Covid 19-And Holiday Shopping


Published: November 15, 2020

With covid-19 out of control, various state-governments are imposing or suggesting that those who can work-at-home and only essential businesses should open. With over 225,000 Americans dead and no end in sight for the death total to end, and with Thanksgiving about two weeks away, how are families to celebrate this year? Consumers are anxious about being in large crowds. So how is a merchant to pivot and develop a new marketing strategy for the holiday seasons and ending the business year?

Traditionally over the years, this is the time that merchants are gearing up for the holiday shopping and increasing inventory to handle the increase in business in their small business establishments, not this year, merchants are scared and wondering if they will make out of 2020 into 2021. Nevertheless, being an essential business as you are, open while others are closed is a blessing, so you must prepare to increase food traffic to compensate for other merchants closed.

And this is where I come in; my name is Dr. Donald E. Mitchell. I operate and manage a marketing and small business consulting agency in Southfield, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. Our objective through our partnership with various lenders around the country is to provide capital to small businesses to help them expand and enlarge their businesses. So, the question is, do you have enough money to hold you over the holiday season and have the proper inventory or any other business needs to meet the needs of the patrons that are coming visit you? Allow me to share with you the difference between traditional and alternative funding.

In the past, the only way merchants could borrow money was from their banks or the credit union; the time has changed. There are other options today due to the rise of alternative financing. All businesses need capital to grow their businesses; the question is how much? Traditional banks and credit unions think that they base their loans on the borrower’s credit history, credit score, cash flow, and one’s projected income in terms of risk adverseness. And they more than likely will ask for collateral to safeguard the loan from the borrower’s default.

They often have a longer processing time, which can take up to 4-12 weeks for a decision. Simultaneously, alternative sources can decide within hours and deposit proceeds within 24 hours into the borrower’s account. And alternative financing sources usually don’t ask for collateral. Banks will offer the borrower a lower discount, while alternative sources will charge a higher fee. There is generally no out-of-pocket cost; they come out of the loan proceeds once the loan is approved, and this is true for both financial organizations.

Through the use of technology, this process is quick and straightforward. Our partner will ask a few basic questions about you, this is the same information on your driver’s license, and a few questions about your business. This process allows our lender partner to make decisions quickly within hours. Once the application is approved, our lending partner will communicate with you, the borrower, discuss the option, finalize the loan, and ACH the proceeds into your bank account. If you need capital, contact us, and we will make it happen quickly; remember, there are no upfront fees, so where do you lose?

Covid-19 Holiday Shopping

Kiplinger did an article on the projected shopping trends of this year’s pandemic shopping. Kiplinger suggests that 60% of consumers will purchase this year online due to covid-19. Consumers are anxious about shopping in crowds, and therefore merchants are revamping how they market their products, and more and more merchants use services-e-commerced websites to off-set in-store traffic. Big retailers such as Target, Amazon started their sales campaigns in July-October, getting a jump on the consumer new shopping trend.

Consumers started their holiday shopping weeks ago, and some were able to snag deep-discounts in the process. Consumers purchase needed goods online, such as groceries and other personalized goods they usually travel to obtain. The entire ecosystem on how consumer buy has changed to online purchasing and this phenomenon will continue at least for the next couple of years. Merchants have taken note of this new trend and are promoting e-commerce shopping more than before.

Those who did not have websites are scrambling to have developed for this holiday season and beyond. And those who do are revamping them to make them relevant for this season. Some merchants are providing free shipping and handling for the business while others are discounting the same. From the merchant’s standpoint, it all about the buyer’s experience with them.

The most significant saving for those shopping from home is Monday, November 23, 2020, leading up to Black Friday. During this time, the prices are similar to that of Black Friday. Gift cards are a popular item this holiday; the bearer can decide what they want and keep the buyer out of crowds’ traffic. And the digital version of the card is being used this year too.

Those who buy online but don’t want to wait for the merchandise delivered have curbside delivery, and outstanding saving goes along with this pickup process. But if one wants to go to the big box stores, be prepared for the long lines and long wait time, ah yes, the tradition of standing in line this time of the season. And retailers are practicing social distancing for those who wish to participate in this holiday season, standing inline.

Merchant is extending the holiday return policy this year due to the online shopping phenomenon; this will put a smile on many consumers. So, either shop until you drop or shop in the convenience of your pajamas, the outcome is still the same; spend that money. If you need website development or your site redeveloped and have it e-commerced enable to accept credit cards, contact us. We will make it happen in time to take advantage of the shopping experience.
Donald E. Mitchell, D.B.A., M.B.A., B.B.A.