How to increase sales and attract new customers – 2020 Shopping Season Guide 

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Article preview: This is one of the most challenging times for the eCommerce industry. Businesses are doing the best to adapt and to align to the changes caused by COVID-19, and marketing is currently one if the best opportunities. As this context has changed the way we live and connect with those around us, so has consumer behavior. For a clearer vision and to help you maximize your sales this season, we have prepared some insights and 4 steps to follow in drafting the marketing strategy for your online store.

The main events you need to keep in mind this fall are:

Insights you should consider

Buyers are open to the idea of purchasing from new retailers over the holidays:

  • 70% of shoppers said they are open to buying from new retailers.
  • Shopping starts earlier and ends later: 54% of purchases remain to be completed after Black Friday / Cyber Monday. 
  • Holidays shoppers appreciate good deals, convenience and availability: 39% of buyers are interested in the best prices / promotions they can find, 32% in the convenience of buying, and for 27% the product availability is the most important. 
  • Consumers check various channels before purchasing: 78% of shoppers check more than 3 sources within a 2–3-day period.

4 steps to follow in planning your marketing campaign

We will further talk about 4 important steps to follow in planning PPC campaigns for your online store: Be easy to find, Invest in your brand, Bring new customers on your website and Increase your sales.

Be easy to find

The consumer’s online journey is crossing an average of 140 different points that can have a say on what he is choosing to buy and where he will buy it from. For you, as a retailer, the challenge is to stand out from the crowd in each of these key points that influence the decision of a potential customer. 

The Smart Why

A Kantar study regarding the shopping behavior of Romanians, made for Google Romania in 2019, shows the following: 

  • 82% of shoppers discover the product online before purchasing it
  • The main product discovery channel is the search engine, followed by the retailer’s website, videos, social media, and price comparison engines
  • 55% of shoppers do their research using mobile phones
  • The categories where the preference for purchase is still exclusively offline are: toys & fashion (this case requires physical presence & omnichannel approach)
  • The most important personalizing features for an online shopping experience are: billing/shipping data auto-fill, order history, the possibility to come back on the order process and resume it, one-click purchase, product recommendations based on order history).

The context caused by COVID-19 has certainly brought changes regarding the importance of the digital environment in the purchasing decision.

Optimize your website for mobile devices

Considering that this type of visitor is not spending time on social media with the intention of purchasing something and he may not have much time available, it is very important to make sure that the website’s mobile version has a fast page speed. The faster he can access whatever was displayed in the Facebook ad, the less likely he will be to leave the website before completing a purchase.

Be visible on social media

Lately, the people’s interest for social media networks has increased more and more. The context created by the pandemic has led more and more people to spend time online and on social media networks, a place where they feel safe to interact, where they can have fun and escape from everyday life.

The more time they spend online, consumers discover platforms, influencers and brands they have not noticed before. A very good example is TikTok, which became very popular lately. 

Having these starting points, businesses and marketing specialists can learn truly valuable things about the opportunities they can explore in the “new normal” we are all facing. 

Here’s what you should consider in your Q4 strategy:

  • Your audience wants to be entertained and video content is a perfect choice for this
  • Consumers seek for connection and comfort, and the challenge for brands is to create the feeling of “togetherness”
  • Creativity is growing, and this is the right time for more creative concepts. The audience will most likely respond to ideas that seem to be “out of the box”

Use SEO strategies 

  • Each website should have a page covering content related to COVID-19. If you didn’t do this already, we recommend that you create a dedicated page as soon as possible, to capture all relevant coronavirus traffic. In addition to the fact that it can help sustain traffic losses, it is essential for those who visit your website to be aware of the measures you have taken during this time.
  • New and interesting subjects to create content. Organic content is the key to success in creating the marketing strategy for the holidays season. This is the ideal time for seasonal content: articles, guides. We recommend planning ahead and start publishing organic content. This will help you connect to as many potential customers as possible. The solution is Google Trends, as this should be the first place to look for changes in the search behavior. Collecting real time data, Google Trends is the best tool for determining trending subjects and for creating relevant content.

Google My Business

To offer customers the most accurate information, it is important that you update the information on Google My Business. In addition to information on shipping and delivery time, which are extremely important for online shopping, it is essential to let the customers know that you respect all the public health measures in place and deliver the products safe.

Invest in your brand

Shoppers are researching new brands before buying a product, because they want to find the best products that match their lifestyle. Therefore, it is important for brands to stand out from the crowd and to communicate with the target audience. This is how brands can create a significant and distinct value – a decisive factor at the time of purchase.

  • Creative ads are still a key factor in the campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Connect and inspire through videos: more than 70% of users say they have learned about new brands through YouTube.
  • Be the answer when they search: mobile searches for terms such as “popular” or “brands” have increased by 80% in the past 2 years.
  • Go with the flow when it comes to searches, using personalized “Responsive” ads.
  • Invest in Awareness campaigns: create campaigns focused on brand awareness & reach goal.

Bring new customers on your website

When planning marketing campaigns for your online store, we recommend that you consider the conversion funnel. Imagine a funnel where at the top there is a large traffic volume brought to the website – users who perform an action or not – while the users you have already turned into customers are at the bottom of the funnel.

Each pay-per-click marketing channel can be successfully integrated into this conversion funnel, and brands can use the platforms functionality to attract quality traffic (people interested in the products and services).

Here’s our recommendation:

  • Top of Funnel: This is the stage where we focus on sending the message to as many people in the target audience as possible. We use messages that provide relevant information to answer needs, questions or problems that potential customers may have.
  • Middle of Funnel: In this stage we introduce an offer that meets the client’s needs.
  • Bottom of Funnel: This is the final stage, where we focus exclusively on conversions, to an audience familiar with the offer and who is very likely to purchase.

As a result, this funnel will bring to your website two different types of traffic:

Cold audience: users who interact with your brand for the first time. You should always ensure such traffic on the website.
Warm audience: users who have previously interacted with your brand (visited the website, placed an order, subscribed to the newsletter).

This is how you can bring new customers to your online store:

Focus on Shopping Ads

Shopping Ads campaigns have an increasing traction in the accounts we manage. You can find related info on this matter here, and a very important aspect for bringing good results is the feed optimization in Merchant Center, a topic discussed here.

The most important tips for October – December 2020 are:

  • Add best sellers in your feed and make sure stocks and prices are updated.
  • Push on the most popular products and make sure your prices are competitive (you can check Price Competitiveness tab in Merchant Center).
  • Adjust the bidding strategy long before Black Friday, because campaigns will enter the learning phase.

Something inspiring related to Shopping is the showcase format. Unfortunately, it is not available in Romania yet.

You can find detailed information on how to prepare your campaigns in the Google Shopping Ads training, conducted for community.

Using audiences in Google and Facebook Ads

In our experience we’ve seen good results in targeting cold audiences when using Similar / Lookalike, Custom Intent and In-Market audiences. We strongly recommend you to use it in targeting your campaigns.

Increase your sales

To increase the sales in your online store this season, we have the following recommendations:

  • Emphasize on special deals and promotions on your website – you can use a dedicated landing page.
  • Create the remarketing audience lists in advance.
  • Use Dynamic Remarketing campaigns (optimized catalogue).
  • Send personalized offers to the users in your database, announcing the most recent discounts.

As you can see, preparing marketing campaigns for the sales season is a complex process, which hopefully has already been started by now. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help with the strategy for your online store and if you consider increasing sales using pay-per-click channels.

About Optimized

At Optimized we are specialized in e-commerce PPC campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube Ads). Our portfolio includes online stores and our approach is based on clear performance objectives (CPA, ROAS, ROI). Our team consists of PPC specialists and certified Google trainers, as well as people with hands-on experience in e-commerce.