If there is one thing that we marketers know for certain, it is that this year’s shopping season will stand apart from any other.

The pandemic has made in-store shopping a potential health risk. Surveys have suggested that more than half of holiday shoppers are anxious about shopping in-store due to this crisis, with 58%% preferring to shop online during Black Friday to avoid crowds. eMarketer is projecting that in-store sales will decline by 4.7% while eCommerce will jump 35.8%.

In a year that’s been full of twists and turns due to the pandemic, the retail industry has seen its fair share of unexpected challenges. Rather than preparing for one powerhouse Cyber Weekend to kick off the holiday shopping season, merchants collectively turned the final quarter of the year into a seasonal sprint filled with steals and deals that consumers couldn’t wait to snag.” – Katie Tierney, Managing Editor at Klaviyo

This will be the longest online holiday season ever!

Usually, eCommerce shopping sees a major slow down once the free ground shipment deadline hits. With marketplaces and shipping centers such as USPS, FexEx, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s that date is somewhere between December 14th to December 17th. As a digital marketing agency, we see each year on last ship dates campaigns and media buying shift to driving consumers to go into the stores to finish up their holiday shopping.

Not so this year. We will have an extra 7 to 10 days of online buying! Why? Curbside pick-up.

Already this year, Black Friday, (the day to shop in-store), consumers chose curbside pick-up—a 52% increase over last year. For retailers that offered curbside services for Thanksgiving, they saw a 31% higher conversion rate on their websites.  

With 7 to 10 more shopping days this season, be sure your budgets are optimized all the way through to December 24th. Move media dollars to shoppers with search intent looking for curbside pick-up service.

There will always be last minute shoppers, that is just the way it is. Target last-minute shoppers by changing your messaging and highlighting on all major category pages on your website what your curbside pick-up capabilities are.

Our hope is that eCommerce sales and curbside pick-up will replace the deficit of in-store shopping. It goes without saying that this year has been difficult for brands and retailers alike. But by using the right messaging at the right time, on the right device, brands will be able to authentically connect with their customers—prompting them to purchase and hopefully bring a little light into the gift receivers’ day. Just because the pandemic has changed the way we gift and gather, it doesn’t change the meaning behind the giving.