Holiday shopping season in 2020 will be unlike those in years past – many malls and retailers won’t be opening early on Thanksgiving this year and many consumers will be doing their shopping in the comfort of their homes. Online sales are projected to surge by more than 35% according to a study by eMarketer.
With Black Friday only a couple weeks away, the pressure is on! While the holiday shopping season kicked off in mid-October with Amazon Prime Days and other competing retail promotions, most consumers will start their shopping on Thanksgiving or later. While the automotive aftermarket may not be the first industry to come to mind with holiday or Black Friday shopping, there is a lot of potential for those auto retailers who take part in this underutilized selling season. Many people will be purchasing gifts for the auto enthusiasts in their lives as well as seeking special deals on auto parts and accessories that they need. Hedges & Company is forecasting a 30% growth of online retail sales in the automotive aftermarket in 2020.
As an aftermarket retailer, you need to be prepared ahead of time to make the most of the holiday shopping season and end the year with a bang. Here’s a few items to keep in mind that will help you make your list and check it twice:
Plan your holiday shopping deals early:
With millions of job losses and concerns over the economy, retail spending is slightly down this year and everyone is looking for special offers to cut costs. According to a recent NPD Group Annual Holiday Study, the hottest sought-after deal this year is free shipping. Because of the pandemic, people are gathering less, shopping online more and shipping gifts to loved ones that they won’t get to celebrate with this year.
Once you’ve decided on your deal(s), you can create your marketing plan, create landing pages and campaigns, prepare your email marketing and social media posts, and target your customers early.
There are lots of benefits to using wishlist features on your website. You can help non-automotive consumers shop for their auto-enthusiast friends and family members, monitor what products are getting the most interest, stay on top of inventory needs, get to know your customers better and tailor your marketing efforts.
Know your peak shopping days:
According to Hedges & Company, Cyber Monday and the first three Mondays in December are the most important online shopping days for auto parts in the holiday shopping season. The first three Tuesdays and Sundays in December are very busy on auto parts websites. Make sure your ecommerce website is running smoothly and everything is up-to-date. It’s common for auto parts and accessory websites to have more than 65% of total traffic on mobile devices – a trend in online shopping that will continue. Smartphones are expected to drive the majority of online retail traffic and 42% of actual sales, so it’s important that your site is mobile-friendly.
Anticipate shipping deadlines & delays:
With the increase in online spending, it’s imperative that you know your shipping deadlines:
Tuesday, December 15 is the cut off for USPS Retail Ground®, UPS® Ground, and FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery®.
Saturday, December 19 is the cut off for USPS Priority Mail®.
Tuesday, December 22 is the cut off for UPS 2nd Day Air® and FedEx 2Day® and FedEx 2Day Freight®.
With the heavier online shopping volume there will likely be shipping delays and issues. As retailers and carriers brace themselves for the holiday online shopping surge, many have added holiday surcharges to packages and expanded their seasonal hiring.
Prepare your customer service team, manage expectations and urge customers to buy early. For retailers with a brick and mortar location, consider pushing curbside pickup and BOPIS (buy online pick up in store) for local customers.
It’s go time
The 2020 holiday season offers a critical opportunity for ecommerce retailers, especially within the automotive aftermarket – but it’s important to plan ahead and prepare your strategy now. Optimize your online presence, take advantage of every marketing tool available, refer to previous years’ holiday shopping data to help determine what works best, and promote promote promote.
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