Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, so most manufacturers have 'checked out' on the holiday season.  If you walk around a manufacturer's or publisher's office this time of year, you wouldn't think it's the busiest time of the year. Most organizations are focused on 2016 budgets, new product plans, and 2016 forecasts, with the occasional glance at the POS reports. 

To quote one manufacturer: "all of our heavy activity is leading up to the holidays; our partners take it from there. We don't sell direct." That may have been true in years, past, but original manufacturers have a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether or not you sell direct.

A recent study of 5,000 shoppers found that 65% of have visited a manufacturer's website as part of researching a product over the last year. Not presenting your products in a clear, salable, format is just a mistake. Key things you can do this week to help sales include:

1. Polish the product details on your site:  Yeoman found that 70% of manufacturer sites we studied had missing or inaccurate product information on the main site. This included everything from inaccurate specs to missing products. The #1 reason for this screw-up?  The main website was not part of any new product release plans and was often overlooked when rolling out new products.

2. Make sure the “Where to Buy” page is accurate: These often get created when the website first goes live, then are left to gather dust. An inaccurate, out-of-date (or absent) “where to buy” page can send your potential customers right back to Google, where they’ll be bombarded by search results featuring the competition.

3. Find out the real "street price" for your products: The days of the "fake" MSRP/List Price are over. Online users expect to see an accurate price for any product when they look online. Don't believe us? We studied sites that had high "list prices" versus sites that had accurate 'street prices.' The 'fake' list price sites had 25-30% lower quality visitors than the street price sites regardless of brand or volume. Users were 5X more likely to exit the "list price" site without looking at "where to buy" OR adding anything to their cart. 

You can keep the MSRP/List price for comparison, but Yeoman highly recommends showing a sale price that is 5-10% above the average online price. This provides three major benefits:

  • Immediately shows the user an accurate price they'd pay without having to go back to Google
  • Supports your channel by having a price that is slightly higher than theirs, giving them the extra edge (works great if you integrate where to buy right on your product detail page)
  • Let's you take the order!  Yes - every manufacturer should be willing to take a direct order (B2C or B2B).  A growing percentage of consumers expect this and want to buy direct regardless of the product. The actual percentage will vary by industry, but you can estimate that 1-5% of B2C customers and 5-15% of B2B customers are looking to buy direct.

4. Audit your Amazon presence: The online giant will likely surpass 1.2 billion visitors this quarter. That volume is higher than the top 5 competitors combined. It doesn't matter if you love or hate Amazon, every manufacturer needs to manage them. It is your responsibility to check your product details, reviews, and images to make sure that they accurately represent your products.  Don’t think it’s an issues for you? A recent Yeoman audit found 70% of items had incorrect data! Your retailers or sales team won't fix this for you. A manufacturer needs to make sure they have their brands registered and the proper plan in place to provide updated and accurate information to Amazon. 

These 4 steps are the perfect action items for the lull that most manufacturers see at the holiday. The benefits extend well beyond Christmas and will help you have more integrated online plan in 2016. 

If you’re overwhelmed by where to start, feel free to give us a call to help you get a handle on it.

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