Analysts expect a strong holiday shopping season for retailers, with projected revenue increases of 7% to 9% over the past year. According to Deloitte, holiday sales could reach $1.3 trillion between November and January.
More than two-thirds of shoppers (66%) of shoppers looking to shop in-store will search online to find the best locations, gifts, and deals. The stakes are higher for e-commerce retailers, as competition is fiercer than ever.
For both real-world and online retailers, a strong online presence in search is integral to sales success this holiday season.
In this column, you’ll find five tips you can put to work today to prepare your retail gifts for the upcoming rush of holiday shoppers.
1. Put your SEO vision to work this holiday shopping season
Companies face challenges in meeting consumers with improvements and customizations that meet their needs today, rather than what they were in years or months ago.
More than a year and a half of disruption caused by the pandemic has proven the need for real-time customer insights.
Only using data from previous holiday seasons to inform on this year’s campaigns will leave retailers trying to cater to a largely moved audience.
SEO Insights is as close to a real-time voice of the customer as possible.
Marketers should look at macro trends and industry-wide conditions as well as their own consumer research insights, on-site behavior, reviews, and other real-time data to inform holiday content creation and campaign planning.
Collecting, analyzing, and activating these insights at any type of scale requires a technology solution to automate the collection and analysis process. Some solutions can make this data work instantly with automated personalization as well.
2. Ahead of emerging trends
Speaking of macro trends, it’s important to be aware of the items consumers are most interested in buying this year.
These trends may be affected by where people emerge from the pandemic and the restrictions in place.
for example, last spring With lockdowns ending in many places across the country, clothing and luxury items like cologne are hot ticket items.
It is important to be aware of what may appear as trends in the geographical locations you serve and target with your paid advertising.
Analyzing the keywords people use to find your sites, researching your Google business insights, scouting for trends, and social listening can provide clues as to what categories of products or services you could be next.
For example, our internal data at BrightEdge (my company) shows growth spikes and dips across various categories. This data suggests that apparel and footwear will be big hits this year, with nearly half of the keywords tracked looking to be up 20% from the previous year.
3. Personalize content to meet holiday shopping intent and demand
This year, it’s all about ensuring that your content and campaigns match the search content of consumers looking for products and services like what you offer.
This means not only understanding “what” but also Why Certain consumers may be looking for your products.
Optimizing your videos, image descriptions, and alt text can help them get discovered in YouTube, Google Images, and rich search results.
Make sure that each page has headers, headings, and other on-page elements that use appropriate keywords. Remember to also go over keywords with descriptive content that reflects your understanding of the problem the shopper needs to solve.
Ensure that you customize the entire content experience from start to finish, and that the post-click destination matches the intent of the searcher who chose to click on that ad or search result.
Use AI-powered technology where possible to personalize content in real time, better meeting the expressed needs of searchers and site visitors. Research shows that personalized product recommendations pay 26% Average higher order value (AOV).
4. Prioritizing the searcher’s shopping experience
Make sure your website infrastructure will meet the holiday season traffic demands.
Page speed has been essential to customer experience and conversion for several years now. But with the introduction of Core Web Vitals and refresh of the page experience, Google is set to reward retailers that deliver more optimized experiences with greater visibility across search, local and mobile.
Simply put, if your competitors are optimizing for CX and you’re not, you may not even get a chance with that customer.
Having a technically sound website is key. Ensure images are adequately compressed, use a CDN where possible and do whatever is necessary to ensure reaction time is under 0.1sec.
Add a bottom line, publish a breadcrumb, and structure your data with the element schema. Help Google understand how your content is the best answer for each relevant searcher.
5. Think interaction all the way through to maximize search impact
Holiday shopping is no longer a linear process. Go to the store > browse the shelves > choose the item > pay at the cashier It is now a rarity when it comes to the holiday shopper’s trip.
Customers may be in the store and interacting with your customer service agents, but they are also searching online for comparison prices and nearby locations that might sell the same products and e-commerce options.
Even when you earn the click and the visitor interacts with your landing page, they may also search and browse for deals.
It is essential at every point of touch and interaction to provide content that makes it easier for shoppers to take the next step.
It starts with optimized content that leads in search; They are discovered by enthusiastic consumers who are open and receptive to new brands, products, and ideas.
But then the next stage of this reaction must come.
Your lead magnets need to deliver on the relevance of the content, how the content is loaded and displayed, whether the information provided answers all shopper questions, and so on.
Don’t make them search for offers, coupons or reviews. They will likely switch to another retailer that will make shopping a smoother transaction.
Also keep in mind that the same customer may choose to interact with you in different channels for different reasons. They may be browsing to search, turning to Facebook messenger to ask questions, and then going to the store to complete a purchase.
In fact, 76% of customers prefer different channels depending on the context of their needs.
Look at each journey as a whole and make sure there are no stops along the way. For example, you don’t want to run Google ads driving traffic to stores outside of their hours.
Likewise, there is no point in spending the budget on promoting out-of-stock items.
Quality experiences will win Touchpoint quantity this holiday shopping season
Quality will win over quantity this holiday season – good interactions, messaging and experiences will drive sales among a consumer base fatigued from the information overload inherent to a protracted pandemic.
Focus on understanding what types of content resonate, where they align with high-demand categories, and how you’ll deliver a seamless, exceptional experience from discovery through to sale.
Then use AI and automation where possible to scale your efforts.
This is the time to integrate technology, content, and workflows to engage, delight, and convert customers throughout the holiday season.
- Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist: 6 Essentials
- 18 Safe Ways to Set Up and Optimize Your Website for the Holidays
- The Complete Guide to Holiday Marketing
Featured image: Lightspring/Shutterstock