In the classic holiday film Jingle All the Way, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the role of Howard Langston, a father who becomes increasingly desperate to purchase his son the most coveted toy of the year–a Turbo Man action figure.
But despite his best efforts–which include attempting to buy a counterfeit version from a bunch of guys in Santa suits, chasing a kid into a ball pit, getting pepper-sprayed in the face, and a little bit of breaking and entering–Howard struggles to get his hands on the holiday’s hottest gift item. (Ah, if only they had Amazon back then.)
Obviously, the fictional brand that made the Turbo Man action figure underestimated the demand for their toy, which resulted in a lose-lose situation for both their brand and Howard. They were missing out on a potential sale, while he was putting his life on the line just to find a way to purchase their product.
And while the rise of ecommerce has helped simplify holiday shopping since the days of Jingle All the Way, brands still face many of the same issues in the digital space. The holiday season creates a buying frenzy, and if ecommerce brands don’t optimize their digital shelf management, they’ll miss opportunities to create and fulfill Turbo Man-like demand for their products during the final quarter of the year.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at several key tips to help your brand boost holiday sales all throughout Q4.
The 6 Best Ways to Boost Holiday Sales
There’s a lot to consider when developing a digital shelf strategy for the holiday season. You’ll need to understand exactly how seasonal ecommerce affects your sales, identify which holidays you want to pursue (and to what extent), and know what your brand’s capabilities for fulfillment are.
Next, after you’ve established a strategy with achievable goals, there are a few key things you should do to help ensure your brand is in the best possible position to win the digital shelf and generate more sales.
1. Banish out-of-stocks
During just November and December of 2021, consumers saw a total of 6 billion out-of-stock messages, with out-of-stock messages up 10% from the same period in 2020. This is frustrating for consumers, gives your competition an edge, and can lead to a tarnished brand image over time. Plus, you’re losing search discoverability and organic share of search in the process.
Make sure your supply chain and product stock are ready for 2022 holiday shoppers. That should include having a quick, efficient way to identify low-stock and out-of-stock issues, plus a way to find opportunities to capitalize on competitor out-of-stock situations.
PriceSpider’s Brand Monitor enables automated, daily monitoring of stock availability, so you can be proactive instead of reactive to out-of-stocks (yours and your competitors’), low availability, and shelf gaps due to size, count, form, and more.
2. Protect price margins
During the holidays, consumers are looking for (and expecting) deals on every product, including yours. This demand creates competition amongst retailers to sell products for the lowest possible prices–which isn’t always a good thing. If retailers are violating your minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policy, they could be hurting your margins and harming your brand for the long-term. Retailer-driven price erosion is a top frustration among brands, and pricing disparities can be frustrating for consumers.
Before the holiday season is underway, make sure to review your ecommerce pricing policies and enable your teams with digital shelf solutions to identify and resolve pricing discrepancies. With Prowl, you can monitor product pricing across every retailer and take action when MAP violations are detected.
3. Win the organic search game
With concerns about inflation and supply chains on the rise, consumers are likely to get a jump on the holiday season and start shopping earlier this year. Product categories like food, alcohol, gifts, decorations, games, and electronics could see increasing demand beginning in early October. This means that brands that are winning in organic search will win shopper baskets as consumers prepare themselves, their homes, and their pantries for festive occasions.
You’ll want to review seasonal changes in shopper search habits at online retailers and monitor where your products show up in retailer search results to inform title and content optimizations to support gains in organic share of search. Your share of search is a measure of how well your products have ranked for a given keyword over time on a specific retailer’s site.
PriceSpider’s Brand Monitor tracks your share of search for seasonal keywords, breaking the numbers down by organic and sponsored results. This can help you see where your brand is doing well, what you need to optimize, and how you can best promote certain products–all of which can give you a major step up on the competition.
4. Optimize content to reduce returns
The Internet has made it possible to shop from virtually anywhere via phones, tablets, or desktops. That means shoppers are accessing product detail pages (PDPs) for your products in a variety of different ways–sometimes on large screens, other times on small screens; sometimes viewing them in great detail, other times just doing a quick scan.
You need to optimize the content on your PDPs across retailers for every one of these shoppers. That means ensuring product details and imagery–from description copy to image carousels to how-to videos–are meeting high-quality standards and accurately portraying your products. If holiday shoppers don’t receive the products they expect based on your brand’s PDPs, you’re going to see an influx of returns.
As part of Brand Monitor, the Image Monitoring module crawls every PDP for your selected products and alerts you when content is not in compliance. It also enables you to take action by quickly contacting retailers or sellers to fix a problem. By monitoring and enforcing content compliance, you can help protect your brand integrity and reduce returns this holiday season.
5. Out-shelf the competition
There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition–until it starts impacting your bottom line. And during the holidays, you can bet your competitors will be doing everything they can to funnel your would-be buyers their way.
To take back those shoppers and maximize your sales, you need to keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. Consumers have limited time and can’t search the entire Internet for the best deals (or even the highest-quality products). If your competitors are running better promotions, capturing more share of search, and displaying higher-quality product imagery, potential customers may overlook your brand entirely–even if your products are objectively superior.
Sometimes the key to winning holiday market share is as simple as giving consumers more purchasing options. For example, last year, orders placed using “buy now, pay later” options from brands and retailers increased by 10%, allowing customers more flexibility and giving them a stronger incentive to buy. But if you don’t even know what kinds of options your competition is offering, you’re putting your brand at a significant disadvantage on the digital shelf.
Brand Monitor automatically monitors stock, price, promotional details, and more for all your competitors’ PDPs. This will help you gain visibility into what competitor brands are offering, so you can quickly pivot direction if needed to stay competitive and protect basket share.
6. Provide more purchasing methods
Are you providing customers with every possible avenue to purchase your products? If not, you could be missing out on significant holiday sales. That’s because shoppers expect to be offered more than one way to buy products.
For example, many holiday shoppers prefer a “click-to-collect” option like buy online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS). This allows them to get the product sooner (often same-day) and usually saves them shipping costs. They may also want to “showroom” the product by seeing it in a store first before buying it online.
Understand where and how your customers want to buy, and have options in place to make purchasing your products as seamless and hassle-free as possible.
Give your digital shelf teams the best gift this year
The holidays will be here soon, and now is the time to make sure your brand is prepared. By tracking and managing stock availability, pricing, share of search, content compliance, and competitor intelligence, as well as offering a variety of purchasing options, you can optimize the digital shelf, uncover data-driven insights, capture holiday season demand, and drive stronger Q4 sales than ever before.
Want to see how Brand Monitor can help boost your holiday sales?