6 ways retailers can make this their busiest festive season ever

October 2018

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Oh, and to get your festive ads up-and-running in time. Yet as Fionnuala Meehan, VP EMEA, Google Marketing Solutions explains, being first to advertise won’t guarantee you success. It’s time to think laterally, act local and keep on going until the party’s over.

Six ways retailers can make this their busiest festive season ever by thinking laterally, acting local and keeping on going until the party’s over.

If you were wondering whether it’s too soon to start your seasonal ad campaign, wonder no more: It definitely isn’t. In fact, over half of seasonal shoppers start researching their purchases in October, or earlier1. And almost one in three of Europe’s internet shoppers plan to make their pre-Christmas purchases in November, if not sooner2.

According to Fionnuala Meehan, VP EMEA, Google Marketing Solutions, being first off the starting blocks is just the beginning.

“More than two thirds of shoppers seeking inspiration start with Google3, so getting your festive ads live is a great first step,” she says. “But with so much competition out there for new shoppers, the most successful retailers are often the ones who predict demand, understand shopper mindsets and think laterally.”

With that in mind, here are six ways to improve your chances of connecting with this year’s shoppers, and make it a season to remember.

1. Put yourself in shoppers’ shoes

While searches for essentials, like “wrapping paper” undoubtedly spike in the run up to the festive season, it’s often the less obvious products that slip under many a retailer’s radar.

For example, searches for “indigestion tablets” rise on 3 December before peaking (just in time) three weeks later. Likewise, searches for “batteries” increase from December onwards, then spike between 24-30 December.

Action: Take another look at your keywords, and tailor your ads on dates when demand for certain products is higher.

2. Start early. Finish late

Starting your seasonal ads early is a must, but the shopping season is more a marathon than a sprint.

Some 20% of December shop traffic happens in the six days after peak season4. And searches for “where to buy” peak between 18-23 December, right after the posting deadline5.

Action: Consider keeping your ads running throughout December, and ensure you have enough stock in to meet the extra demand.

3. This season, give the gift of a second chance

40% of mobile shoppers leave sites without converting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t entice them back again6.

Action: Try remarketing ads, which show shoppers a photo of the product they browsed or abandoned last time they visited. It’s a quick and informal way to remind folks you’re still around, and that you have what they need.

4. Show people what’s in store. Literally

You know that feeling when you’re about to click “Buy” but you don’t know for sure if the product’s in stock and whether it’ll arrive in time?

Well, it’s a frustration shared by many holiday shoppers too. So much so, that 41% of them say shops should do a better job of sharing inventory levels7.

Action: Add stock levels to your website and refresh them regularly, so customers can order with confidence. 

5. Customers are closer than you imagine

It’s easy to think big when it comes to marketing campaigns, but sometimes the quick wins are closer to home. For example, three in four people who do a local search on Google end up visiting a related business within 24 hours8.

Action: Try running ads that target your local area. Also, check you’ve signed up to Google My Business, so people can find your store when they search for you online.

6. Treat yourself with something new

Last year, 61% of consumers were open to buying from new retailers, and almost 50% actually did9. In other words, customer loyalty can have a short life – and it’s all to play for. Why not get noticed by trying something new this year?

Action: Consider using shopping ads, which include a photo of the exact product people are searching for, plus the price, store rating and more.

For more information on how to advertise with Google and reach more customers this season, visit Google for Retail.

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