Are Online Retailers Ready For The Silly Season?

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The holiday season is upon us, but are retailers ready for the the customer demand? Marin Software’s Jay Revels has found four areas retailers need to be fully prepped for.

The holiday season generates some of the largest sales opportunities of the year for online retailers. In order to capitalise on this lucrative period, it is vital that retailers have a solid online marketing strategy in place. As search, display, social and mobile continue to demonstrate increasing growth year-on-year, it is crucial that these platforms be considered in any successful online marketing plan.

Meanwhile, having the flexibility to quickly act upon any unforseen opportunities that arise during the season – such as climatic changes that may place more demand on a product – is perhaps the most important of them all. Think heatwaves and portable air-conditioners.

As the season is almost underway, the below information will help ensure you’ve ticked all your boxes and you’re ready to bring in sales.

Be mobile ready

When people are on holiday and away from work they rely on their smartphones more than usual to seek information and make purchases. Therefore mobile optimised campaigns allow consumers easy access to your products and services whilst on the move. To market successfully on mobile phones, retailers need to take screen size into consideration and only serve ads and information that present well in a small space.

Marketers should leverage position-based bidding to ensure ads are delivered in the first three positions on search engines and endeavour to include location based ads to point consumers to the nearest store.

Embrace social platforms

As social media continues to grow exponentially year-on-year, it is important that campaigns embrace these social platforms. Shoppers are increasingly relying on social connections for the latest information and news on products and special offers.

Advertisers need to take note of the role social media plays in the buying journey to understand how it can leverage more sales. For example, when utilising Facebook advertisers should use techniques such as fan-only specials and coupons that focus on measurable, revenue generating activities.

However, Facebook should not be used as a stand-alone channel, marketers should make sure that they are strengthening relationships by interacting with fans via other channels such as Twitter to increase the likelihood of a purchase.

Implement Product Listing Ads (PLA)

By implementing PLAs, marketers can successfully engage more shoppers during the holiday season. These content rich search ads are designed to be highly visible, making it easier for Google shoppers to find and compare products. PLAs have significantly higher click-through-rates than standard ads because they incorporate images, prices and retailer names which better engage audiences. Using PLAs will make sure your ad stands out in a crowded holiday marketplace.

Retargeting lists and buyer profiles

Prior to the holiday season, it is essential to create retargeting audience lists based on consumers’ previous online behaviour including buyer profiles and topics of interest. Effective retargeting techniques include identifying shoppers who have abandoned their shopping cart and knowing the websites they frequently visit. Having an understanding of this purchase behaviour in advance allows for highly targeted and timely display ads.

Lastly, to ensure success in future marketing campaigns marketers should record their 2014 holiday results. This will become a valuable asset in campaign planning for the following holiday season.

Jay Revels is the general manager of Marin Software.

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