Omnichannel Retail Strategies for an Uncertain 2020 Holiday

Retailers can prepare for both scenarios – being open or being closed this holiday season – with these tips.
Updated on October 15, 2020

Has there ever been a holiday season as shifting and uncertain as this one? Earlier in the summer, retail sales surged as restrictions were lifted and more stores reopened. At the same time, several retailers said they’ll be closed on Thanksgiving. But our consumer survey shows that 40% of Americans are more comfortable shopping in-store than they were a few months ago.

Naturally, omnichannel retailers are looking ahead to their biggest sales season and wondering what shape it will take this year. Will there be a second wave of the virus and a return to store closures and online shopping? Or will we contain cases and see continued growth in store shopping?

Retailers can prepare for both scenarios – being open or being closed this holiday season – with campaigns that drive acquisition and loyalty both online and offline.

Here’s what retailers can do to succeed this holiday:

Be the brand they stick with, both online and offline.

Things like out of stock items, long delivery times, and lack of buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) options have caused consumers to shop around and switch brands. With shoppers feeling less loyal, staying connected and communicating your value is more important than ever.

The right omnichannel solution can help you combine your ecommerce and brick and mortar data and enrich it with other data to get a full picture of your customers. Then, you can customize ads for a variety of audiences like the following:

  • Seasonal shoppers who typically buy from you during the holidays
  • Physical store shoppers and customers
  • Discount shoppers
  • Lapsed customers
  • Customers at risk of churning
  • High lifetime-value customers
  • Loyalty program members

Be the brand they switch to.

With loyalty up for grabs, this is also your chance to acquire new customers who are looking for alternatives. Filling the funnel now will help drive more holiday sales, whether shopping happens in store or online.

Target shoppers in market for your products, target recent website visitors who are also likely to visit a store, and/or use location technology to acquire new shoppers who:

  1. Visited your physical store but didn’t buy anything
  2. Were near your store, and visited your ecommerce site
  3. Browsed a specific brand or category page
  4. Visited a point of interest related to your business

Don’t wait to start your acquisition and re-engagement strategies.

Our data shows that in 2019, retail traffic was already up 46% in the US a full 10 days before Black Friday[1]. With Amazon Prime Day now rumored to be in the fall, consumers will be in a shopping, deal-seeking mindset earlier than ever. In addition, many consumers are planning to shop earlier to avoid crowds.

If stores must be closed during the holiday shopping season, being able to reach your in-store customers online will be crucial. Onboard your customer and sales data to find your store customers online. Then, segment your audiences and drive them to your website with personalized ads. You’ll also want to focus on re-engaging your current online visitors and customers.

If in-store shopping is possible, you’ll still want to start reaching shoppers now and let them know you’re open for business by engaging them online where they are researching their purchases. Then, use personalized ads that include their favorite store’s details to drive them to make a purchase in-store. A recent Google study found that 66% of shoppers plan to shop more at local small businesses[2], so the right ads with the right messaging (think: updated in-stock products, curbside pickup options, etc.) will be important to capture those shoppers. You can also use your ads to communicate store safety protocols to in-store customers. According to a recent survey by Radial, 63% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from a retailer they knew was following COVID-19 safety precautions in-store.

Need a solution for reaching your in-store customers online? Learn more about Criteo Omnichannel.

[1] Criteo Data, All Retail, United States, compared to average in October 2019.


Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

Senior Manager Global Content

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