This article is part of Square’s definitive guide on eCommerce best practices during the Christmas shopping season. Explore the guide to learn how to curate a festive and stress-free shopping experience for your customers and stay competitive.
As the days start getting hotter and longer, and the school year reaches its end, the Christmas spirit kicks in for many Aussies. Some are ready to deck the halls, put up their trees, and start celebrating. This also includes making a start on buying gifts. Festive season traditionalists are seasoned and prepared when it comes to Christmas shopping. These traditionalists have been making their lists and checking them twice all year long, and now they’re ready to start stockpiling presents and party paraphernalia.
For retailers, these buyers are the lifeblood of the season. In Australia, the three months leading up to Christmas see the highest turnover, when compared to the average sales of any other month. There is a growing view that Black Friday in late November is the day that unofficially kicks off Christmas trading – at least when it comes to eCommerce. For physical retailers, weekend trade typically picks up pace through November, culminating in a very busy December.
Understanding the traditionalist shopper
Chances are, your traditionalist customers are not only buying gifts for loved ones but also planning social and family events while adding festive decorative touches to their homes.
It isn’t just about gifts. Some of the retail turnover boost many businesses see leading up to Christmas is due to the party, food and entertainment purchases made while preparing for the festivities. Therefore, in addition to gifts, Christmas traditionalists’ shopping lists also include cards, wrapping paper and ribbon, decorations, baked goods, alcoholic beverages, specialty food items and more. They go all out for the festive season and they want the retailers they visit to go all out as well.
They shop early and often. Traditionalists can be spotted shopping early in the festive season, so make sure your store or eCommerce website is ready to roll out the red carpet as soon as possible. Now more than ever, customers are looking to get a head start on Christmas shopping, with 78% of shoppers in this survey reporting they will be shopping for gifts early this year.
Traditionalists will be cautious and prepared. COVID-19 has resulted in traditionalist shoppers adopting or increasing their online shopping to unprecedented levels. Understandably, many shoppers are nervous about what this increased demand means for shipping delays and fulfilment times from their favourite retailers. One study has found that 55% of Aussies were concerned about delivery delays affecting their online Christmas shopping, and you can be sure that this applies to traditionalist customers too.
How to meet the holiday traditionalist’s expectations
These shoppers typically want their festive season to look and feel joyful and easy – leaving nothing to chance, and certainly not to the last minute.
Don’t procrastinate. Christmas traditionalists don’t leave things to the last minute, and they expect sellers to have seasonal items early. If they can’t find what they’re looking for in your store or on your eCommerce website, they might shop elsewhere rather than waiting because it’s too stressful not to have everything ready to go far in advance of Christmas. Take preliminary steps as early as possible to maximise your seasonal sales.
Everything should be picture perfect. Traditionalists expect eye-catching gifts, decor and food, regardless of expense. Whether they’re operating on a large budget or a small one, traditionalists want everything to dazzle and delight. So be sure to showcase your most eye-catching items for these early-bird shoppers.
How to catch their eye
Traditionalists want their gifts to make their loved ones feel special, and for their Christmas party or get-together to be the talk of the town. Which means they’re always on the lookout for special Christmas spreads, fun decor, and all the trimmings.
Bundles and more bundles. These shoppers love a polished, well-assembled gift box. That’s a present that is more personalised than a gift card and also looks upscale and classic. A traditionalist would love a hamper or pre-packed gift set from your online store, or a gift box they can customise to the recipient’s exact taste.
Tie it up with a bow. Traditionalists want presents that are going to simply sparkle under the tree, so offering gift wrapping as part of your shipping deal would be a lovely bonus. Those presents will look great, and also save the busy traditionalist the valuable time and effort of wrapping them all themselves. If you can’t tie the wrapping into your fulfillment operation, consider selling coordinating gift boxes, bags, tags, stickers, and other gift wrap trimmings in your online shop to add a special touch without taking on the added responsibility of shipping wrapped items to customers.
Make it a celebration. If your eCommerce store carries food, beverages, or decorations, now is the time to snag a traditionalist by offering specialty items, Christmas treats, limited-edition drinks and other special extras. Think about what you can offer to make sure your traditionalist customers get to host or enjoy the perfect event – small though it may be this year.
Holiday traditionalists love this time of year, from the emotional thrill of buying someone the perfect gift to the eye-pleasing decorations in your shop window merchandising. And, similar to experiential shoppers, they want more than to buy a gift; they want to celebrate. By keeping their shopping experience festive, convenient, and – most important – fun, sellers can encourage these shoppers to think about their brand every time the season comes around.
The festive season can be the busiest time of year for businesses. From helping shoppers find the perfect gift to keeping up with your inventory, sellers need to wear multiple hats. Square is here to help. We have all the tools you need to start, run, and grow your business, whether you’re selling in person, online, or both. And we’ve made all our tools to work together as one system, saving you time and money – and making decisions easier. So you, too, can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. See how Square for Retail works.