Between Covid-19 fatigue and strong demand for e-commerce, Rico Chan, the co-head for Asia Pacific at Verizon Media, says brands with the right approach online have a lot to be excited about going into 2020’s year-end shopping season.
With Covid-19 accelerating digitisation and social distancing changing the way we shop, the 2020 year-end shopping season could be the most ‘digital’ yet in the region. The recent 9.9 sales, which kicked off the year-end shopping season in South East Asia, surpassed last year’s profits with a rise in midnight sales and live streams. Sticking behaviour from the pandemic continues to fuel the growth of e-commerce. But that’s not the only trend brands can tap into this holiday season.
With greater digital adoption, consumers’ digital confidence has grown. This has been a year when new and existing users have overwhelmingly moved online to digital channels; a year when consumers have discovered new passions and hobbies that will drive gift buying.
By augmenting their presence online and being discoverable at the moment when it matters to audiences, brands can seize a host of new opportunities emerging in the post-Covid landscape.
Ad experiences for the ‘new normal’ shopper
The motivation to shop has not diminished, even as shopping behaviour evolved through the pandemic. This time last year, our research showed 78% of consumers in Europe were looking to purchase gifts online – what was ‘convenient’ then is now a ‘necessity’ in many pockets of the region, given the health risks of Covid-19.
Brands that succeed in delivering elevated digital experiences to Covid-fatigued customers, inspiring them to action while providing utility, will have a clear advantage this holiday season. Advertisers can now create content with creative commerce product integrations such as in-video shopping, augmented reality, face filters and more, to capture interest online. Augmented reality experiences, for example, blend fun with instant utility by helping customers evaluate and test products virtually before buying them.
Shoppable content formats can lead to unexpected discoveries for audiences by giving them everything they need to take action during key shopping moments when they’re already engaged. By reaching consumers with content that can drive purchases that are useful and helpful for them online, brands can combine information and inspiration, with context and convenience – especially useful in a year when physical shopping continues to take a backseat. This Amazon Prime Day, the Yahoo Shopping editorial team in Singapore hand-picked and curated deals and promos they loved – all the way from espresso machines to lifestyle and beauty deals, bridging the gap between discovery and purchase for users.
Immersive mobile native ad formats can similarly give advertisers powerful options to reach and engage shoppers at the right moment. Native ad formats such as dynamic product ads recapture the attention of users who have shown interest in a product – helpful in the holiday season when consumers are looking to actively buy, not just browse. Countdown ads, likewise, are perfect for holiday flash sales and daily deals, by helping close the loop faster. Our research shows that 80% of consumers in the US said the countdown feature encourages them to purchase more quickly.
Tune into what consumers want right now
Marketing plans for this year-end shopping season will have to adapt to new normal habits and new-found passions of consumers. At the height of the pandemic, we saw a 64% spike in searches in Singapore for ‘how-to’ recipes on Yahoo. Many people have picked up new skills, whether it’s cooking at home or exploring offbeat interests. Consider how your product can cater to this shift, feeding into new hobbies and evolving consumer behaviour.
Reassess what people want during this time of year with up-to-date insights. Data from a recent campaign in Singapore revealed that wireless earbuds and headphones were the most popular product in the electronic components and home audio category on Amazon.sg during Yahoo Singapore’s Prime Day Campaign in 2020 – not surprising in a year when many more people found multiple uses for these accessories at home. Brands must also consider if the same things that engaged consumers during the lockdown will still be interesting for them in the year-end holiday. As an example, what are some complementary products you can offer high-value purchasers who might have already pre-bought their usual year-end purchases earlier in the year?
Think personal and local for impact
Consider what consumers will appreciate this year in their new circumstances. Our research suggests a much more personal and local holiday season in 2020, with an increase in remote and personalised gifting. Consumers intend to stay local, with close family and friends and are less likely to travel abroad. Hyperlocal experiences are on the rise with domestic tourism and #supportlocal trends. Ad messaging and campaigns need to resonate with this shift and follow suit.
Audiences are now seeking experiences that offer interaction and connection with things that matter most to them. By delivering digital experiences that are immersive, relevant, useful, personal and, above all, fun, brands can reclaim lost ground this holiday shopping season, turning inspiration into action.
Rico Chan is the co-head for Asia Pacific at Verizon Media.
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