Rachel Ullstrom / Account Director, Rio SEO
Online shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a key part of a successful holiday season – both online and in store. After the tryptophan wears off, consumers are expected to spend $1.63 billion on Black Friday this year.
Competition is high and buzz is already at a fever pitch – making last minute pivots, strategy and planning a necessary part of the holiday equation. I am suggesting a focused approach to get on consumer shopping lists and in influential social feeds to drive traffic, sales and perception lift.
Wish lists are a key component of online shopping. Making it easy for someone to share and access a targeted list of products is a great way to make your visitor a returning visitor, encourage sharing and loyalty, and drive discoverability. Amazon does a great job with wish lists. The etailer is great at integrating wish lists into the shopping and browsing experience. These lists are easy to create, searchable by name or e-mail, and make helpful product gift suggestions based on the purchases of similar consumers.
Suggestions and Categories
We all have someone in our lives who has everything, or whom we don’t know all that well on our lists. Lists like “Gifts for Him” or “Gifts for the Tech Enthusiast” drive discovery and the coveted impulse buy. Additionally categories like “Gifts under $50” and “Stocking Stuffers” help your budget-conscious consumers make purchase decisions quickly and with a positive savings association.
Pinterest is a virtual visual wish list of products, ideas, and projects. If you are not on Pinterest already, you still have time to create a branded profile and holiday gift suggestion boards. Making the lists more specific will enable search within the interface much simpler. Be sure your descriptions for all your items match likely keywords you already use for search. Hopefully, you already have created categories on your site and have a Pinterest share tool to enable your users to pin quickly and to help your social team pin effectively. An added bonus to creating your Pinterest gift idea boards is that the competition is low. Not many brands have begun yet – even though consumers are already making their lists and pinning away.
Branded applications are a great way to harness the power of mobile shoppers. Time-saving is a key component of online shopping. Integrating application-based lists into the in-store experience is a great way to ensure consumers make it to the register. The ability to seamlessly make and share lists from a mobile device helps with in-store discoverability, online list-making, sales, and driving traffic across the Web and in to brick-and-mortar stores. .
Now that you’ve helped consumers make their wish lists, how do you ensure that your product makes it into their shopping plan, while nudging them towards purchase and browse actions?
It is no secret that this is the season of the sale. In a recent Accenture survey, 94 percent of Amercian consumers said discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions (up from 84 percent in 2012). Additionally, 49 percent of the survey’s respondents also expect that three-quarters (or more) of their purchases will be discounted or sale items.
Rio SEO’s own data shows sweepstakes, coupons, and deal sites all have an increasing impact on short-term sales pushes. If you have a coupon or sale online, your consumers will hear about it, and so will other deal-seekers out there who may have overlooked you previously.
This year, 63 percent of consumers indicate they are likely to participate in “show rooming” (entering physical stores for research and product comparisons, but purchasing products online). Ensuring discoverability and deals both on your site, third-party deal sites, and via mobile devices is central to gaining traffic both online and in-store. Verifying your deals are competitive and available on mobile devices will also ensure success.
Online retailers should be aware that this year’s bargain-centric consumers will be tracking prices carefully and comparing often. In the Accenture survey, 39 percent indicated they would return an item and repurchase if they found it at a deeper discount after purchase. In addition, 24 percent said they will take advantage of extended return policies.
It is vitally important that online retailers offer deals and shipping offers to drive the purchase decision, but also to retain that purchase through the post-holiday returns.
A recent survey conducted by The E-tailing Group found that 85 percent of respondents were more likely to take advantage of free shipping with no conditions over other promotions this holiday season. Free shipping is increasingly important to compete with vendors like Amazon, which offers a wide range of products and drives loyalty through free shipping programs.
Shipping is a relatively fixed cost item. As the holidays come closer, guaranteed delivery will be key in ensuring you get the sale over your competitors. For the cost-conscious online and brick-and-mortar retailer, the increasingly popular concept of “buy online and pick-up in-store” is a great alternative bringing in both the online sale and foot traffic.
Another viable holiday marketing tactic involves retargeted ads. With so many consumers’ window and comparison shopping across desktops and mobile devices, reaching them wherever they are with targeted deals is increasingly important. Retarget users with items in their cart and visitors who share items aggressively. These are the folks who have already indicated a higher purchase intent and are more likely to make a purchase if offered a deal on a product or service about which they are already i interested..
Here’s to a joyous and successful holiday season. For more holiday campaign tips, please visit our Social Media ROI Tips & Tricks for the holidays