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Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Season

Every aspect of the world changed during the pandemic. Our working and sleep habits changed, which is why it makes sense that our shopping habits did as well. With so many consumers at home, eCommerce grew by an impressive 39 percent.

Brands could no longer be complacent about their online presence or think that their existing loyalty programs were enough. With time to kill, consumers explored varying channels and did a deep dive on competitive pricing, as convenience was no longer the most important factor.

The pandemic taught us to expect the unexpected so we can pivot at a moment’s notice. Let’s explore new expectations and strategies for the upcoming holiday season.

A few expectations for the upcoming 2021 holiday season:

· Earlier start time and more shopping days
· Brand loyalty to be driven by a reflection of personal values
· Emphasis to be placed on immersive virtual shopping and curbside pickup


· Think outside the traditional calendar window
· Generate early-bird deals
· Communicate through SMS
· Announce your values as a brand
· Work with influencers
· Design loyalty programs

Think outside the traditional calendar window

Supply chain challenges have sparked fears in consumers of not being able to buy exactly what they want, when they want it. The buying season may extend all the way to year’s end just like how it did in 2020.

Generate early-bird deals

Consumers are projected to buy early to avoid supply chain shortages, especially with an increase in deals showing up earlier and extending beyond Christmas Eve. Start catering to these early birds and provide deals that address this fear upfront.

Spending patterns will also be different. Sixty-four percent of consumers have reported already saving up for the holiday season. Early deals and a multitude of ways to finance, via Venmo, PayPal and Apple Pay, will show your support for their holiday goals.

Ready your digital game

Before 2020, some brands were still hesitant to go fully digital, even after the proven success of Cyber Mondays starting in 2005. The transition had to happen quickly in 2020 for brands that had been stalling to create digital storefronts and meet new expectations for customer experiences.

If you haven’t already, craft loyalty-building digital experiences via immersive video experiences, including “try it on now” mobile and digital experiences and tutorials. Your competitors have already done so and are working on the next big thing in multi-channel and immersive content/experiences.

Consumers are looking to continue hybrid models that focus on convenience with “click and collect,” sales-doubling curbside pickup and expedited delivery. They are also doing in-depth research into brands that extends beyond pricing via multi-channel experiences, such as with Instagram and Tik Tok.

Stay ahead by investing in your brand’s social media where your consumers are eager to engage. In a Yotpo survey, 60 percent of shoppers have happened upon new brands while scrolling on their phones in what is now known as “discovery commerce.”

As an emerging form of commerce, brands need to harness the power of discovery through deals and meaningful social media presence to make Black Friday and Cyber Monday leads convert.

Communicate through SMS

Email will always be a powerful tool to reach Black Friday shoppers. SMSes, however, are leading a new charge. Consumers are primed to engage with a personalized SMS when they are already looking for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on their phone – up to 100 times a day.

Consumers are willing to engage with eCommerce brands via SMS as long as there is direct communication. Make sure to stay within 141 characters and include a relevant link.

Announce your values

Younger consumers want to build relationships with brands that reflect their values and leave those that don’t behind. More than 80 percent want brands to use their platforms to make the world a better place. A driving purpose should be at the forefront of Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns. Consider making a donation or have one specific charity product.

Work with influencers

Consumers want to see familiar faces when engaging with a brand, especially those who have given them comfort during the pandemic when influencer engagement skyrocketed. Peer social media networks matter when wanting to engage with your target audience. Make influencers a significant part of your Black Friday Cyber Monday strategy.

Influencers can warm up your audience before rolling out your deals.

Design loyalty programs

Reward your customers for being loyal. A brand is 14 times more likely to sell to an existing customer. With that in mind, customers who belong to a loyalty program can be counted on to increase incremental revenue growth by up to 18 percent than ones who do not.

Drive your Black Friday Cyber Monday conversions with loyalty programs encouraging repeat purchases and conversation. Consumers want to indulge this holiday season and just need a reason to do so. Engagement is the perfect reason.

Another plus to having a loyalty program is gaining insights into your base with just a bit of mining. Customers are willing to tell you anything you want as long as they are rewarded with a strong relationship for it well after the snow has melted and holiday décor has been put away.


Holiday seasons may never be the same again after 2020. Think beyond traditional calendar windows to harness the power of the Black Friday Cyber Monday transformation. Create new multi-channel experiences, communicate/market via SMSes, tap into mobile reach/power, announce your values, build excitement with the right influencers and indulge loyalty with reward programs.

Best of luck this extended holiday season!

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