The Holiday Season is Here Already – Are You Ready for it?

Category: Marketing Dilemmas

It’s August and the eTail East 2010 Conference is right around the corner. Joining other senior marketing executives at eTail, we at NetElixir are in full gear preparing for the roundtable discussion of Holiday Preparedness for 2010 Protecting Every Dollar and Maximizing Internet Retail Sales.

Holiday Preparedness is such a critical concept for retailers. Whether you have brick-and-mortar stores or just online web stores, preparing your store(s) for the holidays mean you have to start planning now.

Before we do that, let’s look at some numbers from last year.

In 2009, the share of all shopping conversions from Google Search is up by 9% from 2008 to 2009, based on visits to the top 450 e-commerce sites, according to the Google/Compete Daily Search Barometer.

The online spend forecast for this coming holiday season is up by 64% compared to 2009. (Google/OTX State of Shopping Research survey, May 2010)

In the same survey, when consumers were asked when they would begin their 2010 holiday shopping and/or research, 21% said as soon as May, 14% June-August, 12% September, 18%  October, 21% November and 9% December.

Green Tuesday (Dec  15, 2009) and the day after recorded the highest sales last year. Green Tuesday alone garnered a total of $913MM, up 21% from previous year. Cyber Monday trailed slightly behind Dec. 15th and 16th by $26MM at $887MM, up 5% from previous year.

“So what does it mean for me and what should I be doing differently?” some retailers may ask. For one, craft your customer acquisition strategy now. Set your business goals – how much revenue, how many new customers, what’s your projected ROAS and share of clicks/impressions, and ask yourself all the right questions for a bullet-proof strategy.

For two, think competitors. Often times, we don’t think about competitors hard enough. We know they’re out there but we don’t spend time understanding what they’re doing differently from, or the same as us. Identify your opportunity gaps and distinguish your brand and products from your competitors.

For three, think budget. Are you under-spending on certain channels or campaigns that might not be as obvious as you’d think. You need a thorough analysis of your converting keywords, ad groups and campaigns and ensure you’re spending the majority of your budget on your converting and highest-performing activities.

For four, generate search query reports. See what people are actually searching to find your ads. You’ll be surprised by new ideas and inspiration from the users themselves.

For five, monitor, measure and test. For the next couple of months, you should be monitoring your product sales, sales patterns, and anomalies by geography, demographics and other parameters you may have set. You want to be sure you’re not missing the mark on sales promotions that are working and have profited before, and consider extending those promotions if they align with your bottom-line goals. Be tactical yet stay true to your strategy.

Last but not least, are you participating on social media sites? If you are, then come up with a user engagement plan where you can “benefit” your peers and customers from interacting with your brand and products online. Are you giving discounts, coupon codes or free samples? Think social and see how you can expand your “interest pool” multi-fold by offering them something special simply by associating or interacting with you.

- Ada Wong

(For a complimentary consultation of your Holiday Preparedness strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@netelixir.com)

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