What Lockdown means for your Q4 Strategy

With the announcement of England going into a second lockdown, and the subsequent reintroduction of non-essential retail restrictions, advertisers and consumers alike are going to witness a Christmas like no other before.

Claire Burgess

Whilst the industry may seem digitally well-versed after the previous retail restrictions implemented in March, it’s important to consider that this imminent lockdown will be hugely different to the one we experienced earlier in the year. It goes without saying that Q4 is the busiest time for the majority of retailers, and many brands may be questioning the effect a secondary lockdown will have on their marketing strategy for the holiday season. 

Although some may feel like their Q4 strategy has been flipped upside down, it’s important for advertisers to return to the mindset that they were in earlier this year and be reactive to the market. The shape of Christmas will be different to what we know, and we will undoubtedly be seeing a huge uplift in online revenue as the uncertainty surrounding physical retail restrictions intensifies. Both Wales and Ireland (after the announcement of a secondary lockdown), saw a 55% increase in site traffic and 49% rise in revenue. Looking at the near 30% difference in revenue growth compared to England (20% rise) during that time, we can gain an indication of the further uplift in demand that we’ll likely see towards the end of the week and further into November. Businesses can respond to these insights by strengthening and cementing their digital presence, whilst optimising their content across all channels.

Whilst we may only be four days into November, the number of consumers panicking about Christmas delivery has risen fourfold. The increase in pressure being put on distribution centres – as a result of the restrictions to physical retail – is undeniably an element of concern for many customers, who have already started getting their gift and decoration orders in at the start of this month to avoid the risk of late delivery. This sudden shift in consumer spending adversely affects the holiday season as we know it, and advertisers will likely see a more spaced out Q4 than ever before.

As festive shoppers flock online, advertisers need to review and refine their planned assets, ensuring that all mentions of physical stores are removed and that their content is appropriate and sympathetic to the current situation. People are going to have more time on their hands this year, and with the current unrest in the jobs industry, price and value need to be key focal points within one’s strategy. Zoom quizzes are out, and competition is on the rise as we begin to see an uplift in consumers benchmarking products against competitors to find the best deal.

Although a second lockdown will have come as a tough blow to many retailers and small business owners, it’s important to note that this isn’t the end of the road for physical retail – far from it. Whilst this lockdown is already so different from the first, we will undoubtedly continue to see a magnitude of community spirit as we charge into the holiday season, with people continuing to support small businesses and charities throughout this uncertain period of time.

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