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Summertime is upon us, which means it’s officially time for brands to start prepping for the holiday shopping season.
Digital shopping is growing faster than ever before, especially around popular shopping holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.
To quantify this, eMarketer forecasts that total U.S. holiday retail sales this season will jump 3.3% to $1.26 trillion. Ecommerce sales are projected to rise 15.5% to more than $235 billion, and brick-and-mortar sales are projected to rise 0.9% to a little more than $1 trillion.
In Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report, a survey of more than 4,000 shoppers across four key markets, 34% of shoppers in France, 43% in the U.S., 46% in Germany, and 55% in Great Britain indicated that they shop online more of the time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you want to capture a slice of the massive holiday retail pie and beat out your competitors, you must start planning your holiday ecommerce campaigns now. Otherwise, you’ll fall behind other brands in your industry.
One of the best ways to get started is to lean into and learn from recent holiday retail trends.
Stats show that most retail sales are heavily influenced by a consumer’s digital interactions with your brand. Shoppers in Germany (31%), France (33%), Great Britain (38%), and the U.S. (41%) are most likely to research and compare products on a retail site like Amazon before buying, according to Salsify’s consumer research.
If you want to stand out in a sea of brands vying for consumer attention, you must find unique, powerful, and emotional ways to connect with potential customers.
Take the following five steps to drive sales by optimizing your product content:
User-generated content (UGC) is taking over in the digital marketing world. This shift is the primary reason why platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have quickly transformed to cater more and more to creators.
Stats support this craze, as 93% of shoppers say they find UGC helpful when making a purchase, according to Trend.io.
As creator content can be widely powerful when it comes to influencing purchases, it’s wise to strategically highlight this content where it counts most: your direct-to-consumer (DTC) website and product pages across the digital shelf.
Here are some creative ways your brand can incorporate UGC into product content.
A variety of research highlights the influence of customer reviews on purchasing decisions:
Since reviews are so influential in purchasing decisions, it makes sense to focus your time and energy on capturing more reviews. An even better idea is to add reviews to the place on your website where consumers are getting ready to buy: your product detail pages (PDPs).
According to Salsify’s consumer research, customer reviews and ratings are the most helpful feature of a product page when deciding what to buy for 49% of respondents in Germany, 51% in France, 55% in the U.S., and 58% in Great Britain.
Reviews on your PDPs offer a third-party product endorsement, adding incentive to persuade customers to buy.
Leading customers through the purchasing funnel is all about providing an outstanding customer and user experience. As consistency is key, your brand should strive to provide a digital shopping experience that visually mimics the in-store shopping experience.
In other words, your PDPs should offer the same details that a consumer could get from physically walking into a store and picking your product up off the shelf.
The best way to capture every visual detail is with enhanced content, which includes engaging image galleries, graphics, videos, comparison charts, and more.
Enhanced content is also great for boosting conversion rates. According to a report by Profitero, brands can lift sales anywhere between 15 to 58%, on average, on Amazon.com by improving product content to meet bestseller benchmarks in their category.
Telling your brand story and visually showing product uses and functions will help you stand out this holiday season.
As you get ready to optimize your digital shelf in preparation for the holidays, here are some types of enhanced content to consider adding to your product pages:
Delivering a stellar user experience doesn’t start and end with visuals. It also includes providing every written detail a consumer might want to know — and ensuring this information is consistent across all your commerce platforms.
When there aren’t enough details or information provided, 44% of shoppers in France, 44% in Germany, 46% in the U.S., and 46% in Great Britain won’t buy a product online, according to Salsify’s consumer research.
This holiday season, brands that prioritize, organize, and optimize their product content across the digital shelf will win over brands that don’t.
When it comes to optimizing your product detail copy, here’s where to focus your efforts:
Consider what content would be most valuable to your customers’ shopping experiences and what information people want to know. Then, preemptively answer those questions on your product pages.
Customers want to know a variety of details about your product. Good product descriptions include:
Successful brands centralize their product copy to develop a complete and consistent story across the digital shelf. Create focused and detailed product copy for each of your products — and then consider investing in a product information management (PIM) system to help you manage and distribute your content effectively.
The last thing to keep in mind as you revisit your product copy is that you should optimize it often. As the holiday season is approaching, rewrite this copy to include a celebratory holiday flair and relevant, holiday-focused keywords wherever possible.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a massive role in whether or not consumers will find your products during the holidays in the first place.
Twenty-five percent of shoppers in the U.S., 31% in France, 34% in Germany, and 37% in Great Britain use a search engine like Google to research and compare products before buying, according to Salsify’s consumer research.
Optimized PDPs are crucial, but yet not all brands prioritize them. According to a NielsenIQ report, 75% of all clicks happen between positions one and three on a Google search result.
These stats paint a clear picture of an open opportunity in holiday ecommerce for brands to get more sales from search engines. If you hyper-target your PDPs for holiday SEO, you can beat out your competitors and capture the attention of interested consumers.
Take a deep dive into the data and audit product titles and descriptions. Add trending keywords to your product descriptions (e.g., “gifts for dad,” “great stocking stuffers,” “gifts for women,” etc.).
Successful SEO is as much about incorporating the voice of the customer as it is including the right keywords.
Interview customers to find out how they talk about your products — and then refresh your content accordingly. You may also want to add customer reviews to your PDPs.
One of the most underrated SEO strategies for brands is adding schema markup to your product description pages.
A schema markup involves implementing structured data on your product pages to help Google better understand your product details.
You can add structured product data like price, style, availability, and more. Armed with this information, Google can include more information about your products on its SERP, providing a more extensive, detailed, and eye-catching Google product listing.
By paying attention to holiday ecommerce trends and optimizing your product pages accordingly, you can drastically improve your performance and customers’ shopping experiences.
Don’t let your competitors get a leg up this season — show them up with a little holiday flair.
Want to outshine the competition on Amazon this holiday season? Download the “Naughty and Nice Amazon Ecommerce Checklist” to get started. (And check it twice.)
Ashley R. Cummings (she/her) is a freelance writer specializing in ecommerce software as a service (SaaS). Her words appear across the web in places like Insider, LinkedIn, ShopifyPlus, and Hashtagpaid.
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