Holiday 2021: From 'Shipageddon' to Omnichannel Experiences

The 2020 Holiday Season saw an interesting end to an unusual year. Better than expected results were posted for this timeframe, as ecommerce gains combined with a brick-and-mortar performance that exceeded expectations. Supply chain and shipping challenges led to an explosion of new omnichannel ways of shopping, though an extended holiday season mitigated “Shipageddon.”

2021 is shaping up to be another unique holiday shopping season, with overall global optimism rising, despite the Delta variant threatening much of the good progress that has been made. A few key trends are on the rise, so marketers looking to make a splash this holiday season should keep these in mind when creating holiday plans.

Double Down on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for Gifting

Twenty-seven percent of shoppers have confirmed that they will be shopping during the four-day period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to ShopKick. According to research from Inmar Intelligence, shoppers plan on spending between $400-$600 on gifts, but they also plan on spending that money on fewer items. Additionally, almost half will reallocate some of those shopping dollars to treat themselves. This means that brands should promote deals early to earn sales and provide promotions for both those looking to shop for others, as well as treats they may want to pick up for themselves.



While much of the traffic will likely gravitate toward Amazon, data shows that shoppers will return to stores and there will be more of a balance across shopping destinations compared to last year. For examples 43% of consumers expect to make the majority of their holiday purchases in a physical store, up 9% year-on-year compared to 2020, according to Shopkick. That means that brands with DTC offerings should find ways to compete with Amazon and offer promotions available only on their site. Additionally, brands and retailers should be prepared for an influx of traffic to their sites as well and they should ensure that all tech requirements are in place to handle large traffic and order volumes.

Omnichannel Shoppers Offer Unique Value for Brands

The pandemic forced brands to adopt new buying options for consumers and that will continue to be important during this year’s holiday season. In 2020, retailers that offered Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) saw a growth of 53% compared to retailers that did not offer it (34% growth), according to Salesforce. To ensure a strong and robust omnichannel strategy, brands and retailers should utilize BOPIS, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), and click-and-collect offerings wherever possible. This can help offset the costs associated with logistical challenges that have arisen around the supply chain including manufacturing costs, labor and freight costs.

Immersive and Contextual Experiences Will Be Key

Shoppers that visit brand landing pages are 7 time more likely to convert and spend 350% more (CitrusAd). According to Snap, Snapchatters spent 1.6 times more than the average shopper across all Q4 shopping moments last year and the platform found that high-quality mobile environments can impact brand favorability by 74%. By combining brand page destinations with video on AR or VR only further helps drive that conversion. Brands that utilize video ads, AR/VR with a camera strategy, livestreaming and influencers to help promote products will attract younger shoppers.

Video ads continue to be increasingly important to consumers as more and more viewers are opting to watch ads. Utilizing vertical video can help create exciting visuals and seamless video-shopping experiences. On Snap, research from the company shows that 85% of Gen Z in the US watched Shows on Discover in November and December 2020.

To capture new audiences through video, brands and retailers should consider leveraging livestreaming shopping, layer vertical video ads into their holiday strategies and create virtual stores that recreate brick-and-mortar where possible.

Ecommerce and MCommerce Will Drive 2021 Holiday Shopping

According to eMarketer, ecommerce is predicted to earn 73.1% growth this holiday season, with mobile commerce not far behind at 52.7% growth. This means that in order for brands or retailers to grow their share, they need to ensure their apps are ready to activate marketing campaigns and encourage app downloads. Incentivizing in-app purchases, by offering exclusive benefits and discounts, can help drive participation. Brands should also anticipate a high volume of mobile orders and be sure their platforms can handle that increase, given the increase in mobile shopping. In addition, MCommerce can be used to drive trial, consideration and allows for an ease of social sharing. Layering in mobile-first social campaigns on platforms like Snap and TikTok can help you capitalize on the momentum from influencers and social channels.

The Key to Happier Holidays

While shoppers are starting to be more comfortable shopping in-store as it relates to health precautions, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people shop and how they prefer to engage with brands and retailers alike. The brands and retailers that win this holiday season will be the ones that leverage new technologies that allow shoppers to engage with their products whichever way they prefer.

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