As we say goodbye to BBQs, pimms and Wimbledon and say hello to pigs in blankets, cosy scarves and Wham! (groan) — it can mean only one thing. Peak season is upon us, and if last year’s anything to go on, it will be starting earlier than ever. No doubt your planning is well underway, but are you focused on the right strategies to capture customer interest and generate those all important sales? Have you fine-tuned your Google audiences and Shopping feeds for the peak holiday season? How about plans for replenishing marketplace inventory?
If you haven’t had a chance to tackle these and other Q4 peak preparations yet, that’s OK. There’s still time to get ready for the upcoming holiday season. However, we strongly advise that you don’t wait another day. Black Friday sales will be upon us faster than you can say “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and you don’t want to get left behind.
To help, our e-commerce experts have put together a definitive guide that covers all the essentials. It’s our most in-depth holiday planning guide to date, based on best practices and lessons learned from more than 2,700 brands and retailers selling on hundreds of e-commerce channels.
Here’s a quick preview of the biggest recommendations.
1. Prepare your marketplace inventory
The sooner you can forecast peak inventory needs, the better. If you want to avoid the risk of overselling, it’s imperative to have a plan in place for replenishment.
If you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA):
- Arrange to have your shipments arrive at Amazon well in advance of key dates, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Be ready to replenish products that sell fast or may need to be restocked when orders start to pick up
If you rely on seller-fulfilled warehousing:
- Prepare timelines for your merchandising and replenishment teams based on how long it typically takes to get items into your warehouse
- Develop a backup plan for expediting restocking should a back-order situation arise
2. Make the most of advanced advertising options
Once you have your digital marketing budget set, determine how much you can devote to advanced advertising options, as these will help you get your products in front of the right consumers.
We recommend spending time on:
- Google audiences, including affinity audiences and detailed demographics to reach consumers who are most likely to be interested in purchasing your products
- Responsive search ads to have Google use machine learning when determining which of your ads are most relevant for each search query
- Ad extensions to capture consumers who are looking specifically for prices or will be especially interested in seeing your latest promotions
3. Review your Shopping feeds
If you really want to get a headstart on the season — and your competition — it’s time to get your Shopping campaigns ready for holiday action. After auditing your titles and feeds for relevant attributes, consider exploring:
- Showcase ads to target seasonal categories and inspire consumers with detailed product imagery
- Smart bidding to have your ads react instantly to changes in search volume, click volume and conversion rates
4. Optimise your listings
The better your product content is structured, the more likely a listing is to rise to the top of Christmas-related search results. When preparing your product content for the peak season, focus on:
- Accurate character counts for product titles according to the requirements of each marketplace
- Targeted keywords based on the phrases consumers are likely to use for holiday-related purchases
- Detailed bullet points that answer questions consumers are likely to have when exploring and searching for holiday-related items
- Multiple high-resolution images to show different angles and features, as well as video when the marketplace allows
Again, this is a very quick recap of the recommendations offered by ChannelAdvisor’s e-commerce specialists. Whatever your strategy this year, our guide will help you hone your offerings to take advantage of seasonal shoppers. For a complete guide on every essential you’ll need for the upcoming season, download the full guide: Your Roadmap to Holiday 2019 E-Commerce Success.
You’ll find detailed, step-by-step suggestions for:
- Optimising your paid search campaigns
- Fine-tuning your shopping feeds
- Preparing fulfilment for “worst case” scenarios
- Getting your marketplace listings holiday-shopper ready