While e-commerce appears to have taken over a significant portion of the bricks-and-mortar market, most consumers are still happy to straddle offline and online channels to satisfy their buying needs. Moreover, Google reports that, this year, 76 percent of holiday shoppers will likely search on websites, social, marketplaces, and more, before they make their final purchase decision.
If you are one of many omnichannel retailers who manage multiple storefronts, online and physical, these best practices will help you boost your sales this holiday season.
Online and Offline ROI are Equally Important
Online ROI, while it has its advantages, will not deliver on all business targets, especially during the holiday season when flocking to physical stores on occasions like Black Friday is still a common practice among many consumers.
To win with an omnichannel strategy, retailers cannot just prioritise one channel over another. It is a delicate balancing act, wherein each one is best given equal attention. Here are just a couple of ways to get ahead of any potential conflicts.
Buy online, pick up in store
Giving customers greater visibility into what’s in or out of stock is especially critical during the holidays – the season of special promotions and sales. Google has made this easier with local inventory ads and the extra feature of store pickup.
Showcase your products on these ads to target shoppers using keywords like “local” + “near me”. When they click on your ad, they are directed to a Google-hosted page for your store – your local storefront. As local inventory ads improve your visibility on Google, your customers are able to find the information they need to make a purchase decision, including options for fulfillment.
Store visits tracking
With Google Ads, you can anonymously track users who click on your ad and then later visit your store. This data can be modelled, allowing you to better monitor omnichannel shopping behaviour.
Integrating store visits tracking with Google’s Smart Bidding feature lets you take into account both foot traffic and online conversions, so you can make advertising decisions in a more informed manner and adjust your ad spend, especially during the holidays when competitors battle more fiercely to win a bigger share of wallet.
Converting Traffic into Customers
Just as you leverage multiple avenues to market and sell your products, so do consumers go from offline to online, as they make their final purchase decision. In fact, more than 78% of the holiday shoppers perform a search before they buy from a local store. Thus, you need to keep your strategy consistent across all your channels, to provide your customers a seamless shopping experience.
Local actions optimisation
The Local Campaigns feature was introduced last year by Google for its Ad Campaigns. It streamlines the whole advertising process for you, making it easy to promote your stores across Google’s largest platforms including the Google Search Network, YouTube, Maps, and the Google Display Network. Local Actions Optimisation is still in beta testing although when it gets perfect, it will allow you to optimise the ads towards a wider range of conversion types – such as location directions or calls. Using this will take a lot of load off your shoulders and make things easier for you considering the upcoming hectic holiday season.
Customer match targeting
If you’re considering a remarketing strategy during the holidays, you’ll find Customer Match to be a nifty feature. It lets you upload customer data lists into AdWords and make the information accessible across all your channels, thus, enabling you to build campaigns and design ads for a very specific audience.
Customer Match targeting for last year’s holiday customers, for example, can help you promote repeat purchase behaviour and increase customer loyalty among your ‘highest-value’ customer base, such as through upselling or cross-selling offers.
Showcase Shopping ads
Want to present your products to potential customers before they even get to the search engine results? It’s now possible and even more effective with Showcase Shopping ads.
Useful for interconnecting multi-channels for marketing, Showcase ads are visually optimised for mobile screens and are capable of driving your conversion rate. Test out this ad format during the holiday season and win new customers, especially if you’re aiming your ads at the mobile segment at the top of the funnel.
You might already know ‘geo-targeting modifiers’ as location-based bidding. This feature is especially effective in filtering out irrelevant traffic, which can quickly eat up your ad budget, if you’re not careful.
By including only your ideal geographic targets that you know will convert well, you can adjust your bid percentages for ads and optimise your spending. Once you’ve decided which regions you wish to target, you can then segment for both online and physical locations.
Are your ads holiday-specific? Stand out from the competition by using relevant creatives, from your images and videos down to your headlines, descriptions, and calls to action. Google’s asset report helps you determine whether your ads are effective, by analysing each creative element and how it contributes to reaching your conversion targets. Closely monitor this report, so you can direct your budget where you can get the most out of your ad spend.
As the holiday season closes in, consumers will be pulled in different directions by competing brands, products, and channels. Let’s have a chat about how you can craft and execute on a well-balanced, consistent omnichannel strategy, to help you grab the attention of your customers and maximise your revenue this holiday season.