Hard to believe it's almost Thanksgiving.  If you're like most manufacturers, there's a belief that your holiday die is cast; reseller orders are in, final pricing negotiated, market plans set, and budgets spent.  It's all up to the channel now, right?  Wrong.  Brands have a golden opportunity to gain more market share at the holidays by taking a 'direct' online approach.  We're not talking about undercutting your channel, but instead fully leveraging your main digital channels to get the best overall coverage at the holidays.

Here's the top 5 things you can do this week:

  1. Amazon Footprint Review:  In 2017 Amazon snapped up an estimated 45-50% of all online holiday retails sales—up from 38% in 2016. Love them or hate them, it doesn't matter - your products are on Amazon and should be reviewed by your team.  Key items to sweep:
    • Product details:  Yeoman's landmark research has shown that 70-80% of a brand's listings have bad information on Amazon.  Take your top sellers and make sure they look right! You still have time to check your product details and images to make sure that they accurately represent your products. 
    • Duplicate listings: Another major issue to check for.
    • Brand pirates: If you haven't already, it's time to make sure you have your brands registered for protection from pirated products.
    • And forget about Cyber Monday… Amazon has created a new shopping frenzy, with the period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday now known as the “Cyber 5.” 
  2. Sweep you own site's pricing: It's amazing how many good brand sites we see with terrible pricing.  It's one of the biggest mistakes brands make.  The justification goes something like this "we have to show a high price to protect our channel."  That's simply dead wrong.  Typically, 70% of a brands site traffic comes directly, via referral or organic search.  End users are looking specifically for product details, including an assessment of price.  Less than 5% of site visitors have any intention of buying direct; you are the 'trusted research' they're doing. When you show an artificially high price you:
    • Immediately put off the consumer - If they have a range in mind, you've lost them.
    • Miss the opportunity to sell direct.
    • Miss the opportunity to push them to a partner - your 'where to buy link' should actually have a higher % of clicks than 'add to cart.'  A bad initial price cuts that number in half, sending them back to Google.
    • Sends them back to Google to search more - that's the last place you want to send them.  Every competitor and partner is there waiting to sell them anything, not just your brand.
  3. Clean up your product details:  Price isn't the only thing to review. Here's the top 'quick fixes' to improve your site: (PS:  If your site can do these basic tasks quickly it's time to replatform in 2019.)
    • Polishing your product details is an easy win.  You can quickly fix everything from inaccurate specs to missing images and even missing products. 
    • 'Where to buy' links:  If it’s inaccurate and out-of-date (or absent), shoppers will go scurrying right back to Google, where they’ll be bombarded by search results featuring the competition.
    • Main banner images: It's the holidays so do a quick refresh to get in the spirit.  Even a simple tweak re-engages stale return visits.
    • Review your search terms:  Look at the top 25 searches from last Christmas. Test them out on the site now. Tweak and revise the results. 
  4. Schedule some email blasts: Chances are you have two great lists sitting idle this time of year: end users and partners.  
    • Retail partners: an easy and useful blast during the holidays is a 'Channel Note' sharing your insights into what's trending and what's in short supply for your products. Retail craves outside data and any insights you can give them helps bolster your relationship.
    • End customers:  If you've got a bucket of end user emails there are two great options that can cut through the barrage of emails they're getting: excess inventory sales and "Top X Products."  Moving excess inventory will always make your CEO happy and likely avoid any channel conflict this time of year.
  5. Polish up your sagging social media presence: Don't fret if your brand doesn't have 500,000 likes and a million followers, the vast majority of midsize brands don't.  That doesn't mean you let you Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts languish...time to give them a quick update.  While you should have a robust social media campaign schedule, the reality is these often lag way behind.  Do a quick holiday facelift with updated banners, logos, and a minimum of five scheduled posts, pics, or tweets, and you'll get a 'fresh look' for the holiday visitor.  It also gives you some fresh ammo for a 2019 discussion on why you need a better social footprint.

Taking these steps will help ensure you make the most of holiday sales opportunities, so you can relax and enjoy the new year!

If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to give us a call to help you get a handle on it.

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