6 consumer insights to get your small business holiday ready

2 minute read

It’s the most wonderful time of year and Canadian customers are already doing their holiday shopping. You’ve probably spent several months preparing your business to tackle it all. To help you make the most of it, here is a checklist of 6 tips for peak season. They’re the key takeaways from our latest shopper survey.

1. Offer seasonal sales and discounts

Inflation has driven the cost of goods and services up, but many shoppers haven’t increased their budgets for the holidays. In our survey, 9 in 10 shoppers said they’ll spend the same or less than last year. This means many holiday shoppers are, and will be, searching for deals this year.

Be sure to promote and feature festive deals and offers – from deep discounts to weekly promotions.

2. Help shoppers shop in store and online

This year, Canadians will be shopping both online and in-store:

  • 9% purchase everything online and try to avoid shopping in store.
  • 26% purchase most things online but will go in store for some purchases.
  • 28% purchase half in store and half online.
  • 25% purchase most things in store but make some purchases online.
  • 13% purchase everything in store and try to avoid shopping online.

If you have an online store and physical retail locations, now is the time to sync your online and in-store presence. Shopping from your business should be convenient, organized and easy for shoppers – whether they want to shop online, compare in-store and online prices or visit in person. It’s also a good time to host immersive in-store shopping experiences that attract and engage customers. If you’re an online store planning to host a pop-up shop or 2 this holiday season, be sure to let your online customers know where they can find you physically.

3. Catch the tails of early bird shoppers right now

According to our survey, 16% of shoppers begin their holiday shopping as early as September and October while others pick up gifts at different times throughout the year. But 41% of those surveyed do their holiday shopping between now and the holidays.

Take advantage of the tail end of early bird shopping season by promoting sales during big pre-holiday shopping days like Black Friday.

4. Help customers find the right gifts with bookmarks and wish lists

Shoppers are looking for thoughtful presents that their friends and family members will remember and appreciate. You can make shopping easier by offering convenient bookmarks and wish lists for easy sharing. Consider offering additional rewards for users who share what they want through social media, text and email.

5. Think ahead about returns

Frosty return policies can put holiday purchases on ice. In fact, 40 per cent of Canadian shoppers have refrained from making a holiday purchase due to concerns over a return policy.

To reduce barriers to purchase, make your return policy clear and easy to find, extend the return window beyond the holidays and offer standard and gift receipt options for a smooth and seamless holiday return process.

6. Tailor your messaging to your customers’ personalities

We’ve uncovered four main shopper personalities:

  1. Thoughtful gifters
  2. Deal gifters
  3. Cash gifters
  4. Extravagant gifters

While you may not be able to tailor your messaging to all four of these groups, you should think about what motivates your ideal customers to buy from you and ensure your offers resonate with them.

We hope these tips help your small business sleigh the holidays in 2023.

See if you’re ready for the holidays

Use our small business holiday season checklist.

Get checklist
1 Phase 5. 2023 eShopper survey, May 2023.