Consumer spending on holiday gifts this year is on par with last year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation. The vast majority of respondents say they could be convinced to start shopping earlier than they typically do through incentives like holiday deals or to avoid crowds or the stress of last-minute shopping.
Holiday cause partnerships are also starting early and pivoting in creative ways to adapt to this year’s retail reality.
For example, for a new Rescue Christmas initiative this year, Walmart and The Salvation Army are expanding their Angel Tree and Red Kettle programs (which will be out earlier this year) and, for the first time in their 40-year history, will feature round-up donations to The Salvation Army both in-store and online.
As part of its Thanks and Giving campaign, St. Jude* has created social distancing collateral for retail partners like Best Buy and in-store shoppers including plexi-glass and floor markers, specialty QR codes to drive donations and fulfillment inserts for delivery and curbside pick-up.
Macy’s* iconic National Believe Day will be expanded to a full week, providing customers the opportunity to double their donations to Make-A-Wish America ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million). Macy’s stores, Make-A-Wish chapters and community partners across the country will also host digital letter parties and encourage letter drop-offs through Macy’s Curbside Pickup for enhanced safety, Digital letter submissions is also an option for consumers this year.
What can these partnerships teach us?
Meet Changing Needs – Although plexi-glass and face masks weren’t likely on anyone’s roadmap for 2020 at this time last year, finding clever ways to customize PPE and safety equipment to promote a cause is a terrific way to increase visibility and awareness.
Leverage Technology – Point of sale asks in-store may be negatively impacted this year due to lower foot traffic, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t meet consumers with an ask (try round-up!) where they are: online and in-app.
Re-Assess Timelines – Consumers appear to be willing to start holiday festivities early and hopefully, their spirit of generosity will come along with them. Meeting charitable commitments may take additional time, additional channels and a healthy dose of patience in 2020-2021.
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