There are some specific steps you can take as a small business owner to ensure success.
There are many reasons holiday 2022 will look different than previous years. First of all more consumers are turning to digital for inspiration than ever before. With COVID, we’ve seen that it accelerated the shift away from physical stores to online buying by roughly 5 years.
But consumers are largely cross-shopping, both offline and online, which is why it’s so important to be ready to capture demand at the moment. Additionally, consumers are actively seeking out businesses that align with their values. We’ve seen that searches for “support local businesses” grew by 20,000% since last year.
Now that we understand some of the shifts that we’re seeing, how do we stay ahead of the curve?
What are some steps that small business owners can take? One step you can take is to make sure you’re present in the digital world. You never know when and where consumer demand may strike. I’ll give you an example. Supply is tight in many categories. And I ordered a bike several months ago. After growing impatient, I decided to broaden my search. I ended up purchasing a different bike from a retailer I’d never heard of just so I could get it quicker. This is happening across almost every category right now. And the winners and losers of holiday 2022 will partially be defined by your ability.
Simply flex and adapt to that dynamic consumer demand. And this is an opportunity to compete in areas that you might not have considered previously.
So how can you take action?
First, you want to build a solid foundation to inform your digital approach. Think about customer segmentation. Are you trying to acquire new customers? Consider a broader approach than usual, knowing how many consumers are cross-shopping right now and chasing in-stock inventory, promotions, and just looking for a good buying opportunity. Once you have that, it’s time to put it into practice. Ensure your products are present across Google commerce solutions. By using free product listings, for example, you can have products appear and on paid product searches across Google, such as Shopping, Search, and Images. Finally, you’ll wanna consider Google Smart Shopping. These are paid ads that help you reach shoppers across Google networks, including YouTube, Gmail, Search and the Google Display Network.
Look for tools that help you understand those category trends. You’ll wanna see how consumer behavior is shifting in real-time to potentially find new areas of consumer intent. Google Trends is one example of how to stay on top of this. Then, make sure you’re present for that consumer intent. Ensure your full product inventory is present. You never know what products or brands consumers may be willing to consider, especially as demand and availability fluctuate. And during those fluctuations, we wanna rely heavily on automation because if you’re trying to manually adjust campaigns, I can guarantee you, you’re always gonna be at least one step behind the market. As consumer demand spikes during a peak moment, you wanna make sure you’re not running out of budget and missing out on that opportunity. And also review your sales goals and what return on ad spend you anticipate.
My biggest piece of advice is to not wait. As a small business owner, you never know when your strongest spikes in demand may come or what opportunity the shifting landscape may bring you this holiday season.