Archive for the ‘Search Marketing’ Category

The Importance of a Millennial Marketing Mindset

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Posted by Fred Lizza, Dydacomp CEO

Millennials control 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchasing power in the US or $1.3 trillion[1], making them an audience that deserves recognition and attention. A recent survey conducted jointly by Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International identified a serious knowledge gap that exists between retailers and their millennial shoppers.  Each generation has their own specific buying patterns and understanding their unique characteristics and purchasing behaviors creates business opportunities that give retailers a competitive advantage.

MillennnialsThe millennials, or Generation Y, often forgo traditional marketing and do much of their shopping via the Internet from a wide variety of mobile devices.  They are visual communicators who look for real life examples to show them the value of their investment and what their money buys them.  Brand names are big with this group.  So is having the latest technology. They are extremely connected and look to their contemporaries for approval.  This group is attracted to the experience, value, cost, quality and service they can expect from a brand, product or company. Social media is the preferred channel for reaching this market. Key influencers for this group are online-savvy peers, the Internet, eCommerce, Reality TV and digital music.

With attitudes and behaviors shaped by technology and dramatic economic volatility, they are more conservative and share many characteristics of people who came of age during the great depression.  Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than their predecessors to adopt new social, mobile and digital channels and they integrate technology into their customer experience.  This is an important demographic for multi-channel retailers.  Alexandra Frith, director of marketing at Retail Pro International comments, “The reality is that there just isn’t room for error; with so much competition – whether in-store or online – retailers can’t risk losing this important demographic.” Knowing how to better attract and engage this group should be an important part of your retail strategy.

According to the survey, millennials are information-seeking shoppers with 60 percent doing pre-purchase research through retailer websites. In addition, 53 percent stated that their shopping experiences are seamless across channels although they note that retailer sites often lack the extensive functionality they have come to expect. They are looking for what is known in today’s vernacular as an ‘omnichannel experience’ and retailers need to consider this to create a relationship with these shoppers.

In addition, millennials are the most multiculturally diverse group in the U.S. today.  Brands that incorporate multicultural themes are winning with millennials as are those that effectively use social media channels to create inclusive communities.  This enables millennials to connect with each other as well as develop stronger relationships with actual products and brands – a retailer’s goal.

Tapping in to generational nuances can help strengthen your marketing strategy.  Staying on top of and utilizing what is current and trending for the millennial demographic will enable you to better connect with this target audience to increase brand loyalty along with your bottom line. Your order management system contains a wealth of information about your customers and, with an eye on strategic marketing, you can use the data to create targeted, effective campaigns to entice your Generation Y customers with promotions uniquely suited to them.

For additional information on operational improvements through automating order management, read this eBook entitled “Drive Your Retail Sales Growth With Operational Efficiencies.”


[1] MillennialMarketing.com – March 21, 2014: The Optical Industry: 3 Tips to Consider When Marketing to Millennials

[2] MillennialMarketing.com – Millennials and Multicultural Marketing

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Back to Basics. Do You Know How People Find You Online?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Posted by Laura Hills, VP of Marketing

If you operate a brick and mortar retail store, it is easy to ask customers how they found you.  And, you can see firsthand which products are selling and which may require further explanations to help the shopper understand either how to use the product or how it would fit them, if, for example, they’re looking at apparel.

Running an online retail business is a different story.  Do you know who is visiting your website?  Where are they coming from?  What do they like or dislike? Getting these answers is not so easy to do with customers who visit you online but the information is available to you.  The information can be found through online analytics.  Analytics are a valuable asset when it comes to your website and your online marketing efforts. The more informed you are about customer interactions with your eCommerce store and the products you sell online, the more effective your marketing efforts and your site will be to drive sales.

It’s so important to understand where your visitors are coming from and how they found you– whether they reached you directly, via a search engine, through social networks or other referring sites.  An analysis of website visitors helps you keep track of new and returning visitors.

Through tools like Google Analytics, you can capture and analyze how much time people are spending on your site and which pages on your site are attracting the most attention. Monitoring website analytics on a fairly frequent basis can make all the difference to growing your online business. We have found that there are two critical areas where even simple analytics can help to hone your web marketing strategy effectiveness.

The first centers around Internet search keywords.  Keywords drive traffic, messaging and sales. Analytics can help you determine which keywords are working and which keywords are not. Words or phrases that you thought described your product may not be what online visitors use to search for your product and find your site. You may have the right keyword, but the wrong content surrounding it.

You don’t have to manage hundreds of keywords. In fact, most PayPerClick (PPC) and SEO experts will agree that you should keep your primary keyword list under 25 or even under 15.  These are the words that shoppers would use to find the products you offer and/or to find you, in particular.  They can be common terms for the market(s) you serve coupled with your differentiators.  For example, in the fashion apparel market, popular keywords may include ‘women fashion shoes’, ‘fashion accessories’, ‘vintage handbags’ … to name a few.  You can actually search for ‘common retail search keywords’ and then check out those listed for your specific audience.

The second centers around your landing pages.  If you don’t have the time to analyze your site’s keyword performance in depth every day, we recommend, at a minimum, understanding your landing page content relative to your most important keywords. Understanding key website performance indicators like the ones listed below will help to maximize its overall effectiveness.

It is important to know how many people landed on a page that may have been designed to support a specific promotion, how many people exited the page quickly, where they came from, what keyword they searched to get there, how long they spent on a page?  You can also track results by seeing if they converted.

Your home page is often the top landing page and it typically can have the highest bounce rate if visitors don’t find what they’re looking for right away or if the messaging doesn’t match what they searched for in the first place. Test a few different designs and messages to find which ones offer the lowest bounce rate and drive the most conversions overall.

Secondary pages or internal landing pages are often the most valuable parts of your site. These pages often contain the specific information your customers are looking for. Designed properly, internal pages answer your customers’ questions and drive them to convert.

Break down the top landing pages and evaluate what makes them successful.  Analytics can tell you what keywords your site visitors used to get there to help you refine your content. Define the type of content on that page and the calls to action (CTAs) you are using.  See if this can this be replicated on other pages. This type of analysis gives you key information on how customers interact with your site and how you can provide them with a great experience by having the right design and content.

Many of our retail customers are finding the effective use of videos to support product descriptions.  A short video can not only showcase a product and drive sales, they can also cut down on the common ‘how to’ customer support calls.

Consider the following in analyzing your site:

  • What are the top landing pages?
  • Which pages have the highest bounce rate?
  • What pages do people spend the most time on?
  • Which pages lead to the most conversions?
  • Which campaigns led to the best sales performance?

Effective website analytics can help you to find out which of your marketing strategies and tactics are bringing the most customers to your site – whether it is a newsletter, social media posts, email promotions, club memberships or other marketing programs you are using.  The more informed you are relative to customer interactions with your site, the more effective (and more efficient) your marketing efforts will be.

Online marketing methods need to be supported by web analytics so that you know what is working, where your shoppers are coming from and what you can do to attract customers. If you don’t already have good analytics in place, make this the year that you add this function so that you can run your site more efficiently.

If you haven’t heard about omnichannel retailing, it’s the latest buzz around giving customers a 360 degree experience with your business.  If you’re interesting in learning more about omnichannel retailing and the latest trends in people finding you and experiencing your brand, check out this On Demand Webinar: Demystifying Omnichannel Retailing: Finding Value in a Multichannel Sales Landscape.

 

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Keeping New Year’s Resolutions That Can Help You Grow Your eCommerce Business

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

New Year’s resolutions aren’t only for individuals.  Many business owners make resolutions intended to help their company achieve success and start off the year with a plan for growth. Statistics show that just one week into January, 25% of personal resolutions have already been forgotten and by the end of the year, 88% of resolutions will have been broken.  Let’s look at how this year can be different.

According to Tom Connellan, the author of “The 1 Percent Solution: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever” there are several reasons that stand out above the others as to why resolutions go by the wayside. They are as applicable to businesses as they are to individuals. They are:

  • Relying only on motivation. – Connellan believes that motivation comes from small successes.  Most of us think that we need one major motivator that will sustain us throughout the year which is not realistic. Success is a great motivator that will keep the motivation level high which leads to continued success.
  • Having only big goals.  – People tend to think in large terms that can be unrealistic.  Smaller goals are just as important and often easier to achieve.  Instead of saying this is the year for 500 new customers, try breaking this down into a weekly or monthly targets and develop short term strategies that you can implement to achieve your goal.
  • Change is uncomfortable – Any kind of change, even good change, is a break from the norm which takes people out of their comfort zone.  This makes it harder to continue a behavior and stay with a resolution.

Doug Sundheim, co-author of “The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done without Driving Yourself Crazy” feels that time management can go a long way toward keeping you on track with your business resolutions for the new year. Sundheim recommends following the steps below to keep you on track:

  • Rank your goals. –  You probably have a laundry list of things that you’d like to achieve in 2014. Pick the top three goals for your company and focus on them. You can always modify or add to your list once you’ve accomplished a goal.
  • Be aware of information overload. – With so much data available, you have to be selective in what you pay attention to. You can spend all day trying to keep up with information on your industry which won’t leave time for much else.  Focus on a few trusted sources and industry experts to stay updated.
  • Just say no. – Saying no gives you more time to say yes to what is important to your business.

Now that you’ve got a handle on how to keep your resolutions, we have a few recommendations of our own that will help keep your eCommerce business on track for success in 2014.

  • Revisit your marketing plan. – Review what worked in 2013 and look ahead to trends for 2014 that you’d like to incorporate into your plan.  Reevaluate your target market and the strategies you used to reach them. Determine which marketing tactics worked, which didn’t and how you can augment your plan to achieve better results. And if you don’t have a marketing plan, now’s the time to create one.  Remember, small steps will go a long way.
  • Examine your website. – If you sell online, the importance of support for online shopping cannot be stressed enough.  Make sure your website best reflects your company, products and what sets you apart.  Be sure everything works as it should and that the site connects with customers across multiple sales channels and mobile devices.
  • Market your company every day. – Find a way to do at least one thing to promote your business. It can be as simple as updating a directory listing or posting to Facebook. It can be as involved as creating a series of short videos, email blasts or developing a new advertising campaign.
  • Check your prices. – Know what your competitors are charging for similar products and understand what customers are willing to pay. You may need to adjust your margins or find alternative suppliers, but offering the right products at the right price goes a long way to attracting new and repeat shoppers to your site.

You likely have resolutions of your own that will support your vision for 2014.  We offer the above advice to help you keep your resolutions and achieve greater success in 2014.

Happy Selling!

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Understanding Today’s Content & Media Strategy to Grow Your eCommerce Business

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Posted by: Laura Hills

With all of the media choices available, do you know the best optioUnderstanding-Todays-Content-Media-Strategy-to-Grow-Your-eCommerce-Businessns to promote your business?  The first step is to understand the variety of media available to support your content management marketing strategy.

Let’s start with your company’s website.  This is often the first impression that a customer or potential customer has for your business.  Your website is media that you own and control, whether you physically maintain the site yourself or have someone else do this for you. Your site should always be up-to-date, easy-to-navigate, function properly and be an inviting source of information about your company and products.  It is important that your site is search engine optimized (SEO) to be sure that those searching for your company or products have the best chance of finding you.

Your website is a place to feature your active social media channels, blog postings, relevant publications including catalogues, newsletters, videos, webinars or other content that you publish.  Email blasts and direct mail that you produce and distribute are other forms of content. All of this is an important part of your content strategy.

Depending upon your business strategy, public relations and other outreach efforts can promote your products or company with placements in magazines, newspapers, broadcast media or online to help tell your story and get you noticed. Good public relations doesn’t have to involve using an agency to represent you. Today this media includes blogger and social media channels that enable you to gain greater exposure for your message.  Whether you write your own blogs or follow and post comments to other blogs, have your own social media pages or follow and comment on others, you are spreading the word about your company.  And, in spreading the word through social channels, you are driving attention back to your website or storefront.

Providing information on relevant and timely topics, whether through articles in newspapers, magazines or internet channels helps your company gain recognition.  To supplement your content management strategy you should take time to cultivate opportunities and business connections through attending industry events, writing blogs (your own and/or guest blogs for others), reaching out to any local media outlets and being active in social media channels. Quality content tends to get shared which helps to increase recognition and is an important component to overall content strategy.

Another area to consider is paid media which includes any type of promotion or advertising that you pay for.  There are limitless opportunities to buy advertising space for your company including all forms of print and online ads, product and service directories, radio and TV spots and all forms of online search advertising including pay-per-click (PPC), Google and LinkedIn sponsored content. Facebook now offers paid advertising and it’s said that Twitter won’t be far behind.

Budgets play a big role in the type of paid media you can utilize.  Determine where your customers and potential shoppers are likely to see your ads; where do you see your competitors advertising?  It pays to know your shoppers – are they internet savvy and online most of the time? Do they read or subscribe to magazines or newsletters that would be a good fit to promote your products? Don’t be afraid to test new outlets for your message. It is important that you blend available media options to create a cohesive and targeted content strategy.

For additional information on developing a converged media content strategy, read Jayson DeMers’ article, How to Execute a Converged Media Content Strategy (And Why You Should) which appeared in Forbes online Entrepreneurs column.

 

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Your Brand Logo – To Update or Not To Update – That is the Question

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

Yahoo! unveiled its new logo design recently and it has opened up the conversation about the value of logo redesigns for companies and brands. There are no hard and fast rules for when it’s time to update your company or brand logo.  Some companies can go for decades without a change and other companies make it a part of their marketing strategy to update or change their logos on a regular, pre-planned basis. Sometimes all it takes is a comment about the logo, whether from management, on social media or from the business owner that gets the process started.

In 2013 many well-known companies including Facebook, Hooters, Ernst & Young, Instagram and Procter & Gamble made changes to their logos. For the first time in its 19 year history, multinational internet corporation Yahoo! redesigned its highly identifiable logo, issuing a “logo a day” over a month for people to weigh in on. Most logos are introduced and accepted without incident.  However, in 2010, The Gap unveiled a new logo that was met with universal dislike, prompting this high profile retailer to ditch their new logo and return to the old.

The purpose of a logo is to get the attention of your audience and make a positive impact and lasting impression.  It should enable easy and instant recognition, conveying who you are and a realistic image of what your company and/or brand represents.

How do you determine if your logo could use some updating?  And if you decide to make a change should you go for a full redesign or just some more up-to-date touches?  We’ve provided a few things to consider when evaluating these questions.

Is Your Logo Showing Signs of Age?

Just as clothing goes out of style (think of shoulder pads or parachute pants from the ‘80s), fonts, popular colors and images can make your logo look dated.  Even classic clothing – think trench coats – get refreshed every now and then with new colors and updated styling.  Often all that’s needed is an update to remain current to capture the attention of today’s digitally savvy audiences.

You can make simple changes that will enable you to retain your logo’s original design while updating its look. Subtle changes may help you attract new customers while remaining fully recognizable to existing clients.  Look at Facebook’s new logo and see how a simple change (no definitive bottom to their well known lower case f) makes a very distinct visual difference.

Who Originally Designed Your Logo?

Today’s logos need to translate across more media channels than ever before. Companies may not always budget for professional design services to create a logo and build their own logo without the benefit of a design professional.  Although these logos may look nice, they don’t always work from a technical standpoint and may not transfer from online to print or from a PC to a tablet, phone or other mobile device very well.  It is always a good idea to have a professional design, or at a minimum, review your logo to be sure it works across multiple media.  Even professionally designed logos may need to be changed or updated from time to time and this should be handled by a design professional for the best results.

Has Your Company Undergone a Major Change or Transformation?

There will be times when updating your company or brand logo will be necessary.  Major business changes, such as a new name, change in ownership, business focus, merger or acquisition, new product introduction, pursuing a new audience, or business expansion may all warrant a change to your logo.

You may find that you no longer stand out from your competitors and need to find ways to differentiate yourself. With your logo being one of the first things a customer sees, it is good to have a logo that stands out from others in your industry and readily identifies your company and products.

New Logo or Rebrand?

Rebranding is a larger decision.  Companies consider rebranding for many of the reasons listed in the above paragraph, but the change may go deeper than just the company logo.  Rebranding can include the company image, product lines, individual products and beyond; often eliminating an old brand and introducing a new one.

Your website and/or storefront are places to showcase your brand image.  Refreshing the image through a change in logo design is an investment that can carry your business to the next level and make a huge impact on your company and/or brands’ creditability and success.

For a fun look at popular company logos that have changed significantly over time, click here. (http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/logo-evolution/)  For additional information on updating your brand logo, check out “9 Answers To Why, When And How You Should Update Your Brand Logo” at http://eleventygroup.com/site/2013/09/11/why-when-and-how-you-should-update-your-brand-logo/.

 

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SMB Retailers – It’s A Good Time to Prepare for Growth

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Working with many SMBs, the newspaper headline “Advice for small companies: Take stock, take risks” caught my attention.  This article by Joyce Rosenberg, small business editor at The Associated Press, encourages small business owners to step back from their day-to-day operations to evaluate how they are running their companies.  According to Rosenberg, crisis mode has passed and business owners need to be sure their companies are poised to take advantage of growth opportunities expected on the horizon.

A recent National Small Business survey taken in June and July indicates that small business owner confidence is up 38% from six months ago.  The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index July survey shows that confidence has risen 9 points from the start of 2013.  Indications are positive and business owners need to be ready to respond to customer and market demands that are to come.  One issue that small businesses are facing is the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.  Businesses don’t have a clear picture of what it will ultimately end up costing to provide health care coverage for their employees.  Paul Sarvadi, adviser to small business owners and CEO of Insperity, a Houston-based human resources provider advises not letting this uncertainty limit or stall future plans.

Rosenberg cites three major steps that small business owners should be taking right now as they prepare for a strong year end and continued growth in 2014.

  • Look Ahead –Step back and take a hard and realistic look at where improvements are needed.  Reducing costs, increasing customer satisfaction and differentiating yourself from your competitors are all areas that need to be explored.  Don’t be afraid to be critical in analyzing your business and don’t be locked in to how things have been done in the past.
  • Take Risks – Business is risky and doing nothing can be the riskiest behavior of all.  Be prepared to respond to opportunities.  Consumer spending and the economy can rebound quickly and you’ve got to be ready to jump in to take advantage.
  • Be Good to Employees – The backbone of your organization – retaining good employees needs to be a priority.  Determine what rewards would be appreciated by your staff and implement incentive programs that will have the best return.

The growth trends cited in this article are consistent with those we observe for multichannel etailers transacting business through our order management and eCommerce solutions.  Running an SMB retail business is as much of an art as it is a science.  Connecting back office retail operations with the eCommerce store is essential to bridge the gap between the orders coming in through your online store, the fulfillment of orders and inventory visibility on the back end.

To access Joyce Rosenberg’s full article, click here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/advice-small-companies-take-stock-take-risks.

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Holiday Season Offers Exceptional Deals

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

Consumers have become savvy shoppers and adapted to the spending cycle of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.  While they clamber for deals over this weekend, they also realize that more promotions will follow over the next few weeks.   With only 25 shopping days this season, retailers are pulling out all stops to attract shoppers both in store and online.

Jeanette Pavini, MarketWatch.com columnist has provided some shopping insights for consumers looking to take advantage of great deals and discounts to help them fill the stockings of family and friends. These cover a wide range of products to help buyers stretch holiday dollars. Below are items that she is highlighting to shoppers as trends for December.

  • Classic Toys are never out of style.  Kids may have digital wants but according to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Top Toys Survey, classics like Barbies and Legos still make it to the top of many wish lists.  Lego offers bundled sets at one low price that can be given as two separate gifts.  If you order Barbie and accessories from the Mattel website, signing up for their email list before you shop will save you 10%.  If you missed the Thanksgiving and Black Friday toy specials, you can still get a bargain as many of the season’s most popular toys are discounted even more in December.

  • Hot items from the NFL.  If your NFL team is like mine and out of the running for a playoff spot, you may be able to grab some clearance priced licensed gear during December.  And these prices will likely go lower after December 25th as retailers try to empty their shelves. Game tickets are also subject to a team’s success (or lack of) with underperforming team tickets available at a discount – TiqIQ’s NFL Power Rankings has the average price for the Jacksonville Jaguars at $59 whereas Chicago Bears tickets are averaging $374.

  • DVDs can be a great buy. Blockbuster is closing its doors, announcing the closing of its remaining 300 stores by January.  They have planned giant close out sales for movies, music and even video games.  In addition, with more people streaming movies, stores are finding themselves with excess DVD inventory.  Clearance bins often have great buys on popular and classic movies.
  • We all need clothing. If you can wait until December 26th, the bargains will get better.  Clothing, accessories, and shoes are the most returned gifts which often get further mark downs before being returned to the shelves.  Excess inventory will typically be reduced after the holiday for even more savings.
  • The go-to Gift Card.  Many retailers and restaurants offer gift card bonuses at this time of year. Buy a specified amount of gift cards and get a bonus gift card that you can give as a gift or use to treat yourself.  Just be sure to check the fine print and expiration date of the bonus cards – these often expire within a shorter time period and may require a minimum purchase.

Great offers that no one knows about won’t bring shoppers to your store or website so continue to reach out to your shoppers with whatever promotions and deals you are offering.  For additional holiday sales strategies, view Dydacomp’s webinar, The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Seasonal and Holiday Rushes.   

The full text of Jeanette’s article, “Surprising Deals of the Holiday Season” can be found at MarketWatch.  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304011304579220462813394556

Happy holiday selling!

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Using Social Media To Help Grow Your eCommerce Business

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp

multichannel-order-management-social-media

Marketers are placing a high value on social media with 86% of marketers responding to a recent survey indicating that social media is important for their business.  This is up from 83% in 2012.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for marketers and if forced to choose only one platform, 49% of marketers responded that they would select Facebook.  Despite Facebook’s popularity among the marketers surveyed, only about one in three find their Facebook efforts are effective.

In a recent survey of Dydacomp SMB retail customers, 50% of respondents indicated that social media is one of the emerging channels that they plan to leverage in 2013.

The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report conducted by SocialMediaExaminer.com reveals current and relevant insight to marketers as they evaluate their social media marketing efforts.  This annual survey, now in its fifth year, of 3,000 marketers seeks to understand and then share how social media is used to grow and promote a wide range of B2C and B2B businesses.  A little more than half of the respondents are self-employed or work for small businesses (2 to 10 people).  Responses are summarized and presented in easy to read and follow graphics with nearly 70 charts to visually convey the report’s findings.

Get information about social media time commitment, benefits, pitfalls and platforms that your peers and perhaps competitors are using and compare yourself against other marketers.  Are you getting the same results?  What more should you be doing?

The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is a must read for anyone that needs to evaluate the commitment to social media marketing.  Click here to access this special report.

 

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Attracting Shoppers Is Critical to a Successful Holiday Shopping Season

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing

Facing the shortest holiday selling season in quite some time, many U.S. retailers are already well into their holiday promotions and special offers to get shoppers into their stores and placing their online orders as early as possible. Traditionally, U.S. merchants have focused on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, to get their holiday sales season underway. Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday when the best online deals are typically offered.gift-card-bow

Kimberly Greenberger, an analyst with Morgan Stanley predicts this year’s holiday season to be the most promotional-oriented and discounted since 2008 with eCommerce sales accounting for between 12 and 13% of overall retail sales.  Last year’s eCommerce figure was 11% of total sales.

This year, Black Friday is November 28th and Cyber Monday is December 2nd, which are both late in the holiday shopping game.  Hanukkah is early this year and all of this has prompted many retailers to get a big jump start on this critical selling season.  Wal-Mart has already kicked off its online deals, starting with an online sales event on November 1st – a full month earlier than usual.  They offered some of the lowest prices to be found this season along with free shipping on 99% of online items – more typically the type of promotions that were previously reserved for Cyber Monday.

Wal-Mart isn’t the only major retailer to get an early start.  Toys R Us started their holiday ads earlier than ever before and even offered cash back incentives to loyalty rewards customers who purchased specific toys by October 31 – Halloween.  They’ve added another incentive and are offering their Black Friday deals to their loyalty rewards members on the day before Thanksgiving.  Target is also spending more on holiday advertising, extending its price-match policy and expanding its buy online/pick up in store service.  Best Buy has run Holiday Kickoff sales via email and in the stores while L.L. Bean and Lands End are offering early discounts as well, both online and in store to attract this year’s budget conscious shoppers. Many retailers have even opted to open on Thanksgiving this year to give shoppers more time for their holiday shopping.

So how can you as an SMB retailer attract customers to your site to do their holiday shopping? Follow the lead of the big box retailers and get out there early and often.  Look to promote your products in the online and social media places where you know your customers will be congregating.  Take advantage of social media channels that your shoppers will likely be visiting this season and become highly visible. This could be the time for Our Staff’s Holiday Picks Pinterest page.

Use third party sites to feature your items and associated promos.  Many customers time their purchases according to coupons and other promos that you can easily distribute.  Keep in mind that mobile device usage for product and gift research as well as actual ordering is growing rapidly so be sure to make your offers attractive and easy to read on all platforms.  The larger retailers will continue to use Free Shipping, often with a minimum purchase, to entice customers which means you should too, if at all possible.  After a decade of offering free shipping on orders of $25.00, Amazon has raised their limit to $35.00 for orders to receive free shipping.  If free shipping isn’t possible for you, link your order management and fulfillment system directly to your carrier so that you can provide the lowest shipping price options.

Higher visibility helps lead to higher sales and there are ways to attract large numbers of motivated and ready-to-spend holiday shoppers.  Incorporate a third-party service, such as buySAFE, to verify that you are a reputable merchant and all information shared over your site is guaranteed secure. According to buySAFE, displaying this seal has resulted in a six-percent increase in conversion rates.

Study shopping abandonment data on an ongoing basis and reach out to those shoppers.  Consider running targeted campaigns to drive consumers back to your site to complete their orders – sweeten the deal, if needed with additional incentives.  Come up with catchy headlines and text to cut through the deluge of holiday promotions out there.  Help your shoppers by counting down the shopping days and devise promotions that tie into time, such as a gift a day promotion, featuring different items each week, or play off the 8 Days of Hanukkah or 12 Days of Christmas. Consider a Wrap It Up Early theme or ‘Tis the Season to Be Shopping with special items and prices offered.

For additional tips to help you have a great holiday selling season, access our on-demand webinar, “The Top 5 Insights to Help Prepare for Seasonal and Holiday Rushes”.  There’s no such thing as over reaching your customers this holiday season, especially with targeted and enticing promotions and offers.

Happy Holiday Selling!

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Technology Helps Sporting Goods Retailers Score with Customers

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Posted by Laura Hills, Vice President of Marketing, Dydacomp

The Sporting Goods industry generates close to $40 billion in annual revenue and covers a wide variety of activities from individual to team sports and from archery and biking to yoga and ziplining.  Sporting goods retailers are starting to see a rebound in consumer buying habits as more people of all ages are becoming active for the health and well-being benefits while continuing to support local recreational sports and their favorite professional teams.

Local and online retailers are challenged to remain competitive despite pressure exerted by cost conscious consumers and price and inventory competition from department stores and big box stores. Critical to success in retail sporting goods is awareness of market trends, product mix shifts, customer needs and preferences. Sporting goods retailers need to have the ability to collect, analyze and be responsive to consumer demands, sales trends and changes in sporting equipment to be successful and score sales with their customers.

Sporting goods retailers need to implement effective market strategies to:

  • Offer the right mix of equipment, accessories and sports attire
  • Continuously analyze consumer preferences, shifts and sales trends
  • Manage inventory levels to stay ahead of seasonal sports and identified trends
  • Effectively time promotions, sales campaigns and special events to increase visibility across multiple channels
  • Provide special services, such as personalization, team outfitting or sports instruction clinics, whether in person or online

Small to medium sporting goods retailers need to find ways to differentiate themselves from what is available through mass market channels or to extend their business through online channels.  On a local level, they can stock unique or hard to find items, support local sports teams, provide extra services, and offer quick delivery with hassle-free returns to develop customer loyalty.  To sustain a multichannel business model, sporting goods retailers need to seamlessly integrate all business processes across all channels of business to capture data, manage inventory and shipping and create the best experience for their customers.  Dydacomp’s whitepaper “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Order Management Best Practices for Sporting Goods Retailers,” addresses the technology needed to capture, integrate and utilize data across multiple channels to level the playing field with larger retailers.   Click here to access this special report.

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