Insights November 18, 2020

When Christmas shopping goes virtual – some tips for independent businesses

Living Word
By Living Word

Christmas is just around the corner, and so is the omnipresent hunt for the perfect gifts. But as this year has been more than a bit of a roller coaster – not least to small, independent businesses – the need to support small, local businesses when Christmas shopping has been widely touted. But what can small businesses do to attract more customers, and what advertising strategies might work?

A recent report from eBay Advertising shared some interesting insight into this year’s Christmas spending activities. While many UK shoppers are planning to start their Christmas shopping earlier than last year, there’s also a growing focus on buying gifts that loved ones can use for new hobbies discovered during lockdown. Harmony Murphy, Head of UK Advertising Sales at eBay UK, said: “This year’s Christmas will be an incredibly important retail milestone. […] With so much having changed this year – from plans and priorities to interests and incomes – brands now face a huge challenge as they look to make their Christmas campaigns relevant to a transformed consumer. If they haven’t already, marketers must start planning and putting Christmas strategies into action – and use the freshest insights and smartest technology to reach the right people with the most meaningful messages.”

Engage, engage and… engage

As consumers are expected to shop early this year, small businesses should also start to engage with them earlier. Prioritising brand awareness and recognising the importance of this year’s festivities in your communications can be a real advantage. Since many people have reconsidered their priorities during the pandemic, we can assume that gifts will also most likely shift from materialistic to meaningful. From a brand communication and advertising stance, this means that small businesses should take a more personalised approach: tap into tradition, make advertising thoughtful and communicate in a familiar, comfortable way to offer comfort after a crazy year.

Looking beyond trends

As already mentioned, small businesses should keep in mind that budgets are likely to be tight this Christmas. Demonstrating good value for money, while looking beyond fashion and trends, could therefore be a good idea. Another key takeaway from the eBay study is that consumers want brands to be informative and in touch with reality this year. From an advertising perspective, this means that campaigns should be ramped up. Being visible and empathetic – while being consistent with your brand personality, of course – builds trust and ensures high brand recall, which will ultimately maximise sales.

Last but not least, let’s not forget that online shopping is the new normal. That’s why small businesses can’t do without investing in compelling e-commerce platforms, multi-channel advertising, online and social media advertising, as well as translation, transcreation and localisation services for their online presence to make their offerings more personal and locally relevant this festive season.