Christmas Shopping in the COVID Era
BY ARIANA CINI
Brace yourself, Christmas is almost upon us!
It is the most awaited moment of the year; the magical season that inspires a great deal of excitement, but at the same time concerns that creeping sense of panic at the threat of planning the perfect gifts to make. This year for the big shopping season people are thinking about their holiday gifts earlier
than ever. Hard to believe, but in July, almost half of interviewed consumers already had made plans for when to purchase their Christmas gifts.
I’s a very clever decision because shopping early allows social distancing between customers, avoiding last-minute crowds that could lead to an increase in cases.
This year, fuelled by changes in new pandemic regulations and in economic situations, retailers need to make adjustments to take care of their customers and find success standing out among others. It’s clear that things have changed and Covid-19 has forever changed the experience of being a customer. The Lush co-founder, Mark Constantine, said that the key to keeping staff and customers safe would be to serve customers as quickly and as efficiently as possible. “People do
not want to be put in a difficult situation within a shop,” he said. Select the staff could therefore be the starting point for a good Christmas season.
But there is also other advice to follow: it’s strongly recommended to manage your presence on social networks optimising your social media strategy in order to be interesting and competitive. Also sales are very important; every retail store of every size has to have some kind of winter season sale, in order to help the customer. But this is going to be an unusual Christmas, unlike any holiday season any of us have ever seen before. As we enter this period with hard restrictions still in place, it’s very likely that people will prefer to stay at home browsing the web for their holiday gifts rather than battling with crushing crowds looking for the perfect gift to make.
So this year the Christmas shopping focus will surely be online. But not only the purchase will be online, also the making of wish lists is accessible via internet. Amazon was one of the first companies that encouraged the creation of personal wish lists, the selection is incredibly vast and that’s its biggest vantage. But there are also some super cool apps that make it possible, like for example Elfster. We are talking about a super innovative app that gives you tips, tricks and ideas for your Christmas wish lists. It’s a completely free gift exchange website and what makes it unique is that you can set up your mailing address and send gifts to every destination worldwide. It makes therefore gift-giving process become much more easier and more efficient for everyone, avoiding the stressful Christmas shopping rush. Not only the way we shop it’s gonna be different this year, but also what we shop.
A very important position is occupied by gift cards, they are always incredibly practical and it’s impossible to go wrong with gift cards! Regarding presents, forget the typical gifts and stocking stuffers; this year, people will think outside the box, making non-traditional gifts. The leading protagonists will be handmade items: hand embroidered t-shirts, hand knitted stuff and handmade jewellery are one of the biggest trends of 2020. Also home decor, like for example candles, blankets and frames, are very appreciated gifts, with the aim to make the most out of the time at home.
Furthermore, Covid-19 has transformed our world almost instantaneously, and people started giving importance to sustainability, one of the most popular trends of the year. Eco friendly gift wraps made of recycled paper and Christmas cards printed on recycled paper are therefore much sought after.