Christmas is Coming!

A moment of reflection

Covid-19 caught us all off guard and it is easy to get swept up in day to day survival. While the focus is now on recovery, it is also important to look back and realise how far we have come and most importantly what we have learned and can apply to upcoming campaigns.

I am sure you had board room discussions around the following at the outset of the pandemic:

  • Will distribution be able to keep pace with the increase in consumer demand?
  • Will a traditional offline customer make the switch to online?
  • How are we going to source product with international markets on lockdown?
  • What we have seen, is remarkable resilience from the retail sector.
  • The retail sector has established a ‘new normal’. And now that Ecommerce teams have a taste for these record-breaking numbers, we have to look ahead to sustaining this increased online volume and convincing ‘Covid Customers’ to turn into loyal customers.

Black Friday and Christmas are coming!

We have two retail camps:

  • The highflyers – those who thrived during the initial pandemic peak and have achieved the successes mentioned above; and
  • The strugglers – those hit hardest by the virus, with their typical partners and markets hit hard by the lockdown measures.

What is common across these camps is the need to jump start strategies and look ahead to Q4.

Every year Christmas is reported to start earlier; Amazon typically lead the pack, with their Black Friday launch coming two weeks prior to the actual day itself. This whets the appetite of the consumer and before you know it the retail space starts swallowing the discount drug and inbox offers become a bit like wallpaper.

The highflyers amongst us cannot afford to sit on our laurels and hope that Santa delivers the goods. Data is power. You have it all in your hands and using it to your advantage is the key to your Q4 success.

The strugglers need to plan and plan big. Retail stores may be opening back up but there have been many changes over the last 3 months to consumer behaviour. Brands did a great job of pivoting at the start of Covid, and consumers have been spoiled. Brands have connected, shown empathy and made it easy for us to buy and receive their products.

What matters now is being prepared for the uncertainty that Q4 brings.

Don’t lose momentum – How to plan

It increasingly feels like we don’t have time to plan – we have been adapting and changing our strategies to maximise results and we are just coming up for air.

Successful planning is about setting actionable targets by channel – breaking things down into micro tasks is key.

e.g. “launch PPC campaign” is a biggie for the list. But what is the reality of that?

  • Analyse 2019 PPC data
  • Identify poorest and best performers:
    • Audiences
    • Devices
    • Keywords
    • Copy
    • Ad extensions
    • Offers
  • Landing page performance
  • New ad groups / campaigns created last year? Do they have their own landing page this year?
  • Has your offline marketing schedule reduced with less commuters in Q4 this year (perhaps)? If so, update the location modifiers applied last year
  • What are the market trends looking like? New products?
  • Do your new keyword research
  • Request vertical trends reports from your Google Account Manager – are these CPCs up or down, has device usage been changing quarter on quarter and year on year?
  • Build new ad groups for these keywords etc.

This process allows you to learn from past campaigns, respond to changes in consumer behaviours and launch earlier and with more confidence, should you need to bring your campaigns forward in response to the market.

Repeat this process across all your channels; delegate tasks to your partners and team to ensure that the camaraderie built during the pandemic is your new normal and delivers maximum results.

Our Top 5 Tips channel tips for Q4 Success

SEO – Publish and optimise your black Friday offers page now! Same with your top performing landing pages / new season launches. Everyone else will be launching content in October, but the best performers already have their live now (check out Argos, Ao.com etc and you will see!). This gives Google time to establish authority on your content, and those late to the party will have to work harder to gain visibility at this crucial time.

Data – profile your ‘covid customers’ and “show them you know them”. If they are different to your previous ‘core’ customer – ensure your messaging is in line with this. Ensure segmentation is applied to all your channel planning for Q4.

Social – Get the Facebook pixel on your website if you don’t have it already. Use the captive audiences that you are/have been building through the last 3 months and build lookalikes to acquire new customers or remarket to those already engaging with your brand.

PPC – Analyse last years’ campaigns. Get in the detail. Which keywords were the costliest? Where could conversion have been better? Can you improve and launch landing pages now to be optimised and A/B test so that they perform when it is crunch time?

Amazon – Don’t load it and leave it. We know the process of getting your products onto Amazon can be difficult. Once live this channel needs optimisation and tweaking to ensure your listings are competitive and optimised for the demand peak.

Infinity Nation are a group of channel specialists, partnering e-commerce businesses to achieve the growth they desire. If you are interested in accelerating your Q4 performance – book your complimentary 30 minute consultancy session today or call 01793 238697.

by Stacey Wilson, Client Services Director, Infinity Nation

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