Holiday shopping looks different this year. That may be good news for the small businesses that have creatively and successfully pivoted to meet changing consumer behaviors.
Here are three trends we’ll be seeing this holiday shopping season:
Digital payments will continue to thrive. Much of our lives have been spent online this year, and holiday shopping will be no different. Curbside and same-day pickup, local delivery and contactless transactions will continue to grow, underscoring the importance of retailers having a fully integrated payments and inventory ecosystem. As Shopify’s Arpan Podduturi put it: “There is a permanent shift toward e-commerce and omnichannel for every retailer.”
Shopping gets a personal touch. Smaller retailers will offer curated gift bundles, virtual shopping through FaceTime and social media, and private shopping appointments. Many families are keeping their distance and avoiding larger holiday gatherings. As a result, we will see a greater emphasis on customized gifts this year.
In-store shopping will prioritize safety. No more jam-packed store aisles for the latest deals. Sales and promotions will likely be available online and for longer periods of time. Rather than a heavy focus on singular deal days or weekends like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, retailers will instead opt to spread out their sales across the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. In addition to expanded sales, stores’ hours will also grow. To adhere to strict protocols on social distancing, and to incentivize shoppers to safely visit in-person, retailers will change their hours in order to space out customer visits and provide more opportunities for off-peak hours.
Here’s to a happy (and safely distanced or masked-up) holiday shopping season!