How Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year: Part 2 of 3

We’re midway through November and the holiday shopping season is in full swing. As expected, many states have set some new safety guidelines, but fortunately, it seems most won’t affect small shops and retail businesses. It does, however, reinforce what we discussed in our last blog – that online shopping will be king this holiday season. Because of this, the biggest challenges retail businesses will be faced with this year are inventory issues and shipping delays.

It’s likely if you’ve done any online shopping over the course of the last several months, you’ve noticed significant delays in shipping. This is becoming all the more an issue as ordering volume increases with holiday shopping. According to EasyShip, here’s a general deadline guide to follow so your online gift orders are delivered in time for Christmas. It’s important to note that nothing is set in stone and these dates could change as we get close to the Holidays.

UPS
UPS Ground Shipping: Wednesday, December 16
UPS Next Day Air: Friday, December 18
UPS 2nd Day Air: Friday, December 18
UPS 3 Day Select: Saturday, December 19

FedEx
FedEx Ground/Home Delivery: Saturday, December 19
FedEx Express Saver: Monday, December 21
FedEx 2Day: Tuesday, December 22
FedEx Overnight: Wednesday, December 23

USPS
USPS Retail Ground: Friday, December 16
First-Class Mail: Monday, December 21
Priority Mail: Monday, December 21
USPS Priority Mail Express: Tuesday, December 22

As consumers struggle with financial and health anxieties, it’s very difficult to try to predict their buying behavior this holiday season. Historical data just isn’t relevant this year. How we’re shopping and what we’re shopping for is very different than the last few years. In the first part of this blog, we talked about how consumers have made a return to tangible gifts over experience-based gifts. Something we do know, is that people are still shopping. According to Deloitte’s annual forecast, without another economic stimulus, spending will increase just 1% over last year, at the most.

It will be prudent for retailers to offer alternate options to standard shipping delivery, such as or local delivery and curbside pickup. Many small businesses will see a huge benefit to offering their own local delivery service. For example, you can offer a delivery service within a 10 mile radius of your store. Curbside Pickup has become a familiar practice for many retailers at this point. It’s convenient and safer for your customers as well as your employees. Providing these types of services can help business owners more efficiently manage the influx of online orders.

Retailers large and small have been forced to get creative over the last few months. Make sure you’re offering incentives for repeat business. Consider including a coupon or offer to use during January or February with every holiday gift purchase. This is a good measure to take to increase business in those slow, post-holiday months.

Stay tuned for our third and final installment!

source:
https://qz.com/1934003/the-retail-industrys-2020-holiday-shopping-predictions/
https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/press-releases/a-tale-of-two-holiday-seasons-as-a-k-shaped-recovery-model-emerges-consumer-spending-heavily-bifurcated.html

How Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year: Part 1 of 3

Like everything else in 2020, the holiday season will look different.

For many retailers, a strong end to the year won’t come as easily as usual. They won’t be able to rely on what has always worked before. Businesses must challenge assumptions, adapt and improvise. It will take more planning and preparation than ever, and if you’re a business owner and haven’t already started, it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Many consumers have already started their holiday gift shopping in some capacity. Gone are the days of last minute shopping in the days leading up to Christmas (at least at lot less, and at least for now). We’re still weeks away from Halloween and sleigh bells are already ringing. For businesses, shipping delays and inventory issues are on the top of their list of concerns. To help combat this, start building buzz about your holiday deals starting now – and use every channel available to you to spread the word.

It will come as no surprise that online shopping will reign supreme this holiday shopping season. USA Today recently published that IBM projects sales at “non-store retailers to continue to accelerate, growing by 35% in November to December”. That’s compared to an increase of 24% from March to July of this year. Almost half of people polled say they’ll do all their gift shopping digitally, about 27% plan to shop in store, and around 30% will do a mix of both. (USA Today)

Some communities are organizing outdoor markets and pop-ups to offer a lower-risk opportunity for those who prefer to shop for gifts in person. Downtown Easton is even considering an outdoor holiday shopping village of it’s own (https://bit.ly/3d1ZQ6u). A good statistic local retailers can look forward to – 66% of people surveyed said they will shop more at their neighborhood small businesses.  (Shulman, Bazaarvoice.com)

A trend that was noted back in early summer with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, was the significant uptick in traditional, tangible gifts vs experience-based gifts, such as concert tickets and events. Due to the uncertainty of what the next several months to a year holds, it’s the safest bet to give a gift that won’t get cancelled or postponed. Consumers are expected to opt for practical gifts/ Home entertainment gifts will also be big with holiday shoppers this year (think ride on toys and trampolines for kids).

If one thing is for sure, it’s that consumers are tired of Covid-19 messaging in advertising. At first, the “we’re in this togethers”, the “now more than evers”, and “these uncertain times” were nice, but 7 months in, they’re just plain sick of hearing it. Keep that in mind with your holiday promotions. This year, it’s all about sending a safe, familiar message of the good old days. According to a recent article in Adweek, nostalgia will be a powerful player in holiday advertising this season.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this 3 part blog series!

statistic sources:

https://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/tis-the-season-how-to-have-a-successful-holiday-shopping-season-in-retail/
https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/09/15/holiday-shopping-changing-due-covid-19-heres-what-you-need-know/5801631002/#

The Meteoric Rise of Food Delivery & The Ghost Kitchen

Over the last 5 years, food delivery has grown 300% faster than typical dine-in (upserve.com). While the Covid-19 Pandemic exacerbated this growth even more. Whether they were fine-dining, casual, fast casual, cafes or mom and pop establishments, restaurants across country were thrust into the world of delivery, ready or not.

So, you know what delivery is. You’re probably familiar with services like GrubHub and Doordash, even if you’re not using them. But, what exactly is a Ghost Kitchen?

It’s one of the most current trends in the hospitality industry today. Ghost Kitchens are takeout and delivery-only food service brands. They can be accomplished in several different ways.

1. Existing establishments can utilize the hours they aren’t open for full-service to create a secondary, takeout only service during down time. It requires much less staff, allowing them to maximize profits.

2. Another option is for a caterer or chef to rent a kitchen space and set up a takeout service out of that. There will be no dine-in at any time and will fully operate as the delivery/takeout only model.

GrubHub, Doordash and the other delivery services are creating Ghost Kitchens of their own. They offer restaurants a one-size-fits-all solution. But we know that cookie-cutter approach just won’t work for everyone.

Every restaurant is different, so we’re offering them something different. We partnered with expert Restaurant Consultant and former Philadelphia cafe owner Angela Vendetti to launch our own Ghost Kitchen program. Unlike the delivery giants, we’re taking a much more hands-on, completely personalized approach.

With over 60% of consumers in the U.S. ordering takeout or delivery at least once a week, if you’re not already on board, now is the time. Adding a delivery-only service to your current restaurant can significantly increase your sales with minimal BOH and FOH costs. You’ll fully maximize sales per square foot while your dining room is unoccupied or under utilized. With current state mandates limiting dine-in service to just 25% occupancy, a Ghost Kitchen is a no-brainer to help off-set that loss.

If you don’t have a current space, a deliver-only model can allow you to test the market without a major investment. Plus, a Ghost Kitchen can be launched and running in as little as a few weeks, whereas opening a dine-in establishment can take much longer.

We can help you capture the abundance of delivery opportunities out there by creating a marketing strategy and putting it into action.
– Help you develop a strong concept and menu that will work for take-out
– Set up your online-ordering on popular delivery apps
– Assist you in training procedure development for your staff
– Design and implement all necessary branding (photos, social media content, labels, postcards, menus, etc.)
– Aggressively advertise and market your menu, spread awareness and create a loyal following and repeat business

A Ghost Kitchen can be the saving grace for many restaurants, chefs and caterers who’ve been struggling with the pandemic. Let’s set up a consultation to see if it’s right for you.

Call 610.829.1333 or email kim@cliffross.com

The Facebook Ad Boycott: Positive or Pointless?

Facebook has experienced its fair share of drama over the last several years (remember 2018’s #DeleteFacebook?), but this year is proving to be an especially challenging year for the social media giant. Currently, over 750 large corporations have joined the likes of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Adidas, The North Face and Hershey, in a pledge to go silent on the platform, halting all advertising. And every day, that number has been snowballing as more major companies join the #StopHateForProfit boycott, which also includes Facebook-owned platform, Instagram.

The boycott is in response to the growing frustration with Facebook’s lack of policing hate speech and other dangerous or false content on it’s platform. Just days ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook executives met with boycott organizers, civil rights activists and advocacy groups via Zoom. Largely, it seem organizers were not impressed by Facebook’s lack of hard and fast plans for preventing hate speech and disinformation.

What will this boycott ultimately end up costing Facebook? Plenty of experts agree, that number is likely to be in the billions. Eric Schiffer, chairman and chief executive of the Patriarch Organization and Reputation Management Consultants, says he’s expecting, “a revenue bleed out of more than $7.5 billion” this year (Dwoskin & Telford, The Washington Post). The majority of the platform’s revenue comes from it’s global advertisers, however ultimately, that won’t move Facebook’s bottomline much at all.

To put things into perspective, Facebook’s ad revenue in 2019 was $69.7 billion (The Wall Street Journal) Of that, the 8 largest boycotting brands spent about $689 million, and the top 100 spend $6.4 billion. That leaves the great majority of revenue coming from small and mid-sized companies- about 76%, according to a recent Financial Post article.

For huge corporations like Verizon or Ford, those ad dollars are a mere fraction of their marketing budgets.

But, for smaller brands and advertisers, it’s no drop in the bucket. If you’re one of the many small businesses that boost your posts or run ad campaigns on Instagram or Facebook, you’re probably wondering what kind of repercussions boycotting may have for you. If you ask Mari Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, that question, she believes, “And if small and medium businesses cut their ads altogether, even for one month, this could cause a massive loss of revenue for those business owners, Smith said, “joining the ad boycott would actually negatively impact their bottom line infinitely more than it would Facebook’s,”(Gollom, CBC News) In order to really hurt Facebook, these major players would have to cease advertising for much longer than of July.

Facebook advertising has proven to be effective at reaching a highly targeted audience and produce a uniquely rapid ROI. Many experts believe it’s “the most targeted traffic ad dollars can buy.” (Gollom, CBC News) Today, most small businesses realize the importance of a consistent social media presence and the value of that advertising. Your consumer is on Facebook, and if you’re not, you’re missing a critical opportunity to get your message to them. Boycotting advertising may not be realistic for many small business. It’s the central medium for reaching their key audience.

As the boycott gained steam, Facebook’s share price fell 9%- that’s around $56 billion of its market value (Gollom, CBC News). It prompted CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce his plans to more effectively “prohibit hate speech in ads and better protect groups such as immigrants from attack” (Barker, The Financial Times). It remains to be seen what kind, if any, of a lasting impact the boycott with have on Facebook, and if the platform can stick to it’s promises of policy changes enough to appease advertisers and gain back their business.

 

Sources:

Gollom, Mark. CBC News. “Companies are boycotting Facebook. But who is Hurt More By The Tactic?”. Jun 30, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/facebook-boycott-ads-1.5631696

Facebook Faces an Advertiser Boycott. Will Its Business Take a Hit?” The Wall Street Journal. July 1, 2020.https://www.wsj.com/graphics/facebook-faces-an-advertiser-boycott/

Dwoskin, Elizabeth and Telford, Taylor. Facebook is working to persuade advertisers to abandon their boycott. So far, they aren’t impressed.” The Washington Post. July 3, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/07/03/facebook-advertiser-boycott-hate/

Worst. Jingle. Ever.

Known for their incessant and corny television commercials (this one has been on the air for almost three years now) Liberty Insurance has come up with a new jingle. No doubt it was approved by a committee that “refined” it to death, while their ad agency laughed all the way to the bank. Ok, ready for this awful idea? Here goes:

“Liberty Liberty Liberty, Liberty.” (sung by a chorus)

Wow. It does score points for driving the point home. Their name is “Liberty Insurance”. So it re-re-re-reinforces their name. Ok. So it sort of works, but with a high level of annoyance.

While advertising does work best when it is repetitive, their is a right way and wrong way to accomplish this …

A jingle or tagline should work to buttress the positioning of the product or service. This one sinks to new lows as it dumbs down the message to annoying happy people singing the name of the company. You have to ask yourself, what does this accomplish? In a moment when someone needs insurance, will this chorus repeat in their head? Maybe. Unless they are a mindless drone, they’ll probably think a little more deeply about what insurance company to choose.

So their jingle is jangling. I’ll take Flo or the Gecko any day over Liberty’s cast of unrelatable and overplayed characters.

Continue reading Worst. Jingle. Ever.