It’s December 2015 and Black Friday is behind us. I mean that in a literal sense (2 weeks have now passed) but also in the sense of The End of an Era.
Per retail analysis firm Shopper Track, Black Friday 2015 showed a 10.4% drop year-over-year in physical store sales since 2014. This drop is unprecedented, and is attributed to consumers shopping over a longer span of time and taking advantage of the convenience (and safety!) of the online marketplace.
Meanwhile, Cyber Monday was reported by Adobe Digital Index to be the largest online sales day ever in the US, up 16% from 2014 to top $3 Billion.
For those of you in the (r)etail business: how do you keep up?
Here is a checklist for ensuring your business is ready for the longer, more consumer-driven, omni-channel shopping cycles of 2016.
- Be searchable.
The first page of eCommerce search results drives 85% of all product pages viewed, which is essential for product discovery. SEO your website and any searchable information on your products, such as product descriptions. Make sure your products have a unique Digital Product ID, which will allow your customers to recognize and trust the real thing when they see it.
- Know your customer, and plan accordingly. If your target end user is primarily women, don’t focus your efforts around Father’s Day. This sounds like common sense and something you can do on the fly, but it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees that way. Plus, people have already done the work for you predicting the heaviest shopping days of the year. You are missing out if you are not already creating a 2016 promotional calendar keyed to the behaviors of your target end user, with special consideration for your Digital Consumer.
- Optimize your channels. Ask your friend, cousin, brother-in-law to try to go through the journey of searching for and purchasing your products. How does your “sales funnel” work for real users? Does your eCommerce website work on mobile? Where does any confusion stem from? And the bigger picture: do your distribution channels make sense – individually, holistically?
- Audit your data. Product information is collected in multiple locations and by multiple teams within an organization, and distributed out through many information streams. Some of these streams you have control over, and some you don’t. The most important task for any company that lists its products online is to make sure that product information is available, accurate and complete. Read more about how this can be done well and in collaboration between trading partners in our Case Study with Sony Electronics and Sam’s Club.
- ***Images*** I cannot stress this enough. Quality product images and other rich assets like certifications, spec sheets and video files can make the difference between making sales – and getting passed over. Check out this Dot Foods Case Study for more information and let us know if you need help managing your digital assets.
The takeaway is: as holiday sales cycles cover a longer span of time and move online, you will need a game plan. And in this environment, information is your greatest asset.
Read more about 1WorldSync’s Product Information Solutions for Internet Retailers.