University of Maryland Extension

Plan and Promote 2020 Holiday Sales and Activities Now

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers
Christmas Tree Lot, Image by Prostooleh, www.freepik.com


Mastering Markeing - September 2020

Despite months of sales disruptions across every retail category, people are now eager to “get out and do or buy something.” Agritourism activities and events remain popular this year, abet different in activities and protocols. Cashless and online ordering are now the expected forms of purchasing. Holiday shopping for anything from Halloween costumes to Thanksgiving turkeys, and even Christmas gifts, has already begun.

66% OF SHOPPERS PLAN TO INCREASE THEIR ON-LINE HOLIDAY SPENDING THIS YEAR.

eCommerce platforms such as Square Up are already offering holiday planning guides. Counties and regional tourism and economic development offices already have shopping guides posted on their websites.

PLAN NOW TO PIVOT, PUSH THROUGH, OR LET GO OF PRODUCTS OR ACTIVITIES YOU OFFERED IN PREVIOUS YEARS.

WHAT HOLIDAY PROGRAMS AND ITEMS WILL YOU OFFER?

ACTIVITIES: Depends on what “Open Phase” your county or state is experiencing. Retain outside activities as much as possible. For example– walking tours, selfie and Instagram photos, drive-thru decorations tours, and story times.

CROWD MANAGEMENT AND SOCIAL DISTANCING POLICIES

  • Visual cues and signage
  • Additional exit and checkout lanes.
  • Ban outside food, pets, and require social distancing, mask where appropriate.

RETAIL CHECKOUT ENHANCEMENTS

  • Bundling of products
  • Gift baskets
  • Online orders
  • Additional checkouts and exits
  • Cashless checkout
  • In-store shopper-helper

 

SALES ITEMS

  • Gift certificates
  • DIY project kits
  • Taste of place items
  • Decorations
  • Gift baskets
  • Small group celebrations (pre-registration and social distancing)

TUNE-UP YOUR WEBSITE, ECOMMERCE, AND SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

1.)  MAKE VISITING AND SHOPPING ON YOUR WEBSITE AS EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE. Be sure your site is optimized for mobile platforms. Almost 80% of shoppers will be viewing your site on their mobile devices.

  • Check that your site has the SEO tools updated
  • More photos; less verbiage
  • Provide easy “click” shopping or ticketing
  • Provide secure Online Payment options
  • Let the customer know your pick up or delivery options Include hours of operation and contact information in a prominent location

2). ESTABLISH A LINK WITH POSSIBLE CUSTOMERS NOW. During the holidays, consumers are inundated with promotions and sales. It will be tough to grab their attention with your message if they’re not familiar with your farm or the types of products you offer. Build a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with them now rather than waiting to reach out in November. Be a brand advocate now by reaching out through your social media tools to offer:

  • Product discounts
  • BOGO-buy one and get another one free or half price
  • Announcing upcoming holiday discounts or special sales promotions
  • Offering an invite to an exclusive even
  • Conduct a poll for consumer feedback


3). MAKE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA VOICE STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD. What unique messages and content can you build on through the upcoming months through all your social media channels that will help customers find relevancy in your posts, emails, or newsletters?

That voice shouldn’t be about inflated self-promotion, but rather it’s about problem-solving for your customer. Help consumers overcome the stresses of holiday shopping and event planning by providing online shopping opportunities, shopping lists, integrating shopping guides or recipe suggestions, or chat lines for customers to ask questions about your products before purchasing. These types of links can be embedded in your social media posts.

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