How to make the most of an unusual holiday season

Whether you have been naughty or nice this year, the holiday spending season is certainly going to look different.

Americans have significantly changed the way they shop, leaning into online ordering and delivery. Staying in tune with changing consumer shopping habits can make the most of your holiday season. Here are our tips to get your business ready:

In Restaurants:

Restaurants have undoubtedly taken a hit this year. However, amongst the chaos, there are several silver linings and opportunities for restaurants to consider and capitalize on.

New regulations have forced many restaurants to shut down in-door dining entirely.


By now, it is no secret that takeout has become a popular alternative to indoor dining.

Since February, adult takeout consumption has skyrocketed. According to the National Restaurant Association, by early November, the percentage of adults ordering takeout for dinner jumped from 58% to 66% and the percentage of adults ordering takeout for lunch jumped from 37% to 47% for lunch in February. In addition to this, the demand for delivery has increased 135 times.

This change is expected to stay based on the fact that most of the adults who had takeout in early November expressed that they would continue to do so in the next three months.

Given this information, restaurant owners need to do whatever they can to capitalize on the new takeout and delivery craze. This can mean several things, including reconfiguring the restaurant layout for takeout, offering curb side delivery, and utilizing mobile delivery apps such as Postmates and UberEats.

Outdoor Dining

The numbers don’t exclusively favor takeout. Out of the people who indicated they had ordered takeout in early November, 44% of them said they would likely eat at a restaurant and sit outside in an enclosed heated tent as long as social distancing measures were followed.

Outlawing indoor dining has caused many restaurants to get creative when setting up outdoor dining.

Given this and the ever-changing laws and regulations concerning indoor dining, at least for the near future, setting up a proper outdoor dining area is a must have for restaurants. Now that winter is approaching, it’s a good idea for restaurants to invest in some heaters, outdoor tents, as well as renovations to outdoor patios.

Hope for Indoor Dining

According to another survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 78% of adults agree that going out to their favorite restaurant is one of the things they miss the most during the previous months of shutdowns.

This, coupled with the fact that 63% of adults say they would rather spend money on an experience rather than purely transactional items, is a strong indication that Zoom meetings and takeout food have not proven to be a proper substitution for a traditional restaurant experience.

Although consumers as a whole are going to restaurants less, they still miss the experience of going to a restaurant and will likely return when uncertainty caused by the coronavirus subsides. The experience of dining with friends and family in a restaurant is severely missed these days and has not been forgotten.

In Retail:

Make Pickup Orders Painless

The traditional scene of Christmas shopping crowds feels like a distant memory this year. Although many shoppers are physically absent, this doesn’t mean that their purchases are gone as well. Customers have embraced online ordering, pickup, and delivery. With shipping delays as a concern, order pickup has become a secret weapon for many major retailers.

Ahead of the holiday season, retail owners need to create a strategy to make the order pickup process as efficient as possible. Staying organized, training, and utilizing available space are all factors of success. Simply rethinking the way space is used can make a world of difference; keeping pickup orders organized in a designated area minimizes wait times and leaves customers happy. Balancing pickup orders and in-store shoppers require employees to divide and conquer, ensuring that no one feels ignored.

Embrace the “Christmas Creep”

With the holiday calendar in disarray due to the pandemic, it’s highly likely that the holiday shopping season will start earlier than ever this year. Since many traditional Black Friday sales have been tossed out, companies including Hasbro, Target, and Macy’s have signaled plans to offer discounts over a longer period. Instead of planning for door-busting crowds, embrace the so-called “Christmas Creep.” Spreading out sales over an extended season won’t feel like previous years, but it caters to shoppers’ new normal.

Keep High-Value Customers Happy

The often-cited 80/20 rule, via which 80% of profits are thought to come from 20% of a retailer’s customers, can be true to a certain degree. Most retailers make a disproportionate amount of profits from a relatively small pool of loyal customers, and it is critical to show them you care. Some of these high-value customers may be hesitant because of health and safety concerns.

To combat this issue, give clear signals about health precautions being made — post clear signage detailing health measures and cleaning policies. Include these measures in online newsletters and promotions. Effective communication of these policies can bring some online shoppers back into the store and can help recoup the last-minute impulse buys that are lost when customers switch to e-commerce.

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