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Business owners have always been concerned about the holiday season because successful marketing in preparation for the holidays means increased sales. 
However, the pandemic of 2020 changed and has many business owners to grow weary of the future when it comes to selling their products. 
During the pandemic’s peak, it seemed like businesses of all sizes were closing overnight, and even as the pandemic eased, the lasting effects were already prevalent. 
It was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that as of June 2021, 6.2 million people are either not working at all or working fewer hours due to their employers having gone out of business or have had less business. While these figures have decreased over time, they still indicate a significant challenge that businesses today face.
Mass unemployment, businesses struggling to achieve the same sales they had before the pandemic, and a general feeling of disenchantment have made the return to normalcy feel like a slow crawl. That being said, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you choose to look for it, and the holiday season could provide that light. 

1. User Experience Matters

In anticipation of the holiday season, business owners must understand the value of online shopping. However, one important factor to consider when preparing to make new online sales is that the user’s experience will determine how many sales are made. 

In 2022, the consumers who represent the most buying power are millennials and, in increasing capacity, Gen Z. While these different generations of consumers are known for being tech-savvy, their attention spans are not known for. 

According to Smart Insights, 80% of online shoppers can be deterred by something as simple as an inconvenient return policy. So while having an online market for your customers is important, it is perhaps more important that this online platform is accessible so that your customers don’t get frustrated and decide to shop elsewhere. 

2. Online Shopping Will Continue To Rise

Online shopping has been a prominent fixture of retail sales in the U.S. Still, and a global pandemic made it so that in-person shopping was physically impossible, causing even the most fervent supporters to see the value in shopping online. Now, the landscape for retail has undergone some notable changes.

The average consumer lacks certainty in the marketplace because while the pandemic has abated, it has also continued to send shockwaves throughout the country and world. In 2023, it is anticipated that retail purchases will rise from approximately 14.1% to 22%, and this trend shows no signs of stopping. With no end in sight, business owners must embrace the change. Embracing change may seem more involved than it is, but in this case, much of it will look like keeping your virtual shelves stocked so that your customers are never left wanting. 

3. Shopping Is Starting Earlier

Online holiday shopping started earlier and earlier because of the general rise in online shopping. Brands have discovered that if customers are so willing to shop online, especially around the holidays, then they would be wise to begin promoting their holiday sales even earlier than they ordinarily would.

Doing so gives consumers the option to plan ahead of the holiday craziness. This in turn will provide customers a sense of security as they begin loading their carts early in anticipation of the oncoming sales.

Starting holiday promotions earlier would also allow you to extend the lifespan of your holiday campaign, increasing sales and diminishing customer shopping fatigue.

Another way to think about this is that if customers are already spending so much time online, you might as well allow them to begin shopping as early as they would like.

4. Product Reviews Matter

One interesting feature of e-commerce is that recent studies have shown how online shoppers will base their decision on the reviews that they see.

You may be wondering why this is, and the matter is that customer reviews allow customers to have a sense of security before buying a product. Consumers trust other consumers due largely to the fact that they have less of a reason to be duplicitous.

By reading what other customers have experienced, online shoppers can be reassured in their choice to spend their hard-earned money on a product. This could mean spending more time on your website’s appearance to make sure your customer reviews are apparent and abundant. Make sure to be transparent in your reviews to increase your demographic’s loyalty to your brand.

5. Shopping Is Still Happening In Store

One of the biggest trends that business owners saw in 2020 and 2021 was the move to online shopping. With the mass closure of businesses across the country, employers quickly learned that they would have to capitalize on any possible opportunities to survive in this new world. 

That is where the virtual space comes into play. The businesses that were able to transition to online retail showed that they were able to survive under tough conditions. While consumers were already well-acquainted with online shopping, the pandemic acted as the final nail in the coffin.

However, now that the world is two years into the pandemic, new trends have emerged. In-person shopping has shown to be on the rise, partially because people seek a return to normalcy. E-commerce is still rising, with approximately 54% of U.S. consumers prefer online shopping. However, the proper solution would be to ensure that your business can handle both in-person and online sales, as it will ensure that your business is tackling both essential retail spaces.

Take Action

Being the owner of a business means embracing change and constantly assessing the areas in which your business may be underperforming. More work can always be done, but keeping an eye out for these little steps forward matters.

So in anticipation of the holiday season and the hope of an abundance of holiday sales, tackling this problem should be a priority and get ahead of the curve.

When the holiday season does come around, you are ready, willing, and capable. Should online shopping become the standard, it would be beneficial to have the critical faculties and experience to maintain your business.