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Last year’s holiday season was a bit rocky, with many businesses having to limit their in-store sales and shipping options backed up, but 2021 promises to be very different! Customers are feeling much more safe and confident about in-person shopping; at the same time, ecommerce is expected to take up a bigger portion of sales than ever before: almost 19% of all holiday retail sales.

These are big changes, and with the Fall workload on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about your business’s holiday plans. While predicting trends can be difficult, there are some strategies and practices that you just can’t do without in this shifting market.

Here are the best ways your business can prepare your online marketing for the 2021 Holiday Season.

1. Advertise Your Online Sales Early

2020 saw nearly everyone shopping online, and once you start clicking there’s just no quitting! According to Adobe Digital Insights, the usual cyber sales days like Cyber Monday were less impactful, but only because so many people were already taking advantage of online sales throughout November.

Some records were even broken: November 2020 was the first month to reach $100 billion in online spending, and the online sales every day from November through December exceeded $1 billion for the first time.

Long story short, more people are used to online and mobile shopping than ever before. With many supply chains still overburdened, it’s important to start planning early. That’s why you should focus on establishing extended monthly deals right now and avoid being overwhelmed with last-minute holiday shipping.

2. Social Apps are the New Window Shopping

More and more consumers are relying on social media to discover new products and deals. Facebook’s Head of Industry, Retail, Superstores & Grocery reported that nearly 80% of surveyed consumers reported using at least one Facebook app to discover brands and products.

Many businesses are expecting to continue remote work at least part-time, increasing opportunities for employees to browse social media and attend to personal shopping while working from home. Pew polls show that platforms YouTube and Instagram have seen a steady increase in users since 2019, while Facebook use has been reported at nearly 70% of American internet users every year since 2016.

Now is the time to review your advertising budget and see if you can boost your social media promotions for specific gifts and discounts for the holidays.

3. Develop Gift Guides and Curated Content

Facebook’s polls found that, half of the time, shoppers don’t know what to get when gift shopping. Targeted advertising can help you get the right product in front of the right viewer, but you can also promote gift guides and curated products to a broader target audience.

Rather than trying to match up one product to a target audience, gift guides let you promote a range of gift ideas. This approach feels much more personable than simply seeing one item promoted on social media, allowing the viewer to feel like they get to make an informed, meaningful choice about the gift they will be choosing.

Curated products bring the personalization one step further: instead of the buyer picking one product, you can offer a collected box or gift basket of hand-picked products. While the buyer has a general idea of the kinds of products included, they’ll get to enjoy receiving a custom gift selected just for them. “Discovery Boxes” have proven successful for everything from home décor, to health products, to snacks and beverages.

2020 left a big impact on eCommerce, but the 2021 holiday season isn’t going to be a repeat. Keeping these tips in mind while keeping an eye on the continuing consumer trends will help you get an early start on managing your online holiday sales.

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