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Get your local business ready for the holiday shopping season

November 10, 2020

Updated: 11/18/2022

The holiday season seems to have already started this year with a reported 50% of shoppers planning to shop early this holiday season, out of fear of more impending shut downs, a winter spike in virus cases, and travel limitations. So, for local retailers and small business owners who may be trying to play catch up and prepare for what is sure to be a holiday shopping season unlike any other, we have 5 easy steps to implement for your digital marketing strategy, along with fresh statistics via Think with Google:

1. Maximize your local presence.

This means claiming and activating your company’s Google My Business profile.  This prominent, free business listing is a sure-fire way to not only start showing up better in Google searches, but to also capitalize on the local actions consumers are seeking when they find your listing – driving directions, your hours of operation, events and specials, reviews, photos, videos, and more. And due to Covid-19, a recent Google study shows that 66% of shoppers are expected to spend more with their local small businesses this year than in the past.

2. Sell your brand’s story; not on price.

A reported 34% of shoppers recently said that in 2020, they would pay more for their favorite local products, if it meant that their local establishments could sustain the pandemic and keep their doors open. This is a the perfect opportunity to:

    • NOT have a sale, but instead to showcase your inventory, highlight your team of local employees whom your customers have surely missed.

    • Create smaller-scale customer events for social distancing, and really hone in on what it is your brand does differently.

    • Then take all of that holiday cheer and share the story with your online community via video—perfect for your website, YouTube, Google My Business and other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and the increasingly popular, TikTok.

3. Monitor, evaluate, implement customer feedback.

Going into holiday 2020, a Google survey reported that 47% of shoppers said they would prefer to buy online, while picking up in-store or curbside.

  • This was a new trend for 2020 that has really changed the way we shop for just about anything these days—from groceries to oil changes; carryout to dog food. Keep an eye on your Google and Facebook reviews and comments to ensure you have the voice of your customer in mind, and demonstrate that you are in fact listening by thanking them and responding. If it’s negative, quickly respond and take it offline.

  • In addition, be sure you’re considering all of the data you have access to, including your website and online presence. You can view real-time goals for your business’s website via your free Google Analytics account to make sure you’re keeping an eye on conversions, and all of the important steps towards conversion—your reach, frequency, brand lift, website visitors, bounce rate, pages viewed, time on site and more.

4. Embrace ‘The Google’!

75% of shoppers have used a Google product while shopping in the last week, and 89% of all shoppers have done research online prior to making an in-store purchase for the holiday season, according to the 2020 Google Retailer Guide. So, that means you have to make every search count by showing up prominently for your next customer. With options for search marketing via Google Ads, Shopping Ads, Google My Business, Maps, and organic listings, there is no shortage of ways to ensure your brand’s name is visible and in front of your targeted audience.

5. Use multiple digital channels.

There is no silver bullet to advertising. No single digital tactic will solve all of your business woes or sky-rocket your sales volume to the moon. However, by using a diversified digital mix of tactics, your brand will receive more visibility among your targeted audience, across more channels and platforms.

  • Per Think with Google, 78% of shoppers using more than three digital channels to shop within a two day period.

So, make sure you aren’t playing favorites too heavily with one digital channel. You really need to focus on engaging with your customers before, during and after their shopping experience, as well as across multiple areas, to ensure the best customer engagement, brand loyalty and sales retention.

Heather Morris is a Senior Digital Brand Strategist for 2060 Digital, a division of Hubbard Cincinnati. Email her or call her at 513.699.5045—she’ll help you make a list and check it twice to optimize your digital presence this holiday season.


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