4 ways e-commerce brands can tap into a lush summer of spending as people return to shopping and traveling this Memorial Day weekend

  • Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer in the US, and it’s a big shopping weekend.
  • As travel and shopping rebound, small businesses could capitalize on summer spending.
  • Consumer brands can do this by revamping their retail strategies and diving into new sales channels.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The pandemic isn’t over, but Americans seem to be more comfortable traveling, dining, and shopping — with or without full vaccination. Shoppers are returning to suburban strip malls and big retailers such as TJ Maxx and Target to splurge on new clothes, groceries, alcohol, and home decor.

This Memorial Day weekend, an estimated 37 million people are expected to travel, a 60% rebound from last year, the automotive company AAA reported.

The change of season, pent-up demand, and a big shopping holiday provide an opportunity for the smallest e-commerce brands to shake up their retail strategies, revamp their marketing, and dive into new sales channels.

Here are the trends we’re seeing in retail and how you can make the most of them this summer.

Set up a pop-up shop

If you’ve never had a brick-and-mortar location, this summer could be a good time to dip your toes into the retail pool. Although e-commerce gained popularity during the pandemic, people are returning to physical stores for the experience, touch, and customer service they missed. Opening a temporary pop-up store or snagging a booth at a summer market are two ways to test the waters, see what’s right for your business, and grow brand awareness with a hyperlocal customer base. 

Read more:

  • Small brands take their place in malls with pop-ups, department stores 
  • Humble shopping centers are the hot new real-estate asset 
  • A step-by-step guide to opening a pop-up food business 

Start livestreaming

During nationwide shutdowns, retailers risked closing their shops for good if they didn’t get the sales needed to pay rent. So some savvy store owners turned to livestream shopping, which has been a booming market in China for more than a decade, but has just recently hit the US. In similar fashion to a show on QVC or HSN, boutique owners can show off their latest products or auction off collectibles in real time, establishing a new way to reach customers at home. Now a store located in one city can reach viewers across the country, vastly widening its net of loyal customers. 

Livestreaming in the US is estimated to become a $25 billion market by 2023. Plus, you don’t need much to get started, so anyone with a product and a cellphone can do it. 

Read more:

  • How to sell on popular livestream-shopping apps: Popshop Live, Whatnot 
  • How to start a livestream-shopping business from scratch 

Improve your online store

An online presence is now an essential part of any business, and it’s important to keep things fresh and engaging. Any change of season or big holiday sale warrants a revamp of your e-commerce site and social-media pages. It’s also a good time to look at your customer-service offerings, logistics, and email marketing to ensure that more customers return to your store, even in slower months.

Read more:

  • How to create an e-commerce store on Shopify and integrate it with apps 
  • Amazon strategies to improve your e-commerce small business 
  • 6 email templates small businesses can use to drive holiday sales 

Dive into influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is still one of the most effective ways to gain customers and promote your brand. Depending on your budget and goals, you can start small by sending free products to micro-influencers or go big with a macro-influencer campaign. 

Pay attention to what people are searching for on Google and Pinterest this summer to cater your social-media posts, keywords, and hashtags to those trends. For example, Pinterest predicted that people would travel more by car this year, making road trips and weekend getaways. So you could market your product within that experience, whether you sell sunglasses or phone cases. 

Read more:

  • The entrepreneur’s ultimate guide to influencer marketing on Instagram 
  • Phone-case startup used Instagram micro-influencers to launch a brand 
  • How Life Is Good tapped into Gen Z influencers to resurrect the clothing brand
  • Pinterest 2021 predictions give 9 marketing trends for your small business 

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