Where e-commerce managers should focus their marketing efforts
It’s true, it’s hard to predict what Q4 will bring for ecommerce retailers.
Here’s what’s working in your favor:
- Holiday shopping is already starting, months earlier than previous years;
- More consumers than ever expect to purchase online this season;
- Marketplace disruptions have led 15-20% of consumers to switch stores.
And some things that may be working against you:
- Supply-chain volatility has left many retailers with uneven inventory levels;
- holiday spending is expected to be lower overall, and more than a third of shoppers who normally shop in-store on Black Friday will not this year.
- election uncertainty may interrupt buying habits;
- and local pandemic restrictions and shutdowns disrupt consumers’ typical patterns.
For a lot of small retailers, 2020 is not a good year to make major marketing investments. But there are still plenty of ways online retailers can tweak their marketing programs to work for Q4 2020.
From our 10+ years handling digital marketing for retail during holidays, here’s our best advice about how to squeeze the most out of the season. We hope you come out shining on the other side.
1. Reconnect & reconvert past customers
We all want to connect with the familiar from months and years past. Consumers will appreciate having a touchstone with someone they’ve done business with before, especially if they are supporting their local community—66% of shoppers said they plan to shop more at local small businesses.
- Run outreach email campaigns and remarketing campaigns to customers who haven’t bought in the past year. Plus, remarketing tends to generate higher ROAS than other campaigns—16-85% better in the campaigns we manage.
- Create a reason for people to return to your site: instead of featuring all your specials at once, offer new specials and featured products every week.
2. Offer flexible delivery options
Consumers will rely on delivery options that are convenient and safe. Make sure your checkout process offers delivery options.
- Enable buy online, pick up in store or curbside, an option available on ecommerce platforms like Shopify.
- Consider adding options for same-day local delivery, for example through peer-to-peer delivery services.
- Make it possible to subscribe for repeated purchase and delivery, which provides convenience for buyers and repeat income for you.
3. Turn inventory lemons into lemonade
Inventory problems are what they are, but we can use marketing to work around them.
- Focus marketing on products that are available. Advertising that uses a product feed, like Facebook product ads and Google shopping ads, will only promote what’s in stock. In our portfolio, these ads perform 15-60% better than other ads on those platforms.
- Provide options for out-of-stock items, like emailing when it’s available again and suggesting alternate products right on the page. And if an automated suggest-an-alternative function isn’t feasible, invite consumers to call you for recommendations.
4. Make sure mobile is working well
More ecomm shopping than ever is happening on mobile–up to 33% of all ecomm purchases in 2020. It’s worth spending time to make sure it’s a pleasant experience.
- Improve the page load time for your top 5 most visited pages, even if it just means making the main picture smaller. Quicker page loading means better user engagement and conversion rate.
- Pull out your mobile phone, and look at what you can see on key pages without scrolling. In a recent CRO project, our analysis showed not even two thirds scrolled down enough to see the “add to cart” button on an important product details page. Make the height of elements smaller on mobile, and move key functionality higher on the page.
5. Work hard to retain the traffic you get.
You’ve worked hard to get the website traffic you get–by building your brand or buying clicks to the website. Don’t treat this traffic as one-and-done. Figure out how to keep those consumers engaged.
- Leverage remarketing ads to stay in front of consumers, and offer them a coupon to return.
- Add exit-intent pop-ups such as OptiMonk & Storeya.
- Leverage cart abandonment emails so people can pick up where they left off.
While there are a lot of ideas here, simply by focusing on one or two things, you can still make an impact! So our number one recommendation: pick a couple of ideas from above and get started.
Old ways of thinking may have worked in a business-as-usual year; this year, we’re all going to need to adapt to thrive. Good luck!