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This story originally appeared on Cannabis & Tech Today
This holiday shopping season will be longer and less traditional than ever.
This year, it’s being ushered in earlier and with far less fanfare.
Many retail trackers will begin their official holiday tracking October 13.
Best Buy’s new “Black Friday” and the start of Amazon’s Prime Day, rescheduled from its July launch due to COVID-19.
Holiday shoppers traditional buying preferences and patterns are shifting, too.
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More than 31 million holiday travelers will stay home this year, according to CNN.
Although grandma and grandpa’s house may be only miles away, 47% percent of families report that they have cancelled planned family get-togethers altogether due to COVID concerns.
Those still planning on getting together will have much smaller events this year, according to Morning Consult, which reports that 74% of households report downsizing planned holiday events.
With fewer consumers planning to be on the road and in retail stores, the 2020 holiday season is destined to be dominated by digital.
Although an increasing number of consumers are using ecommerce as a result of COVID-19, they are less likely to be satisfied by an “everyday” experience.
CBD brands need to be bold and behave differently in order to avoid ho-hum shopping experiences and consumer fatigue.
To drive up seasonal sales, many players like Austra, CBD for Life, Green Roads, Uncle Bud’s Hemp and some Your CBD Store owners, like multi-unit owner Scott Zabka, are already beefing up their digital storefronts and in-store offers, giving consumers the practical gift options they crave this year.
The need for self-care is self-evident — and mounting due to COVID-19.
And brands like Green Roads are prepared with gift ideas and product bundles.
“Our Self-care Deluxe Bundle is a really great gift, especially for stressed-out moms who need a break,” says Lee Sosin, CMO of Green Roads.
Sosin notes that interest in CBD is growing and evidenced by the sales of Green Roads’ most popular Beginner’s Bundle.
CBD for Life will add several holiday bundles to its gift bundle inventory in November, along with a co-branded promotion with Moonlit Skincare, according to Julie Redfern, the company’s director of marketing.
Gift Cards Reign
The most popular gift this year will likely be gift cards, according to Morning Consult, which reports that 48% of adults plan to buy or give gift cards this holiday season.
Three times as many shoppers said they will spend most on gift cards versus the next-highest gift type (apparel, which 9% plan to spend most on).
Although results vary by location, on average, 90% of the gift card redeemers are new to Your CBD Store and, even better, according to Zabka, is the fact that the majority of recipients have become repeat customers.
Retail experts recommend that brands embrace alternative promotions that won’t negatively impact revenue and avoid over-discounting products, which, ultimately, drive down pricing and profitability.
Gift cards typically offer similar value to BOGO promotions, but add a valuable psychological kicker.
They look and spend like cash, and consumers are more likely to redeem them and return to restock.
More than 51% of consumers overspend on gift cards, according to numerous retail experts.
Google reports that 66% of holiday shoppers plan to shop local this year.
With 97% of US-based CBD brands fitting well within the Small Business Administration’s guidelines of a small business, it makes sense to put small-business messaging front and center in holiday campaigns.
Smaller, overlooked brands have the potential to even the playing field this holiday season, according to Criterio, which reports that 33% of US consumers discovered previously unknown small merchants as a result of elevated digital searches during COVID-19.
Smaller, More Practical Gifts
Holiday shoppers will be looking for smaller, more meaningful gifts that support well-being this year and will be reverting back to “the basics.”
According to retail analysts at McKinsey, luxury gifts and splurge spending will be overtaken by smaller, more practical gifts and budget-minded gifting.
Among those items are skincare, healthcare and bath-and-body products, which have skyrocketed during the pandemic, according to NPD.
The research firm, which tracks consumer spending and point-of-sale data, reports that sales of skin, nail- and hair-care products are up 300% over last year.
Bath and body products alone are up 65% over last year, according to Amazon.
Creative packaging and messaging are paramount to remote gift givers this year.
Those brands that convey unique messaging and deliver an experience are more likely to command the consumer market this year.
CBD brands with apparel lines have a unique opportunity to creatively package like-minded items like a running cap and recovery rub bundle.
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With so much emphasis on driving digital activity, it’s important that CBD brands have a mechanism to identify, track, and remarket to anonymous website visitors.
On average, about 40% of website visitors will leave a brand’s website without registering their email address.
During cyber sales season, that number will be even higher.
With remarketing, CBD brands can leverage the best of the 2020 holiday sales season and achieve higher ROAs.
One thing is certain this season: It is going to be a memorable one.
With the right promotions, it can be a profitable one, too.