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Covid holiday strategies

10 Holiday Covid Strategies for Ecommerce Businesses

In a normal year, holidays are for relaxation and celebration—and for many ecommerce businesses, a time to thrive. 2020 is, of course, not a normal year. Covid-19 has forced brands to pivot into creative new strategies without the safety net of market data. It’s truly been a year of uncharted territory. 

The challenges of the past few months have not been without opportunities. Ecommerce businesses that have adopted strategies emphasizing the “human” side of their brands have built a level of trust and comradery with their customers. Humorous or light-hearted email campaigns have provided a much-needed sense of levity while still keeping brands on customer’s radars.  

Goodwill harvested in 2020 has great potential to translate into consumer confidence in 2021. As the holiday season rounds out a tough year, a blended message that promotes your best products and acknowledges the madness of the past few months can go a long way in keeping your audience tuned in. 

1 – Connect on a Human Level

We’re big fans of emphasizing your Human Brand—the notion that a business isn’t simply a robotic enterprise driven by sales. Little did we know that in 2020 Human Brand as a strategy would have added importance. 

A simple acknowledgment of life’s temporary frustrations can go a long way. Consider opening an email that connects with your audience’s work-at-home situation (“We Wrote This Email in Our Pajamas” was a particularly good email title we saw). Or find relatable blurbs to share, such as how to feign interest on a Zoom call or how you’ve elevated binge-watching to an art form. 

In other words, break the tension before pitching your product. 

2 – Find the Healing Angle

Every business has a product that, in theory, makes life better. It could be the soothing simplicity of a cup of your brand’s coffee or the pent-up release while riding one of your company’s mountain bikes. 

Whatever your product does to make life better, now is the time to spell that out clearly in your messaging. In 2020, finding the angle for your products that makes the holiday season better for friends and family gives a silent nod to the fact we all need a break from the day-to-day complications of Covid-19. 

3 – Showcase Less Expensive Products

This isn’t to say that you should abandon the promotion of your more-expensive products. Much like finding a healing angle to your messaging, bringing modestly priced products and services to the forefront gives another silent nod to the fact it’s been a tough financial year for many. Doing so can also make gift-buying an easier decision for your audience. For example, an outdoor clothing brand would be wise to showcase socks and gloves before jackets. 

4 – Dream Big in 2021

Covid’s presence around the world stands to be considerably diminished in the first few months of 2021. Knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel gives rise to the idea of an aspirational year. People that have been cooped up are going to be ready to not only return to normal but go big. 

Tap into that aspirational energy by fueling a sense of excitement for the new year that incorporates your products. Even if this doesn’t instantly convert to holiday sales, pushing enthusiasm can maintain interest in your brand as things slowly get better. Emails, social media, and direct customer communication should keep this aspirational aspect in mind. 

5 – Recognize the Power of Pets

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson

For many of us, our furry friends have been the best of co-workers. Even if they have a habit of barking in the middle of our most important calls. 

Pets are almost always a winning strategy, but even more so in 2020. The comfort and companionship they offered while we were safe-at-home can be recognized in your holiday messaging. If you have pet-specific gifts or products, get the word out! If not, once again acknowledging the value of pets during a tough year reinforces the Human Brand strategy—and gives you a good excuse to post photos of your company’s pets!

6 – Sustain Your Top-of-the-Funnel Activities

2020 has been a year where savvy content marketing has helped brands keep their top of the funnel presence vibrant. Funny, informative, and less-salesy content and social media keep brands from growing static and dull in their messaging.

Sharing articles such as 10 Home Office Workouts or Best Workday Playlists won’t advertise your product, but they give your audience the signal that not every message in their inbox is trying to sell something. When it does come time to get the word out on your latest and greatest offerings, having built that top-of-the-tunnel trust can lead to higher open rates. 

7 – Stay Positive

Along with aspirational thinking, positivity in your messaging can go a long way. Granted, it’s generally not good practice to be a big bummer, so inherit positivity is simply good business. 

Even companies that take social stances can do so in a way that encourages positive change—in fact, many brands have gone all-in on messages of equality and helping their communities. Highlight what your company has done to foster these changes. Round out positive messaging by highlighting your product’s role in making the world a better place this holiday season, similar to #2 above, Finding a Healing Angle. 

8 – Give a Nod to Self-Care

If your company utilizes content marketing, why not post recipes for hot chocolate or a list of ways to sleep better at night? Share a list of books to read to your kids for parents. Post a good 10-minute workout. Send out the message that hey, we’re all worn out from this year—let’s help one another find our mojo in 2021. 

Content like this continues the Human Brand strategy and for many brands, is a sincere expression that they do care about their audience. If you happen to have products that can help in the process, all the better. 

9 – Share Your Company’s Experiences

At Matcha, we’ve seen many of our seemingly silly posts of holiday parties or company events get a lot of attention. If your company has charitable holiday initiatives, share them on your social media channels or in newsletters. Or show your employees actually using your products. 

One brand we work with is sending a simple email saying how their employees are spending the holiday seasons when they can’t visit family. Work in your product CTAs, yes, but keep your pulse on the Human Brand. 

10 – Rest, Recharge, Revive

Photo by Amy Humphries

This final tip isn’t for your customers, it’s for you: marketers, designers, developers, and editors. Covid-19’s presence in 2020 was unlike anything we’ve seen before—and you were up to the challenge.

Some days were tougher than others and many of our work hours were tangentially affected by raising our parenting game, living without our social connections, and facing waves of uncertainty. No amount of sleep nor rest can make up for the weary pace of 2020, but taking some genuine downtime around the holidays can help set a healthier course for 2021. 

Take time to really relax. Catch up with friends. Sleep in late. Come back energized and refreshed because it’s going to be a whole new year in 2021. 

For more tips, check our article 9 Holiday Marketing Tips from Ecommerce Experts.

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