The way we shop for Christmas has changed over the years. Remember eagerly circling everything you wanted in the Argos catalogue? The days of flipping through paper pages are now a distant memory, and online shopping has become the go-to. Now, shoppers usually start their purchase journey on Google or Amazon.
Understanding how your audience is shopping and what they expect from retailers is key to having a successful holiday season. With more and more people hunting for Christmas goodies online, ecommerce retailers need to keep up and optimise accordingly.
Here are some of our top tips for getting the most out of the holiday period.
1. Keep track of your inventory
The last thing you want is to run out of stock during a busy season. Keeping track of your stock levels can help avoid disappointment and keep your customers happy.
You can make use of real-time inventory updates via product information management systems to accurately keep track of your inventory. A worst-case scenario would be shoppers purchasing out-of-stock items, forcing them to wait for your next delivery, which isn’t an enjoyable experience during an already stressful shopping period. Consumers expect the online stock levels they see to be accurate, so keeping up with this is crucial.
Search data is an invaluable resource when it comes to optimising any part of your ecommerce strategy, and you can use this data to understand your most popular product lines, and which are most likely to run out of stock. This way you can accurately predict which products you need to have more of in the run-up to Christmas.
With a busy shopping period comes more search traffic. It’s a good idea to take advantage of surges in traffic and get your products in front of the most interested shoppers.
Since the top position of the carousel receives the most impressions, this is where you want your product(s) to be, particularly when the search term has historically shown a high conversion rate. Bidding on a granular SKU and search term level gives you the best chance of competing. This can be done with AI and machine learning, since performing this task manually would be hugely time-consuming.
Smaller retailers may be more wary of using AI, wrongly thinking they are an expensive solution to a small problem. The benefits of automation, however, can be plentiful and can help you drive customers to your website, which also offers the opportunity to collect first-party data.
3. Use first-party data
With the gradual removal of third-party cookies, using first-party data is going to become increasingly more important.
You can use first-party data to target previous customers and remarket to them as if they were first-time customers. You can do this to tempt shoppers back with promotions or exclusive offers, especially since people love a Christmastime bargain.
4. Look at previously successful channels
If a channel has performed well and been profitable in the past, turn your focus to that and see how you can improve it even further.
Depending on your vertical, some channels will work better for you. Maybe Instagram or Facebook have been key to gaining awareness in the past, or perhaps your products perform well in a marketplace. Knowing how your shoppers find you will help you meet them where they’re at, hopefully leading to more conversions.
Don’t forget about the nuts and bolts of whether or not your website(s) can actually handle large amounts of traffic. Being prepared for large surges of viewers is imperative for both providing a good customer experience, and avoiding frustrated shoppers.
Optimising your website(s) and social pages, if they’re likely to be the first place your potential customers go to, will help them progress in their purchase journey.
Not only will there be increased traffic to your websites, but search engines like Google will be experiencing more searches than usual. You can take advantage of spikes in search traffic to inform your Google Shopping bidding strategy, helping your ads show in front of the most relevant shoppers at the best time.
This festive period, make sure you’re looking at all processes you have in place - from your warehouse practices and inventory tracking, to search term refinement and website testing. This will put you in the best position to conquer the market this wintertime.
If you're interested in maximising your Google Shopping channel, book a free consultation with one of our specialists today.