Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner, so it’s time for manufacturers to do a prep-double check. Most manufacturers are thinking "my job is done, it's all up to retail and my partners". Think again. Today original manufacturers can make a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether you sell direct or not.
It’s not too late! There are still a few key things you can do to help boost holiday sales.
1. Make sure your main website is ready for prime time
A recent study found that 65% of shoppers visit a manufacturer's direct website to research a product prior to purchase. Your website needs to present your products in a clear, salable, format—whether you take sales or not.
This starts with polishing your product details. A full 70% of manufacturer sites we’ve studied have missing or inaccurate product information on the main site. This includes everything from inaccurate specs to missing images and even missing products. The time is NOW to do an audit and get to work cleaning up and completing critical product details.
While you’re at it, take a peek at your “Where to Buy” page. If it’s inaccurate and out-of-date (or absent), shoppers will go scurrying right back to Google, where they’ll be bombarded by search results featuring the competition.
2. Audit your online product pricing
The days of the "fake" MSRP/list price are over. Yeoman has found that sites with bloated “list prices” had 25-30% lower quality visitors than sites that posted more accurate “street prices.” Shoppers were 5X more likely to leave the "list price" site without looking at "Where to Buy" OR adding anything to their cart. You can keep the list price for comparison, but Yeoman highly recommends showing a sale price that is 5-10% above the average street price. This provides three major benefits:
- Gives shoppers an accurate price that won’t scare them back to Google.
- Supports your channel with a price that is slightly higher than theirs, giving them the extra edge—especially if you integrate “Where to Buy” right on your product detail page.
- Lets YOU take the order. Yes, a growing percentage of consumers want to buy direct regardless of the product. Up to 5% of B2C customers and 5-15% of B2B customers are looking to buy direct.
3. Audit your Amazon—and other ecommerce channels—presence
Now that you’ve got your own house in order, it’s time to tackle your ecommerce channels—especially Amazon. It’s critical to check your product details and images to make sure that they accurately represent your products. You also need to make sure you have your brands registered and the proper plan in place to provide updated and accurate information to Amazon.
Next, check the reviews for your products and manage any negative reviews to keep them from sandbagging sales. Key suggestions:
- Address the reviewer’s complaint and acknowledge the issue
- Offer a resolution or refund if needed
- Do not engage in a back and forth in the review system, have the user contact you directly (and say that in the review)
- Ask the etailer to remove any reviews that do not comply with their review guidelines
Before you move onto the next item on the list, take a moment to protect your brand from piracy. Unfortunately, as Amazon and other etailers have grown, so has the number of fake products being sold—sometimes piggy-backed onto your own listing. If you detect a pirate, you can report them to Amazon; be sure to check all your etail platforms for their policies and procedures.
4. Use paid channel support programs
At Yeoman, we’re always on the lookout for new services that help manufacturers increase online sales. Some of our favorites from this year include:
- Google affiliate location extensions: original manufacturers that sell their goods in retail chains can now begin promoting those locations to nearby consumers within their own AdWords ads (https://goo.gl/tFq3ff).
- Bazaarvoice: syndicates customer ratings, reviews, questions, and stories across the web to reach shoppers wherever they are (www.bazaarvoice.com).
- Hooklogic: gives manufacturers a clear view into channel sales resulting from online ads (hooklogic.com).
5. Polish up your social media presence
Just like any other time of the year, social media campaigns need to be carefully planned and executed to align with the rest of your marketing efforts. If you haven’t started thinking about social media for the holidays yet, it’s not too late—but it will be soon. In addition to planned social media campaigns, it’s also important to have a “live” presence on social media, to interact naturally with followers, and for the inevitable customer service requests that come in through these channels.
Relax and enjoy the holidays!
These 5 steps are the perfect action items for the lull that most manufacturers see right before the holidays. And the benefits extend well beyond Christmas, to help you have more integrated online plan in 2017.
If you’re overwhelmed by where to start, feel free to give us a call to help you get a handle on it.