloom. The pandemic continues to have a serious and palpable effect on businesses across the globe, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. With proper preparation and focus, you can take steps in order to ensure that you set your company up for success in the coming months. Don’t wait until the holiday rush gets here – start working out your post-COVID 2020 holiday season sales strategy now. Here are a few elements to focus on in order to ensure your business stand out in the crowd.
The e-commerce industry is facing a number of challenges due to the pandemic, including an increasing demand for online shopping. There’s no better time than now to get your online store up in running or in tip-top shape. If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started, Visioneer offers the tools to help you get your online store started off on the right foot in a few simple clicks. We offer easy-to-design, no coding websites which can give you the freedom to create, design and manage your online business in a jiff.
Customer Communications Hub
Now more than ever it’s important to ensure that you are providing above and beyond service to your customers. Customer communications hubs help streamline and organize your processes. Tools such as ours allow you to easily send email invites for meeting requests through both GoogleMeet and Zoom. You can also use platforms such as email or SMS to conveniently communicate with your customers securely. But that’s not all – we also offer customizable templates to help make the process quick and easy.
Reputation & Reviews
Did you know that 87% of consumers shop around for comparisons for every purchase they make? Even more interesting is the fact that 75% of companies say that their “online reviews, comments, and forum posts are important to the financial and reputational status of their business”. Point blank -- your company’s reputation is everything -- especially during times like these. Take steps to improve your reputation and garner great reviews so that your business stands out among the competition. With tools such as ours, you can quickly improve how your business looks online by monitoring and managing online reviews, as well as responding quickly to customer comments and concerns.
Online Presence & SEO
When customers are searching for businesses in your category, do you show up? Implementing SEO best practices is an essential way to boost your online presence and get you in front of the customers who need you the most. With tools such as ours, you can manage how your business shows up on numerous platforms. You can also keep your business hours, addressed and available services up-to-date and in-sync on important social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (to name a few). Furthermore, our company is currently offering a limited-time free version of our Listing Distribution & Listing Sync Pro to help your customers stay in the loop.
Social Media Management
The increasing demand for online shopping during the pandemic means that now more than ever you’re going to need to bring your A-game when it comes to social media. There are numerous tools on the market which can assist with this including ours. Communicate messages that matter with your community and customers. Post on Facebook and Google My Business instantly or choose the option to schedule. To make posting easier, we offer a variety of post templates that can easily be edited and published. Plus, you also get robust reporting to help you monitor the reach and engagement of your content across all networks.
Did you know that the average ROI for every single dollar that you spend on email marketing is a whopping $42? In 2019, it was estimated that there were over 3.9 billion email users and that number is expected to jump to an astounding 4.3 billion by 2023. Email marketing is still an essential component for anyone looking to create a successful digital marketing strategy. Now is the time to make sure your email communications are operating smoothly and effectively. With tools such as ours, you can send beautiful automated email campaigns and gain access to customizable templates, design professionals and mobile-responsive emails that look great on any device. Check out Constant Contact for a free 60-day trial today.
If you aren’t using automated analytics, then you may as well be living in the dark. Analytics help provide powerful insights into your company allowing you to make better informed strategic decisions. Tools such as ours can help you understand how your business is performing online by providing you with easy to understand, automated analytics insights sent directly to your inbox on a weekly basis.
There’s no denying the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the U.S. economy; and the full effects have yet to be realized. While current projections for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season are bleaker than usual, that doesn’t mean that the situation is out of your hands. Use this time to be proactive and take the necessary measures to prepare yourself and your company. By staying informed and educated, you can effectively keep yourself one step ahead of the game.
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