The holidays are amongst us (seriously, where did 2016 go?!). The tools with which online retailers can enhance their digital strategies are developing at a faster rate than ever before.
With the usage of Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Bots, advertisers are sure to break new ground this year. But advertisers should also not forget about the basics – be creative and innovate for sure, but also check that your tried and trusted strategies are as effective and efficient as ever.
Here are some tips to help keep you focused on both sides of the coin:
For most retailers, this is the most important time of the year – treat is as such. Businesses need to prepare and plan early, don’t wait until September or October next year, start thinking about and preparing for 2017 Holidays as early as Q1. Online sales are expected to grow close to $120 billion this year, this number is only expected to grow from here.
Think about Broad Browsing Behaviour
Paid search best practices are often to be as specific to searcher intent as possible, but browsing behaviour is so much more important during the holidays and therefore, generic and broad keywords are important to get the undecided and uninformed shopper to your site. Ensure you’re attributing credit properly here too, as these searchers are more likely to complete a purchase on a separate follow-up visit.
Once you’ve gotten people to your site, make the most of their initial visit. Avoid generic approaches and try something unique. In particular, experiment with adding a virtual personal shopper, use AI, Bots or Conversational Commerce to guide the user along the purchase path. We also can’t wait to see how brands are going to the make the most of the Virtual Reality boom this year! For example, Alibaba have created a VR store where shoppers can browse around online stores just like they would in real, physical locations. How else are retailers going to utilise this tech? Watch this space!
Keep your Shopping Campaigns Fresh
Ensure your Shopping campaigns are structured to allow for ROI focused budgeting. Product feeds should be optimised correctly in accordance with the updated taxonomy on Google’s best practices. For example, in your product descriptions instead of saying “men’s” or “girl’s”, use “male” and “female” to describe your target demographics within your product feeds. This will help to ensure your Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) will match to the most relevant searches.
Encourage re-engagement with your Apps
30 days after being downloaded, less than 4% of Android and iOS apps still had active users. Use app re-engagement techniques to get the user interacting with your app again. Push notifications can be very effective in reminding users that they have your app, while app engagement campaigns through both Search and Display can be effective in driving users back to specific areas of your app. Also, ensure your app is constantly updated; for the holidays include a seasonal theme, for example, offer deals that are unique to the app. Finally, for stores with physical locations, utilise geo-proximity capabilities through your app; for example, someone with your app is within 1 mile of your store, send them a notification with an incentive to visit your location and make a purchase!
Convenience is Everything
Previously, Holiday shoppers were keen to allow for enough time for delivery. With the likes of Amazon Prime providing same-day delivery, this isn’t as much of a concern. Stores with physical locations can also encourage more last-minute sales by offering “Buy Online, Collect In-Store” offers. Return in-store offers for unsatisfied buyers is also likely to help close online purchases, especially for items such as clothing/shoes which have higher return rates due to not being the right fit.
Watch your Competition
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, are you still competitive with your product pricing? Also, what innovative strategies are they trying that could work for you? As a rule, be confident in your own approach and prepare properly and extensively, but don’t write off your competitors, they’re smart too!