As we head into this year’s holiday season, how can brands better plan and optimize for seasonally-driven events and products?
In this Q&A, Nicole Vinson, group director of eCommerce at The Integer Group, provides her point of view and advice on optimizing for the seasons. Check out the podcast for the full interview.
Keith Anderson: Can you expand on some of the opportunities and challenges about listing items that are unique to a season and then driving traffic in generating sales for seasonal items?
Nicole Vinson: Seasonal items are a little tricky in the online channel just because retailers don’t really like in-and-out products because they end up having to sit on a whole bunch of inventory after the season. We’re actually seeing retailers like Amazon requiring that manufacturers sell through about 90% of that inventory, otherwise they end up having to buy it back from Amazon.
Putting together really mindful and thoughtful strategies on how we’re going to move that inventory and put the right media dollars and support behind it to move that product quickly during the seasonal time frame is critical.
Some of the things that we’re doing on behalf of clients is developing a lot of great A-plus content that’s optimized for search – so driving a lot of those seasonally relevant search terms as well as driving usage occasion.
Keith Anderson: Have you used programs like the Vine sampling program to try and seed some verified, authentic reviews before a season really starts in full swing?
Nicole Vinson: Amazon Vine is certainly something we participate in, especially when we’re launching any kind of a new product. I think that there’s also opportunity to be leveraging that same product during multiple seasons. So trying to figure out with your brand – if it’s truly just an external packaging change but the product physically is the same – whether we can use the same product number multiple times and then try and change our content to be more applicable for that seasonal time frame.
Keith Anderson: Any observations, or anything you found to be really successful or unsuccessful, during this year’s Prime Day event?
Nicole Vinson: What we saw was that if you weren’t participating in a deal during that time frame, you virtually didn’t exist in certain categories. We had some clients that chose not to participate in Prime Day, and they ended up seeing a pretty significant share decline in their category because they were absent.
If Amazon is putting this kind of dollars behind driving awareness and putting on this big show, you might want to pay attention and be there. I think that for brands that are trying to increase share, it’s a great way for them to be present and get shoppers to be adding those products to their cart, and ultimately driving higher volume and more page traffic, all of which help to increase organic search ranking over time.
With the rise of the Alexa devices, we saw a pretty big increase in folks that were ordering off the device. Again, that’s a huge win for brands because we’re starting to change behavior in the way that people are shopping that ecosystem.
Keith Anderson: How are you and how are your clients thinking about optimizing content and some of the other considerations for a voice-first world?
Nicole Vinson: Brands have a really unique opportunity right now – in the early stages of Alexa – to ensure that shoppers are getting these products into their cart and into their purchase history early on, so that when they are engaging with those devices and becoming more comfortable with them, we’re already in that purchase history, and so we’re the first product that she ends up talking about to get you to add to cart.
Shoppers are going to become a lot more comfortable with voice-activated searches and discussions with their Alexa devices. We’re going to see more and more adoption at a really rapid rate than we’ve seen with some of the other Amazon technology pieces that have come to market.
Check out the Profitero Podcast Series to hear insights from other industry thought leaders discussing the latest eCommerce trends.