Holiday 2013: An Omni-Channel Approach for Retailers

Retail sales are expected to rise 2.4% this holiday season (versus 3% last year ((ShopperTrak)).  This year, the Holy Grail in maximizing holiday performance will be engaging the omni-channel shopper.  Shoppers are increasingly moving across channels—search, content, mobile, TV, marketplaces, social, in-store—in their purchase journeys.  But still, most retailers struggle in creating seamless, complementary cross-channel shopping experiences.  For instance, a recent RSR Research Report found that only 32% of retailers claimed to have achieved this experience.

PERFORMANCE STRATEGIES

Retailers must focus on building omni-channel experiences for holiday and beyond.  Below, we highlight a number of omni-channel strategies.  Some of these strategies can be utilized last-minute for holiday 2013, while others require a longer-term approach:

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1.  Elevate Measurement
Most retailers utilize “last click” measurement models.  But, in the omni-channel world, multiple channels assist the last click.  By not building assist data into attribution models, retailers are missing opportunities to invest in keywords/channels/devices that influence eventual conversions:

Lay a Foundation:  Complete a tagging audit to reveal if you have all the capabilities in place to understand all interaction points across the decision journey, not just the last click before sale

Identify Data Sources:  Understand the data streams available to you to visualize attribution opportunities.  These include search engine, SEM platform or ad server data; third-party attribution platforms like ClearSaleing or Adometry; and digital-to-store measurement methods like comScore Panel Match.

2.  Master Mobile
At Performics, we’re now seeing 38% of total paid search clicks coming from mobile.  MediaPost estimates that smartphone retail sales will total $14.59B this year, and tablets will add another $26.05B.  Furthermore, Deloitte anticipates that mobile will influence 8% ($66B) of in-store sales this holiday.  Yet, many retailers aren’t positioned to capture this demand, mainly because they can’t visualize mobile’s true omni-channel impact:

Measure Mobile Conversions:  Use new capabilities like Google Estimated Total Conversions to view the impact of mobile on eventual conversion (e.g. see when someone clicks on a mobile ad but later converts on desktop).  Reducing lost mobile attribution will enable you to more confidently dedicate budget to mobile.

Focus on Experiences As mobile usage soars, build compelling mobile experiences worth driving traffic to.  On big in-store shopping days like Black Friday, create mobile experiences that drive shoppers to store (e.g. in-search scannable coupons, click-to-call).

3. Utilize Marketplaces
Many retailers fear that marketplaces are agents of cannibalization.  In reality, most marketplace sales are incremental.  For instance, retailers have found that Amazon shoppers generally aren’t the same shoppers as those on their native sites:

Selective Use:  Consider leveraging marketplaces like Amazon as additional, shorter-term channels to clear out-of-season or low-margin inventory

Test & Learn: Compare names/addresses of ship-to customers in your Amazon orders to your existing customer database to see if cannibalization is (or isn’t) occurring

4.  Optimize Content
Optimized content (articles, video, social media/blog pages and posts) is more likely to achieve visibility in organic search and social media, which increases sharing:

Content Audit Leverage SEO experts to perform a review to ensure that all content is optimized for visibility in search this holiday

Encourage Participation:  Your customers—through “Likes,” +1s, tweets, blogs and reviews—now wield great influence over your SEO efforts, as social signals and incoming links influence rankings.  To optimize your organic listings, you need your customers’ help.  Thus, visibility depends on encouraging your participants to advocate for your brand.  Contact Performics today for some out-of-the-box ways to build advocates!