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HomeINDUSTRY INSIGHTLooking past the discount: Can this peak shopping season be the start of the retail resurgence?

Looking past the discount: Can this peak shopping season be the start of the retail resurgence?

The challenges caused to businesses in 2020 means most are looking for sales season to be huge. ​Outbrain’s NZ sales manager ​Andy Hammond​, explores the best performance strategies to make the most out of the fast-approaching peak retail season.

This quarter is gearing up to be the biggest of 2020. We’ve had so much going on that has directly affected our economy that this upcoming sales season is a chance for many to redeem lost sales.

The golden month has now become the golden quarter, and retailers need to get ready.

In China, the way in which consumers are shopping has changed over the last year. More people are saving and stockpiling so that they can hibernate and spend, but are also waiting for online promotions to save money more so than they did last sales season.

According to a consumer insight survey ​undertaken by Radical​, 66 percent of shoppers expected to increase online spending this flash sale season. We can expect other global consumers will be following suit.

Covid itself has shown that a strong digital presence is needed in order to survive, so now more than ever, there needs to be a solid focus on your online experience. A study undertaken by PWC titled,​ The Consumer Transformed,​ showed that during the sales season there is a 50 percent drop off in in-store shopping as stores focus on digital and consumers move to e-commerce platforms.

According to PWC’s 2020 Global Consumer Insight Survey, 45 percent of respondents are expecting to increase shopping online via mobile phone, while 41 percent expected to increase shopping online via their computer.

Consumers are now changing where they shop, why they shop, and how they shop. So for many, there will need to be key changes in strategies to help target this new wave of customers.

When it comes to getting tactical and preparing the best you can for this upcoming golden month of retail sales, there are three main points you need to consider;

1) Cut through the noise

2)  Start even earlier

3)  Target, optimise, target

The average person sees between 6,000 ads per day during 2020, so to cut through the noise you must make sure your creative and content strategy gets the right users and stands out from the crowd.

We’ve always known there is a lot of over-saturation, but now we’re balancing that with nativagting all these new buyers and sellers shifting to online. Now more than ever is a time when you need to make a meaningful connection with your customer and not just become part of the noise.

This can be done in a multitude of ways, yet my advice is to focus on what makes your off-line experience special and mimic that online. Customers find comfort in meaningful connections which needs to be done by looking past the discount, so to speak.

By thinking beyond one-time purchases or visitors you can drive repeat engagement by utilising incentives, providing closed-door content and making consumer trust one of your main goals.

Another way to cut through the noise is through the proper use of headlines and copy, to capture attention through images and branding.

My favourite mantra is fail to plan and plan to fail, which is why this sales season starting even earlier will be key in driving sales. Especially as 30 percent of Covid-era consumers plan to utilise Cyber Weekend as their main holiday shopping time.

There is so much to do, and so little time.

Andy Hammond, Outbrain’s NZ sales manager

A great place to start is building your audience pools. This will take time, but is one of the most important aspects as segmentation is everything when it comes to more cost per acquisition (CPA) driven targeting and retargeting, personalising ad experiences and efficient optimisations.

From soft conversions to hard conversions, all the way to generating ‘Lookalikes’ off your first party data, you need to look at the pools that are the most important to you going into that shopping season. Soft conversations can include new website visitors or email engagements, while the trickier conversion pools can include add to cart purchases and repeat purchases.

However, don’t discard looking back at pools that didn’t convert last holiday, or even pools for October that didn’t convert to sales – they’re all valuable and have a long lifespan. My suggestion is to use pay day sales or Singles Day as dress rehearsals to really get your strategy right.

That brings me to the last strategic point to really increase your effect this holiday season, target, optimise and target.

This includes breaking out campaigns by platform, thinking outside your vertical, target for conversion and expanding regionally.

As more shoppers shift to mobile you need to make sure you’re creating experiences for the intimacy of the small screen, especially in the discovery phase.. But keep in mind, desktop and tablet still win out for overall e-commerce conversion rates.

Covid-19 has seen a lot of categories climb in popularity as consumer habits shift, notably health, fitness and home goods. Yet these categories can be used to the advantage of all, which is why retailers also need to think outside their vertical. Your consumers are interested in many different topics, so you can miss potential customers because you’re not accurately portraying that you have what they’re looking for.

The takeaway here is give yourself some room to explore.

There may be opportunities in things you haven’t considered, this is how you can lead more new customers you may not have usually connected with through your funnel.

These strategy suggestions can help give you the lead you need to make the most out of the peak sales season. But they’re also not just for the golden quarter, by cutting through the noise, planning, and strategising, you can adapt your offering to maximum efficiency year-round.

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