7 Practical Ecommerce Store Enhancements For Holiday Sales Wins

Nov 7, 2023 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

With the holidays rapidly approaching, brands must implement accelerated solutions to drive sales and boost storefront accessibility. What leading tactics can you execute to enhance your store for the holidays?

When developing a customer-centric holiday experience, you should emphasize seven principal enhancements that reward the customer to generate peak revenue. Checkout pages should have a 50% conversion rate, so develop solutions to eliminate errors and maximize AOV. You can send swift and engaging abandoned cart emails to avoid losing sales from complicated checkout experiences. Additionally, assess customer feedback on sales channels and social platforms, update your landing and deal pages with SEO-rich content, offer limited-time deals and flash sales, personalize experiences through effective marketing, and create customized loyalty and reward programs. 

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson talks with Jordan Brannon, the President of Coalition Technologies, about preparing your eCommerce store for the holidays. Jordan shares the importance of customer feedback, how to implement reward programs for customer loyalty, and how scarcity and urgency generate sales. 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Seven tips for enhancing your eCommerce store during the holidays 
  • How to improve checkout experiences
  • The value of gathering customer feedback
  • Recovering lost sales through abandoned cart emails 
  • Winning SEO optimization strategies 
  • Discount offers to initiate scarcity and urgency during the holidays
  • Implementing loyalty and reward programs and personalizing experiences
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Event Partners

Coalition Technologies

Coalition Technologies is a leading SEO, PPC & web design agency in the United States that does a variety of work across leading eCom platforms including: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Vtex, and others.

Connect with Coalition Technologies

Guest Speakers

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon LinkedIn

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the President of Coalition Technologies, a company that provides SEO services in digital marketing, design, web development, and PPC advertising. Jordan’s expertise in digital strategies has shaped his career for more than a decade, where he focused on developing solutions that allow for more qualified leads, better traffic conversion, and SEO optimization.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Event Moderator

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon LinkedIn

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the President of Coalition Technologies, a company that provides SEO services in digital marketing, design, web development, and PPC advertising. Jordan’s expertise in digital strategies has shaped his career for more than a decade, where he focused on developing solutions that allow for more qualified leads, better traffic conversion, and SEO optimization.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 0:18

Happy Tuesday. I am Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson, a digital strategist with BWG Connect and we are a network and knowledge sharing group. So we'd say on top latest trends, challenges whatever is shaping the digital landscape, we want to know and talk about it, we are on track to do at least 500 of these virtual events this year due to the increase in demand better understand the digital space. And we'll be doing at least 100 in-person small format dinners throughout the US. So if you happen to live in a tier one city, feel free to send us an email or check out our website we'd love to have you on the dinners are typically 15 to 20 people having a discussion around a certain digital topic, and it's always a fantastic time, we spend the majority of our time talking to brands, that's how we stay on top of the latest trends, we'd love to have a conversation with you. So you can send me an email at Tiffany@bwgconnect.com. And we can get some time on the calendar is from these conversations we generate the topic ideas we know people want to learn about. And it's all is where we get our resident experts, which is Coalition Technologies who is with us today. So anyway, that we asked to teach the collective community has come highly recommended from multiple brands within the network. So if you're ever in need of any recommendations within the digital space, please don't hesitate to reach out we have a shortlist of the best of the best and we'd love to provide that information to you. Also note if you have any hiring needs, feel free to reach out we do partner with Hawkeye Search formerly BWG talent that we can put you in contact with as well. A few housekeeping items. First and foremost, we want this to be fun educational conversation, I'll drop those questions comments into the chat the q&a. Or if you want to email me always feel free to at Tiffany@BWGconnect.com. And we will get to them. And we started a few minutes after the hour rest assured we're going to wrap up about five to 10 minutes before the end of the hour to give you ample time to get to your next meeting or destination. So with that, let's rock roll and talk about seven practical eCommerce store enhancements. For holiday sales wins. The team at coalition technologies have been awesome long term partners and friends in the network. So I'm going to kick it over to you, Jordan, if you'd like to do an intro on yourself, that'd be lovely. And then we can dive into those seven practical tips. Thank you.

Jordan Brannon 2:23

Thank you, as a Coalition is the baby of my brother and I we started offering eCommerce support and marketing services 14 years ago. So it's been a my baby has grown. It's now a full fledged teenager, we have about 300 team members today covering really anything you could possibly imagine in terms of eCommerce and eCommerce support or marketing needs. We're best known I think on the marketing side of things, especially by brands that are using Shopify or big commerce. And so a lot of our conversation today is going to focus around eCommerce websites and things of that nature, which is really sort of where we, we hang our hat. And hopefully, again, try and be really actionable. We know a lot and love to share a lot. So I think Tiffany mentioned this, you know, get those questions in. You know, I have some suggestions and things like that, which I'd love to share, but always interested in how we can help you directly. Absolutely,

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 3:23

yeah, the chat is enabled, the q&a is enabled. So definitely go for it as we go along here. So, Jordan, I was looking back at our notes when we were looking at the content for this particular webinar. And you said that, oh, it's easy enough to identify seven practical but uncommon approaches to enhance an eCommerce Store outcomes before the holidays. And it was like, Well, that seems like a tall order. But believe you do you want to offer any caveats to that.

Jordan Brannon 3:51

I think probably the biggest one is that there is an assumption here that you're on something a little more modern and scalable in terms of your eCommerce solution. You know, if you're stuck in Magento, one or early Magento, two, and everything breaks everything if you're on some big enterprise solution that moves very slowly. Those types of things, this may not necessarily be sort of as immediate for you, you're probably already in code freeze. But if you're on Shopify, or big commerce or any sort of the more modern platforms, there's likely going to be a solution here that you can execute on in the timeframe we're talking about.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 4:30

As it will surely go into the seven tips that we'll be focusing on. Sure.

Jordan Brannon 4:34

I think the ones that I had jotted down and I think I'd shared over first is improve your checkouts. Again, a lot of brands today are just sort of running on largely default checkout experiences, a good ones but that doesn't mean that there's not room to improve. The other one is gather customer feedback. Again, a big spot where we see a lot of marketers this time of year really missing out as they're just are sort of blind to customers. feedback outside of metrics that you see in terms of conversion rates and things like that. Other one is working on those abandoned cart flows and follow up sequences and messaging around those making sure that they really are timely for the holidays. Again, big area, we see a lot of marketers have sort of checked the box. And I've kind of walked away from what's actually happening there and how well it's working. Again, we started in SEO as being a big point of emphasis for us, we're still probably best known for SEO work. But there are some sort of easy SEO wins things that are timely and can move the needle in a couple of weeks. Certainly, I think leveraging urgency and scarcity is another one to look for. It's interesting when we talk to different marketers, and eCommerce managers, this is one where if you had a good experience, the first year you did it, you've kept doing it and refining. If you didn't have a good experience trying to communicate urgency and scarcity. For some reason, you've sort of gotten pretty casual about how you're doing that, just putting it on the homepage banner or in the email, but nothing else on the site. Other than a similar sort of scenario, a lot of brands try loyalty and rewards programs early. And with sort of substandard plugins and extensions and not enough support from Shopify, that dynamic is really changed. So certainly one where you can roll out and launch a meaningful loyalty and reward offering in short order. And I think the last one that I had was making sure you really have a plan to execute on a personalization strategy. Again, this is one you can kind of run for years, you can really continue to refine, but there are sort of near term opportunities to create better personalization in terms of your store experiences. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 6:47

Well, let's start with number one. So improve your checkout. And I am going to assume that a lot of brands probably feel pretty secure and stable with their out of box checkout experience, especially if they're on Shopify or big commerce, or others that are like it. And I know back in late summer, Shopify publish something about how much better the checkout converted, and with their recently announced improvements. What more at this point can a brand new?

Jordan Brannon 7:18

Yeah, it's a good question. I think one of the things I like to point to in that conversation, is make sure you understand how those studies are actually produced. And it actually should open your eyes as to what you can do. When you look at the sort of checkout comparisons, you know, Shopify says their preferred checkout solution is 50%, better, or whatever the conversion statistic was that they used, it was really funny because what they were comparing to the only data source they had to compare to, really was Shopify stores. And so Shopify is preferred way of implementing their checkout was better than 50% of other Shopify merchants, which again, is sort of eye opening. Again, a lot of brands here, just sort of assume that Shopify is preferred approach to checkout is the default checkout. But a lot of it actually comes back to brand configuration. So when you look at similar sort of studies, you know, PayPal has done some, I've seen some from big commerce recently, you know, Adobe Magento, a lot of them come back to some specific things being included in that checkout experience. And that's where you're going to get some of those bigger conversion gains. So again, consider what those configurations are and make sure you understand them.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 8:34

Interesting. And so like, does that optimize checkout consist of? And I guess, what are those indicators of the checkout experience is, if it's more or less optimized than it should be?

Jordan Brannon 8:46

Yeah, I would, I kind of think I've touched on this is actually I think, is one of the separate points to maybe talk about later, but it's a good time to bring it up. Now. I would really start by looking at what your customers tell you about your checkout experience. Again, one of the big disconnects we see in terms of eCommerce, operations, marketing, you know, sort of the teams that are going to be responsible for the holiday promotion and success or failure is they have some real blind spots in terms of that customer experience, in terms of some of the messaging that can come through, especially when you're working with a brand of scale. You know, if you're over 3 million over 5 million in GMV, through your eCommerce store, chances are someone has a job associated with customer support. Someone has a job with marketing. And so you want to be looped into what the emails are that are coming in what the chat messages are, what the text responses are, that maybe are expressing errors in checkout or in the cart. A lot of brands, we just sort of based on our polling, our customers they come in with this mindset that this is the one off this is the exception. They look at a certain customer they say well this you isn't something that's being repeated, we're getting good sales, it must be sort of abnormal. And that's a miss people really won't make the effort to give you that feedback, most of them are just going to leave one of my favorite Shopify brands. And what I'm actually a personal consumer of is a sunglasses brand called Knockaround. Again, Shopify, do a lot of the things that we're talking about, well, good sort of representative representative case there. But they also really are running promotions sort of all over the place. And so kind of case in point, I think they use attentive for their text messaging solution, I got a promotional code, excited, I was gonna buy four pairs of sunglasses went to the site on my phone, you know, current iPhone, through Safari, you know, was putting in my cart together, use the code code didn't work. And then I tried to go back to the text thread, and then message them through the text, no response, they tried to do the support chat on the site, no response, ultimately, you know, it was probably 100 And something dollar order, I walked away. And again, I made an effort to communicate that to them, a lot of customers wouldn't I was doing it, because we have that relationship there. And so it required me sort of having that separate follow up loop to make sure that something was actually done. And again, a lot of your customers just aren't going to say anything. And they're going to walk away from those sorts of experiences, and just say, Okay, well, that didn't work, I'm out. And so, again, sort of practical step, make sure you have some way of connecting to your customer service team, make sure the messaging that you're sending out also has some way for you to be communicated with on the receiving end. That way, if there is a complaint or concern and issue a barrier, you get it quick, you can correct it quick. And again, that's really going to be something I think that you're going to see either amplify good results or bad results during the holiday season, just because the amount of traffic that you're looking for, I would maybe kind of call out just some statistics to just kind of maybe maybe a little more practical. Look at abandonment rates, look at your conversion rates, you know, sort of see what those metrics look like in terms of your checkout normal behaviors. Most of you if you're doing if this is not your first sort of holiday season, with an eCommerce site, you'll know you typically have stronger conversion rates, better engagement in terms of checkout, you see this metric sort of shift the other direction, or it's not strongly above the norm when you're running a promotion. Again, be really attentive to that customer complaints. Again, if you see really long times to complete orders, that can be an issue too. If someone is sort of struggling through the checkout, and it's taking minutes, that's one that we don't see a lot of brands benchmarking. And it could be worth looking at. So if your average time for checkout is less than a minute. And you're seeing that time escalate up. Again, start to think about, hey, this could be something to look at. Other ways to optimize, do make sure that you have some additional payment methods enabled. One of the things that we point with Shopify is sort of ideal checkout solution. It assumes shop pay is configured, but it also recommends other payment gateways to guest checkout. Even if you don't regularly offer guest checkout, consider doing it just during the stretch of the season. Another thing to look for in your checkout right now, I would say is autofill. Most of us are probably used to having our phone or browsers suggest or addresses suggest to being able to populate name, email, credit card information. But some websites don't do that because of the way that they're coded. And so it can be a really helpful thing for you to look at and some different browsers and different devices, make sure that you are taking advantage of autofill. Probably one that I would call out as being a bigger deal, and maybe not as many brands are taking advantage of right now because of historic limitations in their checkout, is there's not a big emphasis of trying for cross sell for a post purchase upsell in checkout, or even in the thank you page. Again, that's been really easy. average order value boosts for our merchants who are implementing those so if you can get an extra $10 item added to every order, your typical orders 100 bucks, you just increased the ARV by 10% is really cool. And again, trust trust signals, make sure you got an SSL lock, make sure that you're using some of the prominent payment wallets. You know Apple and Google help boost people's confidence. Amazon pay if you're using that Pay Pal still accounts for something as well. So I would say that those are probably some of the big ones and then maybe last because I'm running out of rambling here. I would say that you Want to you want to be in a situation where you're also, you're also going to be getting a strong Order Confirmation page. And thank you email as well. Those are things that you definitely would want to be looking for.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 15:16

And you had mentioned the multiple payment options can increase the checkout conversion, so any stats around that, or any particular ones that you'd recommend? And just a reminder, questions, comments put into the chat the q&a, and we're gonna get to them while we move along this list.

Jordan Brannon 15:32

I think certainly, I would look at a couple things we did a study kind of tests out, some of the bigger studies are done just looking at some of our merchants and some of the sites we have access to. Actually having more than three payment methods can increase your conversion rate by greater than 20%. This is sort of a DTC focus. But again, kind of an interesting one, we've seen some brands come to us with a very strong opinion about how many payment solutions to offer. And again, you may actually be working against yourself in that particular circumstance. So kind of the three would be like a major mobile wallet, you know, so Apple Pay or Google Pay sort of just depending on the device they're on. If you're looking at any sort of higher ticket, buy now pay later options, we typically see those being used pretty heavily when you clear like 70 $80. Us. And then I think also, a common sort of payment network like a Paypal or Amazon pay makes sort of a good third option as well, I got Bob, he will be signed into those already, you have a chance to use those. That's

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 16:38

what rolled is mobile optimization play in the checkout conversion

Jordan Brannon 16:43

rates? Yeah, I think if you're looking at sort of that mobile experience, again, you know, mobile traffic, and most of us sort of know, it's a, sort of the dominant traffic in the US, that tends to get exaggerated. During the holidays, we spend more time shopping, we spend more time shopping and off hours away from a computer. So prioritize that mobile checkout experience for a lot of us, you know, we may not work off of our phone. And so there is sort of the we get kind of caught up in what we see from a desktop or laptop type of experience. And we kind of miss that a lot of our customers just are never going to see our site that way. So you know, check your navigation, check your load times, check the payment options that are being presented, how they're being presented. I would also say like, if you are, if you're on Shopify, especially, you're probably using some plugins and some apps that have checkout integrations. Now, those can mess things up. A lot of them are well tested, but you start to layer in two or three of them, the presentation may not be what you're looking for, and the experience may not want you what you want it to be. And mobile devices, just by nature, because of the combination of hardware operating system, browser tend to be a little bit more finicky. And so again, more testing there rather than less can be really helpful, kind of with the checkout experience.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 18:07

Awesome. Good stuff. So what's next step for practical improvement opportunities?

Jordan Brannon 18:14

Yeah, I think next on the list I had was gathering customer feedback. I touched on that a little bit already with the checkout optimization, call outs. But again, just as a marketer, or someone kind of responsible for eCommerce, you know, outcomes during the holidays, you really want to be dialed in on what customers are saying about the store experience, about your marketing about your content. And I think a lot of marketers, maybe again, either don't track that sort of feedback loop at all, or they're only really paying attention to one or two of them. If someone goes to my contact form. And then complaints, that's when I'm going to be paying attention. Or because maybe you're more inclined towards the social side of things. And that's your big point of emphasis your pay attention to the comments and interactions on the social feeds and channels. But again, be aware of what all of those touch points are, make sure that each of your marketing outputs has a chance for an input and that input is monitored. Again, most of us are accustomed to the no reply, promotional email, that's a bad idea, frankly, we see that, especially for brands, again, doing higher volumes of emails and transactions through emails, we're seeing that there's actually quite a few wins that happen as a result of being able to interact with a customer who is emailing back in can prevent an actual bad review, save an order or spot a big issue that could be mapping could be, excuse me, sort of, kind of occurring across cross sort of different things. My next one was was heat mapping or UX tracking. So sometimes again, customers just won't tell you what's wrong. So prior to the holidays, even you know after You've got all your final code changes in, run some heat mapping, some UX tracking, just to get a final picture, make sure you're not missing anything. And again, you could pull that out prior to the holidays, since that can impact speed. What else a last one I would say is probably look at surveys, customer surveys do work. And they're actually a worthwhile investment to develop a better cadence in. So do some of those surveys pre purchase, and then post purchase. So one of our partners that we love working with is a company called no commerce. And they produce really great insights into the effectiveness of marketing and sales strategies and what your customers are doing when they're purchasing. And so that can be very, very helpful for this year, but also can be very helpful for next year we search plan, what's your strategy, then to

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 20:52

look it up the list here abandon cart flows is number three, I skip a lot of these myself guilty, how effective are abandoned cart emails, really for recovering

Jordan Brannon 21:06

lost sales? Yeah, I think a lot of us, we probably do have a propensity to maybe dodge them. But I think there is also a significant value in in actually using them. Because again, you know, four out of five times different brands different products are shopping for, you won't use them. But that one time, could be quite valuable, especially for a brand, right, and so we target open rates over 50% and click through rates greater than 10%. And so kind of on the high end, we can see some brands recovering 10% of their lost carts or more. And that's a pretty substantial when when you consider how many people do abandoned cart, that maybe one helpful call out would be if your recovery rates of those abandoned carts are higher than that, we start to do that as a bit of a warning sign about the initial process. If you're having to offer some additional discount, or some additional thing to get them to make that purchase. It may just be worthwhile to actually try and do that pre pre abandoned cart, right? So save them before you get there. And what do you mean by that? Well, they like it kind of go back to that point. Like if you we had one brand we're working with where I think they're abandoned car, they came in very pleased with sort of their abandoned cart recovery rate, we were working with them on some of their email marketing flows and things like that. And we looked at that we're like, but why everybody recovering, I think, you know, 25 30%, or something insane like that. But that means you're also missing out on a bunch of of opportunities. And there's something here that your customers are telling you about why they're more willing to purchase with the abandoned cart. And so for them, there was some, they had a smaller kind of coupon offer, offering that coupon bond, the actual checkout upfront. And again, not a big discount, really heavy discounting, really helps dramatically increase the conversion rate for the store so that there was a net positive of not just trying to use a coupon code as sort of resurrect the dead sort of thing. And instead, it's actually just part of like that, that initial close. And again, so it's just we're seeing too high a closed rate coming off of the abandoned cart recovery, or like, Okay, this just tells us that there's customers want to buy, but something there is getting in the way of it.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 23:36

Questions, comments, put into the chat that q&a, and we will get to them as we go along. So what practical strategies can be employed to improve the effectiveness of the abandoned cart emails?

Jordan Brannon 23:48

Basic personalization is probably the biggest one, a lot of the sort of abandoned cart, emails are pretty generic, they focus on the product you didn't buy. And they are somewhat impersonal in terms of the experience that's presented. So use the customer's name, if you have it, you know, if you have the item, but you don't necessarily have the name, or if you have the name and the item, look at ways to sort of highlight things that make that email feel a little more personal. You know, so maybe suggest an alternative item that is a good suggestions. There's some good apps to help you do that. I would look at bringing in UGC that addresses possible concerns with that product. Again, a great use of AI in that particular use case is to sort of help surface these themes that customers are concerned with with particular items, and then create content to address them. And AB test those different emails. I think just to sort of see what's happening. I think you'll find that that can really move the needle for you in terms of again, optimizing that that abandoned cart experience

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 24:56

and when is the best time to send An abandoned cart email.

Jordan Brannon 25:02

Usually within an hour of abandonment, typically there is sort of a bit of a race there. One minute is probably too soon. But you know, in that first, you know, 10 minutes to an hour or so, you see the best open rates best click through rates and the best kind of follow up, we usually recommend a three abandoned cart sequence different content, so don't get lazy. But you have your first, within that hour, you have the next one within 24 hours. We have a third one within 48 hours that we kind of look at and different sites for testing things like what is our open rate, if we're not getting a strong open rate for certain customers, we're washing them out of that follow up sequence for others, we're continuing to pursue that just kind of looking at what's best for that brand.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 25:48

Awesome. So are there any novel approaches to improving the performance of abandoned cart emails?

Jordan Brannon 25:55

Yeah, probably from like a more novelty standpoint being a little bit differentiated, I would say gamification type strategies are really big. And there's tons of psychology out there about the value of incorporating gamification, into any of your marketing and your sales strategies. So looking at some sort of interactive element, even at sort of the low end of things, if you're not coming up with some sort of pseudo contest or award for participating, just giving them some interactivity can be really, really helpful. Again, I touched on user generated content, social proof, highlighting what that you know, again, assuming you have some transactional volume, you've got, you know, 100 reviews on a particular item, it's been abandoned. You know, what are the negative reviews saying, you know, what are the the general concerns size, fit, quality color? Can you highlight some of the things in a positive way or some of the positive feedback that's there, and use that as part of your recovery, that's, again, not done enough, it's for that reason, it's probably a little bit more novel. Pair that with your retargeting efforts. If you have a great email marketing integration, that means you can usually also tie that into SMS into Google ads into meta ads, there's a good chance to sort of make abandoned cart multichannel, and that can be very helpful and bringing back a customer, especially if you're retargeting and the initial channel that they came to you from. And then I think maybe lastly is personalization. In terms of like video. Some of you have seen these now, that sort of some kind of video or GIF loop as part of that follow up, or really, frankly, any email communication, we find them to be pretty effective, can be pretty helpful in actually getting someone to stop for a moment, pay attention, and then choose to make like a click through and again, possibly convert.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 27:55

That's it. Alright, we're burning through the list here. Questions, comments into the chat, we have look for easy SEO wins. So they have like two weeks left, like, is there any quick wins that a brand could do at this point? Before cyber?

Jordan Brannon 28:11

Yep, I actually just I was on a call this morning with one of our brands, newer brands to us, actually kicked off for SEO in October do find jewelry. And so again, lots of sales happening around the holidays, lots of people proposing or trying to make that splashy gift with with some jewelry options. And so one of the things we were talking about with them is kind of a review of their holiday marketing strategy. And one of the things they've highlighted is they had this reserve roster of new pages that were going to go live. I think the initial one that's rolling out now, this week was called early holiday deals or something to that effect, had its own landing page and own content. And then, so we're pretty early, one of the first things our team checked for, fortunately, was to go back look in Universal Analytics from last year, and pull top landing pages from that season. And guess what, they had a holiday deals page that did really well for them organically through SEO during that season. And so instead of creating five or six new URLs for each holiday up through Christmas, we we got them to bring all of that back through that single URL. So there'll be a change over in some of the content in the optimization we're doing. But it really allows us to capitalize on links that were built last year, they had some good press around some of the discounting that they had done. They had some good social content that was had been picked up and been shared quite a bit. And so reusing that old URL was really a good way to sort of shortcut again, SEO sort of is known for taking a lot of time. And so if you go back can you just take a year in review two years and review three years for you for this time period, a lot of brands, they spin up these stupid empty pages, they run for Pay Per Click, they run for email, they run for social, they get some links. And then they just X them as soon as the holiday is over, reuse those URLs. So you can accrue that SEO value throughout the year, Amazon, and lots of other sort of Big eCommerce site brands do this, they'll keep those URLs live all the way through the year, maybe with just some filler content, a countdown or something, and then sort of begin to really emphasize them and the months leading up to a Black Friday, Cyber Monday. What else I would also say, do a little bit of a content refresh on popular landing pages that do rank well and do Garner SEO traffic. Google does it sort of interesting, like if you think about it, like when you SEO, something effectively, you're really building authority and value in Google Sites. Now. That's a good thing. But one of the problems that a lot of SEOs kind of don't take into account is that Google also values freshness and recency. And so if you update a page that is already ranking, well give it a bit of a content refresh, update its schema to reflect a newer date updated, you can actually find that it actually makes a meaningful movement in terms of ranking, we just did a client, a test run recently. And we were able to get some of the pages in question to have an eighth position boost from second page into first page just by doing some very light content tweaks and making sure that Google is seeing this sort of updated schema attached to that. And again, really nothing major. And so again, if you have those pages, they're ranking 1011 12 1314, bottom of page one, try a little bit of a refreshing update and see what that does. And then the last one, just as you launch any of these new pages, these new promotions, make sure that you're publicly sharing destination URLs, you're not just sending people to your homepage, you'll often see that Google is quicker to respond and quicker to rank pages like that as a result of that. So again, most of these I think are pretty quick wins, maybe the last one, if you're in a particular type of eCommerce experience, we're seeing the AI search generative experience. SGD is part of the results a lot now consider sort of renting top spot by working with an influencer or a YouTuber, some sort of Reddit, post or forum to try and get some promotion there. So you can kind of rent the position at the top of search results. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 32:45

You said it that SEO is a long game, it's known to take time to get that traction. And then as time goes by matures, you get a heart a higher ROI. Looking at, you know, the timeframe now, how quickly can brands get results from some of these things that you mentioned?

Jordan Brannon 33:05

Yeah, I mean, again, like it's sort of a case study that we just ran with just the the light content update, we'd like to do that this time of year, just because it does tend to get competitive, we do it anyways. But again, we're seeing on average of eight spots moving in the course of a week, as much as two to three spots per day and then settling into a relatively stable position. So that's a pretty big move. If you're talking about moving off of page two or below page one, if you can jump, an average of eight positions. That's a pretty significant test to win. So yeah, I think these are things that you can definitely tackle in days and see results on in days and weeks rather than months. Very cool.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 33:42

Questions, comments? Get him in. And let's go on to the next one. What do we have next?

Jordan Brannon 33:48

So here, I think I had urgency and scarcity tactics up next. These are a funny one. Again, talking to brands. I think we sometimes see marketers who view themselves as creative types get a little more. snooty will be the word I'll use about urgency and scarcity tactics. You know, I'm not going to do limited time offers. I'm not going to talk about limited inventory. I'm not going to talk about the deadlines till the holidays. And they're hugely effective. And again, super easy to implement. That's again, a thing I'm stressing a lot is we're trying to look for stuff that you've got, actually you really need to be doing these things. Now. i The number of Black Friday emails that I'm getting every Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday. It's happening now is just going up exponentially so countdown timers, the limited time A Deal of the Day flash sales, stock counters, early bird specials, time bound bundling as an option a shipping cut offs and alcohol I like some of these are favorable for luxury and premium brands too. So flash sales maybe doesn't excite you your luxury fashion brand. But certainly a stock counter that's up during the holiday season isn't necessarily cheapening the product, those early bird specials, limited time availability, first 50 people to shop get a gift with purchase, you know, something like that those time bound bundling again to be very favorable for more premium products. The cut off times I mentioned that one I considered by with prime Amazon buy with prime now has that sort of fully public app for Shopify merchants had launched previously with big commerce earlier. If you have that opportunity to be set up for buy with prime, you got that two day fast shipping through prime. And so what we've seen some of our brands doing is shifting some of the content features as they get closer to these deadlines to focus on their buy with prime products. That way they can get something in a customer's hands, even close to some of these holidays where they wouldn't be able to make it on their own. I think a member only deals limited time shipping offers or you know free gift wrap again, it kind of going for premium high touch, and then loyalty programs, maybe extra bonuses on rewards points or loyalty dollars. I call out to Kohl's does a really good job with this. We've had a couple of brands who have sort of emulated the Kohl's Kohl's cash strategy, allow a cumulation of that during a key selling day, but you can't use it on that key selling day you have to use it the next two weeks, ironically right before the next big holiday sale. And it actually does a really good job of sustaining some of that holiday purchasing even when the discounting of all volume and percentage drops a bit. So I'd look at those loyalty program deadlines as well.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 37:00

Everybody loves their Kohl's cash, including me when the venue is the Amazon returns in the coal store because oh yeah, buying something it was brilliant move, whoever thought that

Jordan Brannon 37:11

we have our family we we have a big sort of my wife's extended family is all fairly local, very close. And they do the big gift exchange, but they do it on categories. And one of the categories is free. And my sister in law is like the insane, like Kohl's cash person. And so she will come up with a refrigerator sized box of gifts that is all technically free because of the Kohl's cash. Yes, she is on top of it. So everybody actually wants to be sort of pulled from her, you know, in the name draw by her, she does a really good job with that idea. That's, I mean, I'm over here like doing hand painted owls and nonsense from me, That sounds very cool to set me up for that as well. I make a lot of waves on Pinterest cities as a result of profitability.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 38:03

All right, we are down to the wire, I want to run through the last two. Sure.

Jordan Brannon 38:08

I think the last two we had were reviewing or implementing your loyalty and reward programs, as I think sort of the first one. So maybe I'll start with that one. And again, lots of really good ideas and suggestions here. So I'll try to kind of breeze through them a little more quickly. First, I think you have to really be thinking about your understanding your customer data, understanding their transaction behaviors, to really be able to do a good job with a loyalty program. I can't tell you how many marketers again, have come in. They've tried this, they did this 2017 When loyalty apps first started kind of circulating a bit more. And they just published a little widget on their product page and their checkout. And then nothing happened. And I think a lot of that comes back to just not understanding how your customers purchase, why they would make a repeat purchase, and not really tailoring your loyalty program to fit that profile. There's so much more emphasis on customer data today. There's so much more capability in terms of what you're able to achieve with some of the different apps that are out there for Shopify, or Bigcommerce or Adobe Magento. So really, again, you have to sort of have that underlying understanding to make that work for you. Again, make it simple, make it clear when you come and you offer mindless points that people don't understand how they can be used, what the value of them is. It puts you sort of in the weeds and so we really like sort of $1 for dollar sort of accrual. Again, sort of that colts model we've sort of tested found it to be pretty effective. It's pretty easy to understand spend X dollars, get this many dollars, and then you can start to use them they sort of I'd like a time period for it. People viewing it as cash really does sort of help that mindset in a lot of ways. I would also highlight, making sure that there's a tiering to your awards or rewards. Again, if you require people earn $10 million in rewards points to buy your most common product, you're not doing it wrong, or you're not you are doing it wrong, you're not not doing wrong. I would also call out having some tearing to that, again, if you stick to that sort of simple, simple dollar threshold calls, does it I think on a $5 increment. And again, just have these little ways of people being able to increment up what their their membership level or reward level is. Personalization is a big one personalized based on how people buy from you. So seeing some really cool results when a personalization and rewards are sort of paired to specific channels. So thinking about your social content, social interactions, and making that a point of emphasis, and then personalizing the rewards experience for those sorts of things is a big deal. I would also call out, again, and maybe kind of off of that same point, making sure that you're publishing and creating opportunities for those Loyalty Rewards points to be surfaced across multiple channels, I think would be really a big move forward. For a lot of brands. Again, you don't want this just to live and die inside of a product detail page, it needs to be sort of surfaced in some way. In a talk about how much people have been buying with the rewards points with the loyalty points in your social posts, get an influencer or somebody who is sort of a micro influencer, but as a high value customer to do a short form video to talk about what they're purchasing with some of their rewards programs. On your holiday landing page is building some items again, that can really be excessively purchased as well. Seamless integration is probably the next biggest one kind of a subtext for all of these, a lot of brands that I see doing loyalty, it's just not meaningfully integrated into the whole site experience, the whole marketing experience, the better you do there, the more value you're going to see out of it. I think ranges of actions is helpful. Start thinking beyond just sharing my URL referring a friend, look for brands or people to create content for you, those reviews are always great. But certainly photographs of your product being used, videos, unboxing sort of experiences, there's just as a lot of different ways to sort of use loyalty programs to essentially buy great content, if you're not doing a ton on socialists can also be a really good way to build social momentum and sort of seen future months of content. So you kind of like what are the brands we talked to, they've been doing the rewards program as a way of creating a lot of social content. They have a flat sort of reward if you do submit like a tick tock or Instagram video that you've created with their product. And then they choose winners. So they then cross post to their social platform, it helps them highlight the rewards value, but it also now they have this great advertising content from a real person that they can then use how they want. And that's again, you would pay somebody to do that you'd pay an agency, you pay to pay a photographer, pay a model, pay a editor to get that for you. And you can have your customers do that and just as good a job really without a lot of extra expense. And if you're in sort of the right setting, if you have like a hobbyist or enthusiast type category, you know people with some competitive streaks, consider using your rewards points and more of a community building exercise. Yeah, and I think maybe our last last one for since we're almost out of time. Last of the seven tips was to look for ways to personalize more. And look for ways to sort of create personalization experiences as part of your marketing and your website. To do that, you really have to have a great understanding of where your customer data lives, what data you actually have access to, you have to have a really good ability to increase that data. So looking for a CDP if you're not using one already, is probably going to be a big priority. I think for you I'm gonna get there's time to implement some of these. I don't know if we can ask for an audience poll real quickly that I think you can have the hand raised function maybe but how many of you use Klaviyo as your email marketing platform or for SMS?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 44:57

Yeah, be able to hit the raise hand button, go for it.

Jordan Brannon 44:59

So at least one of you, I'm guessing there's probably more to. So Clay Vo is has sort of is launching a baby CDP, which is a customer data platform. And basically, the idea is that it can consume customer data from a lot of different channels, and then help to map that customer data, different interactions and flows based on different events. So really, really helpful in sort of this personalization effort. And then again, you can start to apply this in a real, you know, an enhancement to your store experience. So what products are recommended, if you know a lot about your customer based on their particular clay, VO segment and how they're interacting with certain emails, there's a good chance that you can then actually make that feedback into your store experience on Shopify or Bigcommerce, or others. And which products you're recommending and showing really is driven by that person, rather than being driven by some sort of random merchandised order you have put in place already. So there's different partners we work with, like clave, who, a site.ai, that helps with visual merchandising, and search, and can be really good kind of helpful tools to introduce there. And then again, I think like, if you can start to create enough of that customer data mapping, you can really start to personalize your emails, your text messages. So you're not just sending the same mass holiday blast at six in the morning, on Thanksgiving Day or on Friday, you can do something that is really unique, and relatively low level of effort for you. So again, think about like having different deals, instead of the mass, here's all our Black Friday things, here's the ones that are actually really relevant to you as a almost 40 year old male who lives in the northwest, it's cold. And here's your prior purchase history. So I know your size. Here's what I have in stock based on that. Here's some things that sort of are a match using machine learning to what you previously purchased. From an aesthetic standpoint. That's a really good daily deals email to be able to publish. And so I think that's probably the maybe the last point was to write a 10 before the hour kind of cut myself off there.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 47:22

That is fantastic content. I'm gonna give the opportunity for the audience to have any questions, comments before we wrap up. I mean, Jordan, you always bring so much Intel to the table. It's always amazing what you can plow through in like 45 minutes, but believable,

Jordan Brannon 47:37

plowing through sometimes feels like the right word.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 47:39

But we appreciate you so thank you very much. We definitely encourage a follow up conversation with the coalition Technologies team and we'd love to have conversation with you. That's how we gain the topic ideas for future events. So you can feel free to reach out to me Tiffany@bwgconnect.com. And we can get some time on the calendar. Like in here looks like it is a wrap. So thank you all Happy Tuesday. Have a lovely remainder of the week going into the weekend and Jordan until next time. Thank you again.

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