It might seem strange to think that for many the Christmas period doesn’t start in December, but instead started months ago. The planning period for marketers, (which can often start even earlier than September,) is an essential component in the delivery and success of a retailer’s peak period.
However, with suspicions that retail might once again be hit by a rough patch, what can a brand do to ensure they stay ahead of the curve, and the competition?
At first glance, grabbing potential customer’s attention should be at the top of a retailer’s list. With such a vast amount of choice in online and offline strategies, marketers need to be creative to get consumers to consider their products over their competitors.
One of such strategies is using highly targeted and effective ads through Google Shopping, allowing retailers to have higher conversion rates (in comparison to text ads,) create a wider reach and provide a promising flow of traffic, and ultimately revenue if executed well. But what are the need to know tactics and strategies to improve campaign performance over this busy time, and what is the best way to avoid wasting time and spend in such a critical period?
The Three Stages to Prepare for Peak with Google Shopping
Stage 1: Sept-Oct – Planning Phase
With a clear strategy early on, a brand can build a strong digital storefront where their products can reach more customers in correlation with increased demand around peak.
Often planning starts even in the late Summer to ensure brands can catch as many customers as possible using a well thought through plan. This can include optimising their current Google Shopping campaigns by:
- Mapping out seasonal product trends
- Defining seasonal KPIs and success metrics
- Evaluating previous historical data on product performance
- Setting the right budgets to ensure a presence in key categories
- Making relevant bid changes based on campaign and ad performance as well as seasonal demand
- Include seasonal queries to be visible to seasonal shoppers e.g. Christmas gifts for her/him
- Focus on top-selling products using keyword targeting
- Create audience segments
- Create a strategy optimised for mobile shoppers
- Apply relevant information include delivery times over the Christmas period
- Ensure correct tracking is set up
Capture more seasonal shoppers by getting your Google Shopping campaigns ready for peak.
Stage 2: Nov-Dec – Peak
Gone are the days where Black Friday and Boxing Day were the only events filling the peak ecommerce diary. Instead, retailers are now ruled by weeks of offers, not just days. But how has this impacted retailers, and how can they stay competitive?
Martin Corcoran, Managing Director Performance Consulting at Summit Media states: “Retailers who are most innovative and customer-focused will eat the share of retailers who fail to identify and respond to the ‘new rituals of retail’. Selfridges are a great example of this, posting 6% increase in full-year sales as a result of improved in-store experiences. There are growth opportunities for retailers, but they will come at the expense of competitors in what is an “eat or be eaten” retail environment fuelled by the expectations of customers. We’re going through a monumental shift in the retail landscape right now.”
Staying competitive consequently means not only having a flexible budget but also being able to think creatively with it, for example:
- Meeting shoppers at all stages of their journey
- Continuously measuring and tweaking campaign performance to get the best results
- Allowing flexible bidding strategies that align with overall business objectives
- Use remarketing tactics to pick up customers close to purchasing in the buying journey
Stage 3: Dec-Jan – Final Push & Evaluation
“Super Saturday” flooded the headlines in 2018 as millions of UK shoppers hit the high street for last-minute Christmas presents. In turn, this provided a big opportunity for retailers to reach their customers in the final moments of their shopping sprees, all at the click of a button. Having the right product, at the right time, (and even better if it has the right delivery options,) customers are sold as their urgency peaks to get presents under the tree before the big day. Using push tactics such as next day delivery and click and collect where relevant in ad extensions to help attract shoppers and boost last-minute sales.
Most retailers know that Christmas isn’t over once the 25th December hits. With many gifts being exchanged retailers must evaluate how this will impact overall sales and revenue, as well as providing customers with an opportunity to return and leave with a pleasant experience.
Use the data from the peak period to help gather ideas and plan and prepare for the year ahead. Stay organized and keep a track of what worked well, what challenged you and what you’ve learned. This is all information that will be helpful in years to come and provide stronger foundations for more successful peak periods.
To find out how you can still benefit from up to 20% off your Google Shopping fees with no impact to your accounts before Christmas, get in touch with the Productcaster team via firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 44 (0)20 3948 4696