Christmas Marketing – What to do in November.

Follow on from:
Gearing up for Xmas 2007 – What to do in October…

Week 1:

You have done your research, you campaign has had 7-10 days. Pin point your successes and failures.

Ask yourself a few questions:

1. What campaigns are working?
2. Why are the successful campaigns working?
3. What campaigns are not working?
4. Why are they not working and what can we change you yield a positive result?

You need to look at your analytical data and see where your revenue stream is coming from on these campaigns, are the keywords you thought were relevant to the season and your product working for you?

Are to continuously testing the efficacy of your landing pages?

Week 2:

You need to analyse your purchase or lead generation process. You should have enough data now to see where your customers are either abandoning the shopping cart or being lost in your pages.

Check your error and web logs, has the site had a slow down due to the increased traffic? Have loading times been effected at all? Do you have any dead links on your site you forgot to get rid of in October?

These holes in your bucket need to be corked before the ‘Christmas Crunch Time’ which is typically 23rd of Nov to 16th Dec.

Crunch starts in week 3.

Week 3:

Check stock levels and product feeds for errors. Display and be realistic about your last posting days before Christmas. Evaluate your pay per click and other active return on investment advertising to increase quality of traffic. Re-evaluate your match types, campaign negative keywords, budget, position and bids to ensure the relevancy of your shoppers.

Don’t sell them something they are not looking for. If they don’t know what they are looking for make sure you are ‘suggesting ideas’ within your advertising i.e Gifts for Mum, Gifts for a music fan etc.

Make sure you campaigns are organised to separate such ‘Suggesting Campaigns’ from product specific or general campaigns. These campaigns are more specific to panic shoppers at Christmas with no idea what to buy their loved ones.

If you do run an affiliate program make sure the creative and promotions are seasonal, add Christmas bonuses.

Week 4:

Wash. Repeat.

Keep tweaking and checking your promotional presence. Keep and eye on your competitors.

Again this is not a complete guide, only suggestions to get you going for the Christmas period and hopefully be a little thought provoking when your are planning your marketing activities. Watch out for the December edition!

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Different types of E-commerce Shopper

Not all online shoppers are created alike. They all have different goals and strategies for their online shopping which relate to different needs. When developing an online service or e-commerce store you need to try and cater for as many of these types of shopper as possible. You can use basic ‘shopper models’ to organize the products and information on your site.

You could find at least 6 different types of online shopper within your own set of friends and family. A small sized start-up online business may not be able to afford professional customer modelling, but these techniques are still important, even to the smaller player.

New to the Net:

These buyers are still getting used to the internet and the idea of e-commerce. They use the web for research purchases and start will smaller value items in safer environments. A common start off point for these shoppers is eBay, where all the sellers are rated and they can proceed with caution. At this early stage this shopper can either become addicted to the life of e-commerce or be put off by a bad or fraudulent purchase.

This buyer needs a simple interface, and a way to verify the e-commerce site. Make sure you have clear precise pictures, a simple stream line jargon free checkout and display your returns policy clearly outlining your responsibility as an online retailer. You can invest in an eBay type feedback system such as which is an independent customer feedback system and also feature customer testimonials. Make sure you use well known and simple payment processing for example Paypal, Lloyds Cardnet or HSBC.

Bargain Hunters

These shoppers rely heavily on marketplaces such as eBay and shopping comparison engines. They have no real brand loyalty and are just shopping for the lowest price. You need to convince these shoppers they are getting the best deal. Make sure you products are included in shopping comparison engines and have an RRP shown so they can see the great deal they are getting. Within this group you have the impulsive bargain hunter who wants to purchase now and a competitive bargain hunter willing to bid against other shoppers for the deal. EBay is a bargain hunter’s paradise; you can almost use eBay to cater primarily for these customers, letting them battle it out for bargains and also have fixed price items for your impulsive bargain hunters.

Precise Shoppers

These shoppers have a surgical approach to online shopping. They know exactly what they want and will research until they find the best fit to their criteria. These shoppers are hard to please as it is luck of the draw that you have the product they need. You need to make sure part numbers and the true name of your product is present in the product title to allow precise optimization. Product configuration tools like the ‘Build your Porsche’ cater for these types of shopper and are great for a multitude of shopper types.
These shoppers need customer opinions to make sure the product will fit it intended purpose and also great customer support so they can seek verification for the seller about the item.

Hobby Shoppers

Shopping for these buyers is a past time. I fall straight into this category myself. It’s an addiction and I almost need to find something to buy online if I have a penny to spare. I often have to quell the urge. These shoppers purchase frequently and enthusiastically. These are the most adventurous shoppers and you need to grab their attentions by offering engaging tools to view the merchandise as well as product recommendations and incorporating social media into their purchase. These shoppers love community applications such as forums, bulletin boards and social shopping sites.

Direct Shoppers

These shoppers buy out of necessity. They do not shop around or waste time. They want the information now and to find the product within the 3 click recommended navigation. Excellent navigation and product organization is needed to cater for these shoppers. These shoppers need all the information at their finger tips in close proximity to the items, as well as quick access to customer support. Live chat appeals to these kind of shoppers, as they want answers quickly. These shoppers respond well to expert and customers opinions and testimonials.

Nervous Shoppers

My mother very much falls in this category, afraid to ‘put her credit card’ online or that she will be subject to fraud. Identity theft has risen to 1 in 4 in the UK so this is a valid concern. These shoppers start off by only using the internet to research products they mainly buy offline. To make these customers feel secure you need to clearly state your security /privacy policies and use a SSL certificate at checkout. These shoppers watch out for the little padlock at the bottom of the browser so make sure you have no non-secure items on your secure pages. Non-secure Google analytics tracking code is famous for this, they have a https version. You need to state that their information is secure and not sold or distributed. These customers also need customer support, with most of these shoppers wanting to hear from a human before they make their purchase. You need to make sure you include a phone number contact for these shoppers, and also an option that they can pay over the phone for their purchase. You might find these shoppers are only leads for your bricks and mortar or catalogue operations. These are still valid customers as most types of customers have a little bit of the nervous shopper in them.

You can not please or cater for every shopper that will land on your e-commerce site, but you do need to consider the information you need to give your customers and the shopping experience as a whole. Always consider your product type and match it with your typical customer profile. These are generalisations on shoppers, but as with the colour symbolism and psychology, every product type attracts a different set of customer profiles! You can even go as far as moulding your search engine optimisation to match what each shopper type is looking for. Intelligent search engines will deliver your products and message directly to these shopper types, Google personalised search will make this easier for you.

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Gearing up for Xmas 2007 – What to do in October…

Right, its getting close so what do you need to do? You haven’t started yet? Thought so. So lets get cracking and here’s a few things to get on with or you can use it as a basic guide. It’s generic as every business is different and every product type moves differently. This post leans more towards your advertising and a little about inventory and website functionality. I am going to start my Christmas shopping this month, and I buy EVERYTHING on-line, and about 50% on eBay.

Week 1

Gather Data – Make sure you have the necessary data from last year October to December including your pay per click campaign statistics from last year. This has to include your website statistics, ROI, traffic sources, best keywords Google Analytics’s can provide this basic data if installed correctly, including basically what made your revenue.

Review Product Launch Dates – Many companies schedule launch of products in time for the Christmas season, especially consumer electronics. Make sure you advertising picks up on these trends if your product is relevant.

Gather Competitive Intelligence – know your enemy in the battle for Christmas! What paid campaigns did they use last year? What keywords are they ‘buying’ now? Does your paid search campaign match up?

Prepare a calendar of events – make sure you and your advertising/website team know what’s going to happen and when.

Week 2

Prepare your website for the new season – evaluate the ease of navigation, can your item be found in 3 clicks? Is your shipping information clear and above the fold? (above the bottom of your browser window, on initial viewing of the page)

Determine your up-sell opportunities, you will have related products to your main Christmas sellers.

Have you tried setting up on eBay to increase your reach?

Test your seasonal landing pages.

Re organise your product inventory, make sure there is room for your seasonal items. Taking off your lower selling items during this period to squeeze in more popular items is OK. Most catalogue companies do this to make way for Christmas. Put keywords like ‘Christmas gifts’ and ‘gifts for her’ within the HTML and keywords of your site. Remember gifts is what its all about now.

Week 3

Prepare for launch! Once Halloween is over its time for Christmas so you need to make sure you can flick on your advertising methods, be it standard advertising, marketplaces or pay per click quickly. Test your campaigns intensively and monitor your competitors for change. Test your website, and remove any dead links or fix broken pages. Set budgets wisely. You supposed to be making more money at Christmas not loosing it on excessive advertising!
Week 4

Launch your campaign. You will need to make sure the search engines know what’s going on so have you updated your sitemaps? Once November hits is all about Christmas, you need to make sure your Christmas and gift keywords have been indexed. Once your campaign has been running for a week you will be able to fine tune it in the first week of November.

November Edition Posted

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Gearing up for Christmas – Seasonal E-commerce and Marketing

Most retailers depend heavily on Christmas sales. So how can you do better this year than last?

– Set up a separate advertising campaign and make sure your merchandise fits
– Create specific seasonal landing pages for your products to improve optimisation at this earlier stage. Remember you have 4 seconds to convert your customer so make sure you test and fine tune these pages.
– Pull last years top searches, there is a good chance last years searches will mirror this years
– Dust off last years successful email marketing campaigns and make sure you don’t repeat mistakes
– Don’t repeat on last years ‘non sellers’ If they didn’t sell last year they won’t this year either
– Make sure your items can be found in time for the Christmas season, search engines can take a while, which not try shopping comparison engines or other pay per click methods and specifically design them for the Christmas market.
– Be prepared to change your promotional activities quickly in response to the market. Don’t wait till next year to get rid of a dud method.
– Make sure those changes you were going to make to the site are made and you don’t start fiddling mid season.
– Streamline your checkout, make sure all the information is displayed and your customer has minimal fields to fill in. No one likes a cumbersome checkout when your Christmas on line shopping. Time is of the essence.

Another point highlighted by Lets Talk E-commerce

Make your shipping process completely transparent.

As the big day approaches, online shoppers have one big question: “Will I get my order on time?”

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Shopping Feed Management for the Small Business

I had an email from Merchant Advantage and they wanted to put their software on my radar screen as an product feed management platform for the small to medium sized business. There product Channel Management Lite only costs $145 (£73) a month and has no transaction fees and no set up costs. This offering can take the data from any storefront or website and push it to various marketplaces for you including Amazon and various shopping comparison sites such as shopzilla and google base. This is not an eBay listing tool, but it provides analytics so you can track the best and worst selling products.

P.S If you are looking for eBay bulk listing tools or total solutions try:

ChannelAdvisor (great for £25K+ GMS per month businesses)
Marketworks (Small to Medium size Businesses, less monthly fixed fee than channeladvisor but higher transactional fees – they did have reliability issues around a year ago so check on the uptime guarantee)

Those are the only real players in the UK marketplace at the moment for eBay automation. But if anyone wants to email any others for me to look at I’d love to see what they have got!

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Why I love channeladvisor today…

As an automated ebay listing and website storefront system channeladvisor is pretty hot.

Channeladvisor has made my life easier today because:

1. You can get a full export of all of your inventory – all that hard work exported in excel.
2. You can export all customer information (and see if they have opted in to your newsletter or not) for email marketing campaigns.
3. PayPal payments pro and express integration done for you. I still can’t do the paypal payments pro integration on my own website, but I will! Roll on Cubecart 4
4. Automatic feeds to Google Base and Shopzilla
5. Integration with Google Analytics using the e-commerce functionality too (so you can see what leads actually generate complete sales)
6. Export of all sales, all in one go.

That is why I love ChannelAdvisor today.

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