With Black Friday rapidly approaching, if you are a retailer, you are bracing for the usual spike in shopping traffic. This means not only anticipating factors that might influence how people will be shopping this holiday, but also preparing websites and storefronts for the consumer crush. By now, you’ve certainly put in place your paid media campaigns to attract traffic to your websites and socials, where you’re already promoting your deals. But there are still some little things that you can do now to ensure that your online presence is optimized for holiday traffic. Consider the following a quick and easy check-up for the holidays:
Is Your Location Information Correct?
Check all the places people look in order to find you: your Facebook page or pages, your Google My Business listing, and your website. Incorrect information can frustrate shoppers who subsequently may not make it through your (virtual or literal) door. To keep this from happening, you should:
- Make sure you have noted any special holiday store hours (here’s how to set special hours on Google My Business).
- Double-check that your location information, such as address and phone number, are accurate. Is the information you provide on your website’s store locator consistent with what customers will find on your Facebook page and Google My Business listing? You might be surprised at the mistakes you find, especially if you manage multiple locations.
- Click on your Google Maps and Apple Maps listings. Try to find your store. Is all your location information showing up correctly? If not, your longitude and latitude information might be incorrect – but you can fix it.
Do Your Visuals Pop?
Showing off your merch with great imagery is a good idea at any time of year, but the holidays present some unique challenges — and opportunities. The crowds are thick, making it difficult for stores to keep physical shelves neat and appealing. Moreover, you’ll be trying to catch the eyes and win the hearts of distracted (and possibly stressed) holiday shoppers amid plenty of competition. Now’s the time to tap into visual storytelling to really make that merchandise pop. Start by using:
- Online tools from Google, like Showcase Shopping ads. Showcase Shopping ads make it easy for brands to visually group related products in appealing and easy-to-navigate ways. By grouping items logically, retailers ensure their products can easily be found. Plus, anything that makes shopping easier for harried customers is a win for shoppers (and brands).
Another tip: be sure to keep up on the new visual ad options Google has rolled out like Shopping ads on YouTube’s home feed and within search results. The Shopping ads on YouTube are related to entered search queries or the video content a consumer is watching, practically ensuring an already-existing level of consumer interest.
- Instagram and Facebook Stories that help to tell your brands story and get customers to interact. Using Stories, you can humanize your brand in playful ways. It’s the holidays, after all: what better time to have some fun? One great idea is to show off your location. Provide an inside look at how your team is setting up for the holidays and preparing for customer visits – Stories are perfect for these behind-the-scenes slices of life.
- Amazon as an advertising platform. According to Retail Dive, Amazon is dominating the product search arena, having passed Google up for product searches from 2015 to 2018. And those searches are lucrative: MarketWatch reports that “[m]ore than $4 of every $10 spent online in the U.S. is on Amazon.com.” Plus, Amazon is increasingly rolling out ad tools that make it possible to advertise even if you are not selling products on Amazon.
Are You Ready for Voice Search?
Is your content optimized for more complex forms of voice search? According to research firm Perficient Digital, voice assistants are gaining traction but while mobile browsers still lead the pack, it’s instructive to note just how quickly voice search has become a part of our world. Think about it: Amazon launched the Echo in 2014; five years later, millions of Americans own smart speakers. Make sure customers can gather intel on your brand through voice search, or risk being left behind. We’ve blogged about preparing for voice in this post, “Voice Search Is on the Rise: Is Your Business Prepared?”
How Mobile Are You?
During the 2018 holiday season, smart phones accounted for more than half of all visits to websites for the first time ever, according to Adobe. That percentage is likely to grow in 2019, so it is wise to make sure you have a strong mobile advertising presence. That means, among other things:
- Providing good follow-through on your site. It shouldn’t matter if a customer reaches your site through a PC, a laptop, or their phone: clicking through ads to make a purchase should be seamless regardless of the device being used.
- Using tools like Google Gallery Ads, which work well in the mobile format. Google Gallery Ads allow shoppers to swipe through a gallery of images, or click on one to expand the gallery into a vertical view. And at the end of the gallery, a call to action entices customers to visit the advertiser’s site. Because they are made for mobile, Google Gallery Ads maximize the mobile experience. And in a world in which smart phones increasingly rule, maximizing mobile is exactly what you want to do.
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