Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, and the holiday season is right around the corner: In 2021, 61 percent of consumers started their holiday shopping by early November.
Retailers of all stripes are preparing for the shopping rush. But capturing high-intent traffic and converting shoppers (online and off) is about more than just seasonal online promotions.
To dive into the more technical tips that can help retailers deliver a better experience and drive more revenue, we talked to our own Derick Jaros, Head of Industry, Commerce, at Yext.
Let's start with the general: what should be top of mind for retailers this year as they prepare for the holiday shopping season?
It's important to remember that what was popular last year might not be what is popular this year. Most of the time, retailers are trying to replicate the general themes of what worked the prior year — and then find a handful of big wins. (Remember Elmo, anyone?)
Consumer behavior has been moving back and forth more than an ocean liner during a storm these past few years, and it's more difficult to manage now than in the pre-pandemic holiday seasons. Consumer behavior has shifted, and the last two years have been anything but "normal."
That said, my biggest piece of advice is that it's all about execution. You don't need the "next Elmo" to execute your playbook to perfection, reflect on what worked, and then optimize for the next year.
Lastly, a note on pricing: Coverage of shrinkflation has taught us that this type of cost-cutting tactic will likely be called out by an increasingly-informed consumer. But simply publicizing that your prices are close to 2019 prices could be a huge win this holiday — instead of advertising that something is 75% off "list" price.
Omnichannel shoppers have an estimated 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channeI. What are your top tips for retailers looking to succeed at reaching and converting these shoppers this holiday season?
Here are my top 5:
- Create as many holiday landing pages as you can. Having SEO/SEM-optimized landing pages for individual products, locations, holiday events, and more can help you reach and convert more high intent shoppers. If you don't already, you'll want to work with a partner who can help you with pages that are easy to build, provide flexibility, and don't require your IT team. (Click here to learn more.)
- Push for a seamless site search solution. Customers who search on your site are more valuable than customers who don't — so make sure you're making it easy for them. If your company has one search bar for products and another for support / FAQs, put out a survey to ask your customers if they are happy about it. (Hint: they probably aren't.)
- Take lessons learned from packaging and put that content online. Brands put a ton of time and effort into designing the perfect package for consumers to pick up off the shelves, but too often, that content doesn't make it to the Product Detail Page (PDP). Ensure that it does so that your site can look as good as your shelves — through the holidays and beyond.
- Pick the top winners from online and put them in-stores. Think about the above lesson, but flip it the other way around: if something is resonating with customers online, why not display it in stores, too?
- Keep a good amount of inventory. You want to be able to make your "winning products" available nationally — as well as to be able to communicate that certain items are available online even when they might be out of stock in the store.
Do you have any big predictions for this holiday season in particular? What might be the same — or different — from last year?
Consumers will no doubt be even more budget conscious this year, but the best value versus simply the biggest "percent off" is what will attract them.
Second, gift guides are ever more important for the time-stressed audience.
What makes for a great customer experience in 2022?
Frankly, one that a customer can't tell is an omnichannel experience: it's just an experience. By using tools like intelligent site search, landing pages, and guided buying flows, you can create seamless customer experiences that work through the holiday season – and into 2023.