With lights, decorations, and sidewalk Santas, it’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season. Unfortunately, it’s also looking like the pandemic will put a damper on our usual holiday fun. Most brands have considered what socially distanced store capacity and the danger of COVID exposure may do to their bottom line. Their marketing reflects that understanding, not only for the potential danger that holiday shopping might bring, but also for consumers’ desire to experience some normalcy during the holidays.

The stark reality is that holiday shopping will be different this year. It’s important for brands to let their customers know how they plan to deliver a positive customer experience to help make their holidays as merry as possible while being as responsible as possible.

Here are some brands that are nailing their 2020 COVID holiday marketing.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Interactive Experience

However convenient online shopping has become in recent years, many consumers still love the hustle and hubbub of buying gifts in physical stores. The sounds of holiday music in the air, the smell of cinnamon and spice—these are holiday shopping staples most consumers won’t experience this year.

Tommy Hilfiger has shown it recognizes the importance of the holiday shopping experience with the creation of the brand’s interactive, immersive online store. This is no ordinary eCommerce site. The choose-your-own-adventure-style navigation leads you through various store departments, from shoes and handbags to jeans and sweaters. Little bonuses await every turn, including some hot chocolate recipes, tutorials for creating sustainable gift wrap, and instructions to make DIY scent diffusers. You know, so you can still smell the cinnamon and spice as you shop.

No screenshot can do this site justice, but here’s where your journey will begin, complete with those happy holiday tunes.

Comfort and Joy from Bath & Body Works

For the 85% of consumers who plan to shop in a brick-and-mortar store this season, some information about how your brand intends to keep them safe will go a long way toward easing them through the door.

This email marketing from Bath & Body Works brings immediate comfort to anyone who might be a little nervous about setting foot inside stores until there’s a vaccine. With clear instructions on how to shop safely and an emphasis on the word “guidelines” to show these aren’t just suggestions, the brand helps to assure potential shoppers right away.

And for those who still choose to shop from a distance, there are additional options listed at the bottom of the email. The more options buyers have, the more comfortable they’ll feel when it’s time to make their purchases. In-store, online, and curbside pickup leaves absolutely no stone unturned.

Target Extends the Season

Capacity restraints take a lot of the excitement and buzz out of things like Black Friday. With fewer people allowed in the stores, fewer will have the opportunity to enjoy those doorbuster deals that many brands offer during this time of year.

Target understands this and is handling the problem in two different ways: First, by extending “Black Friday” into “Black November.” The store is offering Black Friday-style deals all month so buyers can take advantage of the savings without needing to walk the aisles.

Though the excitement of discounts may fade over the extended time period, Target has created “surprise” deals that change regularly so buyers can still feel the thrill that comes with those holiday savings.

World Market Gets Transparent

The coronavirus pandemic has affected shipping in various ways, and none are good. Delays due to increased online shopping plus staff shortages due to illness or mandatory quarantines have plagued all delivery services since March when most cities around the country put lockdown measures in place. These delays are only expected to worsen as the holiday season arrives, and an influx of online purchases puts a strain on shipping companies across the country. Some outlets predict a 25% jump in eCommerce sales for the 2020 holidays, which could lead to package providers exceeding capacity by 5% during the prime holiday shipping weeks. That’s a potential 700 million gifts that might not arrive on time.

World Market took the opportunity to make this abundantly clear to its customers through a well-worded email marketing campaign. After assuring customers that holiday shopping will continue as it always has in World Market stores, the CEO then explains the issues with shipping to make clear what buyers should expect when trying to get gifts and treats shipped on time.

Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse Just Asks

Some undeniable truths exist around the pandemic, and one such truth is that every brand has a different plan for handling it. Determining your marketing strategy for this unusual holiday season can get a bit hairy if you don’t understand your customers’ wants and needs.

Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse understood this and planned for different opinions when they sent out this email survey. The survey gives consumers the opportunity to explain how they plan to shop this year, and what steps the brand can take to make the season as merry and bright as possible.

2020 holiday shoppers are looking for fun and safe shopping experiences (digital or traditional) that are meaningful and with emotional connections. If you haven’t addressed your customers’ concerns surrounding holiday shopping during a pandemic, you need to start now. Adjust your marketing strategies to better cut through the noise and reach consumers with your shopping messages during this challenging holiday period.