After a year unlike any other, we can all be sure of one thing: this is also going to be a drastically different holiday season. People’s lives have changed and, as a result, their priorities and shopping habits have also shifted. 

Despite all of the uncertainty, holiday shopping is charging ahead. The overall eCommerce conversion rate is up 6% from last year, and a study found that 20% of respondents had already started their holiday shopping in August. This will no doubt only increase as the holiday season goes on. 

But different times call for different approaches for brands and retailers, and with the increase in online shopping, eCommerce platforms need to be prepared. With that in mind, here are three strategies for a successful 2020 holiday season. 

Appeal to the Ethical Shopper

This year we’ve noticed a huge change in what consumers value, with a dramatic increase in buyers prioritizing health, sustainability and purpose-driven brands. According to Nielsen, over 80% of people feel that companies should help improve the environment, 68% of online shoppers deem product sustainability an important factor in making a purchase, and 77% of millennials prefer to buy from environmentally-conscious brands. Sustainability is at the top of consumers’ wish lists, so if you can prove that your brand is acting in an ethical and sustainable manner, you’ll come out on top these holidays.

Positioning your brand as sustainable and ethical could manifest itself in how you market your products, by promoting a “buy well, use well” mentality; less is more. It could also mean adapting your supply chain and incorporating recyclable materials and sustainable processes. You may want to use Product Information Management to enable shoppers to filter your products based on attributes they’re passionate about, such as whether it was made using sustainable materials.

Whatever you do, make sure you communicate your sustainability initiatives clearly on your website, social media and email and text marketing! Like this example from Christy Dawn:

Give the Gift of Philanthropy

Similarly to sustainability, a brand or retailer’s philanthropy is another hugely important consideration for shoppers in 2020. Research by Accenture Strategy finds that people are making careful choices to purchase from brands that stand for a purpose that reflects their values and beliefs. According to KPMG’s Global Retail Trends 2020, brands that demonstrate a positive impact on people’s lives grow 2.5 times more than brands with a low perceived impact. This means brands need to practice what they preach; rather than sharing a mission statement with vague goals, they need to take tangible actions to create a more equitable world.

Be one of the many brands that show they care through generous deeds, be it donating a portion of profits to food banks, providing a special discount for first responders, or giving away products to people in need. Some brands like Toms have been doing that for years, with their “buy one, give one” strategy.

Involve your customers in your efforts for even greater engagement via online surveys, social media or live chat. Use all available channels to share your fundraising efforts, but keep your customer preferences in mind to ensure you’re creating targeted, effective engagements. Whichever method you choose, demonstrate your purpose-driven values and you will be sure to win more loyal customers. Check out this example from Everlane.

Practice Mindful Marketing

Profit isn’t everything; we all know that. Show that you stand for more than just money and speak to the powerful moment we’re all in. This has been a year where multiple concerns have become top of mind. We’re also all dealing with sensory overload. According to Hootsuite, almost four billion people use social media today, which is roughly 51% of the entire global population.

All of us are online more than ever, and we’re all getting hit with more and more marketing messages in a variety of formats. You can’t—and don’t want to—just cease communication. But you can be more strategic about what you’re sending (and how, and when, and why).

Start building meaningful connections with consumers through mindfully crafted social media and email marketing. You can do this by emphasizing real-time conversation over promotion—seizing opportunities to engage in moments and on topics of importance to people, instead of simply trying to sell products.

Approach your communications with empathy and imbue your brand with the humanity that you have as a person. This year has been traumatic for many—prove you’re trustworthy. Don’t shy away from important topics. Take a stance, provide tangible value, and maintain your consistent, yet evolving, brand voice.


The future may still be uncertain, but we hope this blog provides some guidance to help you prepare your brand for what we all hope will be a very busy holiday season. If you’d like any personalized assistance getting your web store ready for the holidays, please get in touch with us today.

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