How to Build an Empathetic Marketing Strategy in 2021

In this webinar, Bigeye Senior Strategist Dana Cassell explores exercises and marketing strategies for brands to successfully position their companies in in a world of unprecedented times.

2020 uncovered new challenges for marketers that we have never encountered before. The many events of last year have shaped the fabric of society, and how we should approach our marketing. strategies with empathy and space for short-term agility. 2021 is about capitalizing on short windows of opportunity. Is your brand prepared to shift quickly?

The Marketing Strategy Game Plan

84% of customers say their last customer say their last customer service interaction via call center did not meet their expectations. Watch the free webinar to get the tools you need to create an experience that will provide value to your customers and help your company meet long-term goals.

In this webinar, we’ll cover these aspects of a well-crafted marketing strategy:

  1. Marketing with empathy and establishing a value proposition
  2. Prioritizing your digital conversion funnel
  3. Practical agility
  4. The heart of the 2021 CMO
marketing strategy, digital conversion funnel
Can you describe your brand’s digital conversion funnel in under 60 seconds?

Did you enjoy this webinar? Share your key takeaways with us on LinkedIn. Tag Bigeye with the most valuable lessons you learned.

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Top eCommerce Trends: Shoppable Posts and Social Shopping

Along with eCommerce, social commerce has experienced a book with social sites adding more eCommerce and eCommerce adding more social selling.

Lots of people think of shopping as a social activity. Even before the internet, friends and family influenced buying and very often, accompanied each other to enjoy the shopping experience. In addition, celebrities and other influencers would promote products to help drive sales. Like dining out, travel, or an evening at the theater, shopping’s more fun when it’s shared.

The rise of social commerce

Since the dawn of social media platforms, marketers have used them to connect with buyers and bring shared shopping experiences online. Friends, family members, and influencers helped people discover new brands and encourage purchases. As reported by Marketing Dive, 90 percent of people said they bought products that they discovered on a social site.

In the past, social media marketing generally directed an audience to a business website or another eCommerce site to close sales. In contrast, social commerce usually refers to commerce conducted directly from a social network. From within the same social app, consumers can discover new brands, research products, and complete their purchases.

Lately, eCommerce has enjoyed a boom. Since social commerce makes it even easier for consumers to find and buy products, it’s turned into one of the most productive channels for social media marketing. In turn, both social media sites and eCommerce retailers have implemented new features that make social commerce marketing easier for companies.

What are shoppable posts?

world market shoppable post

Shoppable posts originated on Instagram. Brands can embed product tags, prices, descriptions, and links to sales pages in their posts. When social site users see something they like, they can find out exactly what it is, how much it costs, and of course, how to buy it.

As an example, look at this image from World Market’s Instagram page. Instead of just displaying the picture frame and decorative globes, they arranged them on a shelf to give shoppers an idea of how they might look in their own homes.

Some marketers have compared the experience to showcasing products in a catalog but with all the advantages of getting found on a busy social site and employing clickable links right to the product pages.

Shoppable post best practices

As with any social media marketing, some businesses enjoy more success than others do. It can take some competitive research and experimenting to maximize engagement and sales.

Some best practices for maximizing shoppable posts include:

  • Invest in good photos: Besides producing high-quality photos, businesses should focus on composing shots that will attract attention and help customers make a purchase decision. Also, experiment with eye-catching colors to attract attention.
  • Add hashtags: As with any Instagram posts, appropriate hashtags will help people find the photos. Do some research to find appropriate hashtags. As an example, #shoplocal brings up small, local businesses. Combining that tag with a location and product-relevant tag could help the right customers find the post.
  • Add promotions: A discount offer or promotional code can provide Instagram users with an additional incentive to make a purchase.
  • Experiment with video: How-to and DIY videos have grown very popular on Instagram. Videos that show products in action can provide value to consumers to help with engagement and sales.
  • Show off the brand’s personality: Instead of dry product descriptions, try to engage people with stories or even jokes that can spark an emotional connection.

Why is an eCommerce marketing agency recommending shoppable posts?

According to Business Insider Intelligence forecasts, commerce conducted on social sites in 2021 will top $36 billion in the US alone. This number represents about 35 percent in growth over the previous year.

Just as surprising, it means social commerce will account for over four percent of all retail sales.In particular, look for social sales to spike in fashion, beauty, home decor, electronics, and plenty of other popular niches.

Social media marketing platforms ripe for social commerce

Certainly, social media companies have embraced the rise of eCommerce on their platforms. In turn, eCommerce platforms have striven to incorporate more social aspects. Take a look at some of the most popular examples of social media platforms embracing social commerce.

Facebook

Just because it’s the largest social media platform, Facebook gets the first mention. Besides having the largest audience, Facebook also has the biggest share of commerce for purely social media sites.

In 2020, they introduced Facebook Shops. The idea came at a good time because many businesses struggled to move online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, most of these smaller companies already had a Facebook presence.

The introduction of Facebook Shops gave small businesses a way to seamlessly integrate online shopping with the community that they had already attracted. Just as great, customers could make purchases without needing to leave the Facebook website or app.

Instagram

Facebook owns Instagram; however, the two social sites have somewhat different tones and cultures. As an example, influencers tend to drive engagement on Instagram somewhat more than on Facebook. Even though Facebook still commands a larger audience, some marketers find Instagram a better fit for their marketing strategies and audience.

Instagram launched Instagram Checkout a couple of years ago, and now they even display a shopping link at the bottom of their homepage. As mentioned earlier, Instagram also offers shoppable posts. These features make it very easy for influencers, celebrities, and brands to introduce products and drive sales.

Pinterest

Shoppers turn to Pinterest when they want some inspiration. Even though it doesn’t command an audience the size of Facebook’s, Pinterest users already tend to browse the social site with intent. Popular Pinterest categories include fashion, decor, health, and fitness, so the platform’s a natural for these shopping niches.

TikTok

The new kid in town, TikTok, burst onto the social scene with a good understanding of what works, and a young, enthusiastic audience. It’s growing rapidly and up until now, mostly known for catchy and sometimes, sponsored videos.

ModernRetail mentioned a new addition to TikTok that will allow sellers to open their own stores. Features will include the ability to communicate with customers and take payments from right inside the TikTok app. Apparently, TikTok’s still testing this feature in limited marketplaces, but it’s fair to expect to see it released broadly soon.

Twitter

In a rather contrary move, Twitter actually dropped their “Buy” button a few years ago. It doesn’t look like Twitter’s moving in the direction of direct, in-platform sales at the moment; however, it’s still a great platform to participate in to engage audiences and gain useful insights.

Are eCommerce sites getting more social?

At first glance, social commerce might appear to compete with more traditional eCommerce sites, like Amazon and Shopify. A second look will reveal that the most successful online retailers implemented some social features and recently, have taken steps to ensure they’re included in the growth of social commerce.

Amazon

Of course, most people visualize Amazon as the largest retailer in the world but not a social medial platform. It’s a place where users can log in and buy just about anything 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Of course, Amazon’s invested a fortune to develop that kind of brand identity. Still, Amazon already offered a lot of social features appears ready to do even more.

Selz Acquisition

Just recently, GeekWire reported on the Amazon acquisition of Selz, a firm that produces products that make it easier for small businesses to sell online. For instance, Selz offers tools to easily build eCommerce websites, manage products, interface with customers, track metrics, and of course, accept payments.

Recent announcements have not revealed exactly how Amazon plans to use this new purchase; however, marketers expect them to leverage Selz to compete more with Shopify and to add more social selling to their brand.

Amazon PPC

As one example of a feature that’s similar to social sites, Amazon has its own PPC platform. A good Amazon PPC agency will suggest using this feature to improve brand recognition and sales, which in turn, help drive rankings.

Amazon Storefronts

In an effort to boost their reach with small- and medium-sized businesses and perhaps, to keep from losing sellers to Shopify, Amazon created Amazon Storefronts. Much like Facebook Shops, this gives retailers a bit of their own online real estate to directly interface with customers.

Amazon Reviews

Experienced Amazon sellers know that Amazon’s review system stands as one of the earliest example of effective, online social marketing. Not only do shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, the number and quality of reviews can influence search rankings and in turn, sales. In turn, top reviewers can become important influencers on the platform.

Shopify

Like Amazon, Shopify also has reviews, though the review system isn’t quite as extensive as Amazon’s.

Instead of focusing so much on creating its own social features, Shopify has extended its payment options to Facebook and Instagram. That means Shopify merchants can use Shop Pay to accept payments on their own social pages to engage in more social selling.

A Shopify spokesperson told TechCrunch that both Facebook and Instagram had performed very well for their merchants. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they saw a 36-percent increase in channel integration between these two social sites and merchant shops, and they anticipated growth to continue.

In addition, Shopify also established a partnership with TikTok. This lets Shopify merchants display their own social commerce posts directly within the app.

An eCommerce marketing agency perspective on today’s social media marketing

In the past, retailers viewed eCommerce marketing and social media marketing as two distinct channels. These days, successful businesses can enjoy wonderful synergy by integrating these channels.

This can include taking advantage of new eCommerce features on social platforms and the social integration features on traditional online retailers. As an example, Facebook has introduced its own sales platform. In contrast, Shopify’s strategy appears to focus on integrating its shops and payment buttons with social medial sites.

This kind of integrated marketing plan will let businesses enjoy the best of both worlds. Besides, it will offer customers a richer and more convenient shopping experience. Shopping’s always been an experience that’s often better shared; and social commerce provides the perfect opportunity.

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Amazon Guide for 2021: Amazon Selling Tips to Grow Sales

Boost Amazon marketing sales with optimized product listings, display ads, reviews, and Amazon promotions, and great products.

Competition from large retail chains and online sellers forced many Main Street businesses to struggle. Social distancing measures and changing consumer habits especially accentuated pressure on small- to medium-sized companies during 2020.

Still, this marks the beginning of a new year. Find out how using Amazon and the right tactics can make 2021 the best sales year yet.

Why focus on Amazon marketing?

Mostly, Amazon opens almost any size business to an active, global marketplace. It’s not just the largest online retail company; in 2020, Amazon surpassed Walmart in size to become the largest retailer of any type in the world.

Even more, lots of shoppers already know and trust Amazon. For instance:

  • A 2019 study from Feedvisor found that 89 percent of online shoppers would prefer buying a product from Amazon over another eCommerce website.
  • Amazon’s own stats say that USA-based small- and medium-sized businesses sell an average of over 4,000 items per minute on its site.
  • Over 2.5 million Amazon sellers currently have active Amazon listings.

Amazon offers your business a great opportunity to improve reach, brand exposure, and most of all, sales. Along with all eCommerce, Amazon sales have boomed during the pandemic and will almost certainly keep growing.

How to grow your eCommerce marketing business on Amazon

While sales on the Amazon platform continue to increase, any good Amazon marketing agency would tell their clients to prepare for competition in most product categories. Still, the presence of competition shouldn’t discourage either a determined seller or eCommerce marketing agency. By adhering to some simple best practices, good sellers can outrank and outsell competitors.

Rapidly gain visibility on Amazon With Display Ads

On Amazon, like with so many other things, nothing succeeds like success. The more sales a business can generate, the more likely they’ll enjoy repeat business and just as great, visibility in Amazon searches and promotions. Besides having products match keyword searches, Amazon naturally gives weight to products with a history of sales and reviews. After all, they make more money with products that convert.

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads give businesses a way to gain visibility and garner some brand recognition with high-intent shoppers without having to wait for organic-search sales to trickle in.

Consider these highlights of Amazon Sponsored Ads:

  • This PPC, image-based advertising platform puts ads in search results right next to more visible competitors. A fairly discrete “Sponsored” tag is the only difference shoppers will see between paid ads and organic search results.
  • According to HubSpot, PPC bids hover around the same price points as Google Search ads. However, businesses that advertise on Amazon may enjoy a greater chance to appear on the screens of shoppers who are searching to buy and not just research.

Employ best practices for product pages

Even sellers with the best and hottest products to sell will need to optimize each product page to ensure great conversions. Don’t overlook the opportunity to do better.

For instance: 

  • A 2020 Jungle Scout survey found that only about half of Amazon marketers understood the importance of product page optimization.
  • Another 29 percent said they found the optimization process challenging.

Obviously, attention to perfecting their listing details can give many businesses a competitive edge. Also, while there’s probably always room to improve, getting started with a reasonably optimized product listing boils down to some basics.

Of course, an experienced Amazon marketing agency can help new Amazon marketers get the best start. Still, many Amazon marketers can improve both search ranks and conversions by paying attention to importing product listing fields.

Product Title

Amazon provides 200 characters in most categories, and it’s best to use as much as possible. Sellers will want to combine key search terms with language that human consumers will respond to.

To understand this, compare a great and not-so-great example of product titles:

  • Contraband uses its allowed space to tell both consumers and the Amazon search engine what the product is (ankle cuffs), what it’s made out of, and what it does.
  • Balanced body simply says they’ve got ankle cuffs in their title.

Obviously, the Contraband’s eCommerce marketing agency took some time to research types of keywords customers might use to search. That gives them a better shot at ranking well and getting customers to click their listing.

Product images and videos

Titles help customers find the right products. Still, images will encourage them to click. Of course, product listings deserve high-quality photos. Pictures should look good as thumbnails on a search page and when enlarged in the listing.

Take a look at Neat Feeder’s dog elevated dog bowls as one example:

  • The main photo makes good use of its allocated space.
  • Even better, they include another photo with a cute dog sitting by the feeder for size comparison and yet another photo that clearly shows product details.
  • Finally, they added a couple of videos. They’re using available media to engage in a little content marketing to showcase their product.

Product descriptions

Product descriptions need to balance using appropriate keywords for search and the right words and format to appeal to human shoppers. As for content, the description should briefly include relevant specs and answer common questions. More than that, it should sell a product’s benefits more than its features.

To accomplish this:

  • Develop buyer personas: It helps to work with at least one buyer person in mind. This kind of illustration of a typical customer will help generate keyword ideas and inspire the writing style. Marketers use the company’s data about current customers or research on the overall market to develop buyer personas. Some relevant information typically includes age, income, and other factors relevant to buying the product.
  • Format for readability: For lists of specs, features, and other details, use bullet points. Just like this set of bullet points, they help make chunks of text easier to skim in order to pull out important points. If shoppers have to labor to figure out if a charger works with their phone or a supplement contains an ingredient they’re allergic to, they may back out and find another product with a better presentation.

Encourage reviews

Hopefully, a high-quality product and attention to service will lead to customer satisfaction. Even if a business delighted 10,000 customers, the 10,001th wouldn’t know about it if they couldn’t find a review.

Amazon will ask for reviews after sales. Also, sellers can make an additional review request through their seller’s account. Note that it’s against the Amazon terms to incentivize good reviews. At the same time, sellers can join some Amazon programs that encourage reviews. These include the Amazon Early Reviewer Program and Amazon Vine.

Obviously, product and service quality will help encourage better reviews. Still, most customers probably don’t bother to leave reviews, so it’s often a number’s game.

Look into creating an Amazon Storefront

In the past, small businesses have accused Amazon of taking their business. Today, on the Amazon Storefronts page, Amazon proudly proclaims that half of the products sold on the platform come from small companies.

As the old saying suggests, perhaps, if you can’t beat them, maybe it’s time to join themBusiness News Daily said that about 20,000 businesses have already joined Amazon Storefronts. This program can give small- to mid-sized companies a way to retain their unique character while still accessing customers through the large platform.

In any case, Amazon has invited some of its sellers into the program, and other companies can ask for inclusion. If accepted, retailers get a chance to create a unique identity, which helps to differentiate their brand from millions of others.

Storefront owners can also benefit from Amazon’s promotions, including:

  • Curated categories: Category pages include everything from pet supplies to groceries. They even have a “Launch Pad” section to show off innovative ideas from small businesses.
  • Meet the Business Owner and Storefront of the Week: These sections highlight individual storefronts.

As an example, The Little Flower Soap Company benefited from Amazon’s natural advertising campaign. In addition to craft soap, this business also sells CBD topical creams, candles, and other self-care items. They said their sales have doubled with the Amazon Storefront program.

Keyword research for Amazon marketing

At their heart, most retailers view Amazon’s platform as a search engine. In some ways, it’s very similar to Google. Businesses that gain top ranks on high-intent searches can prosper; however, getting buried on page two or even deeper will generally limit sales. 

To briefly contrast Google and Amazon search optimization:

  • On the positive side, Amazon is actually more transparent about the best practices that can lead to higher search ranks than Google is. For good suggestions about the use of search terms and other details in a product listing, read Amazon’s product listing optimization page.
  • Sellers can include search terms in titles, descriptions, and other visible fields. They also give sellers fields to enter search terms that only their search engine can see. For comparison, people who create optimized web pages used to rely upon a keywords meta tag, but Google hasn’t paid attention to it for a long time.
  • Some of Amazon’s keyword advice includes putting keywords in the most likely, natural order for searches and ordering keywords with the most important ones first. Sometimes, that advice may conflict, so it’s important to strike the right balance and experiment a bit. For example, they want search terms to appear as “big teddy bear” and not “teddy bear big.”
  • Also, Amazon doesn’t want any superlatives or subjective words, like best, in the search term fields. Listings might include those in the description, but they just waste space in search fields and for that matter, in listing titles.

So, what’s a good example of a product with good search optimization? It’s impossible to see exactly which keywords the seller has included in the keyword fields, so examples have to come from what has to be another important source of search terms, the title.

This listing for Anker Bluetooth headphones appears to strike a good balance. It tells customers the brand, the product, some competitive benefits, and a few good uses for the product. The marketer listed these in some logical order of importance while managing to keep the title readable.

If the search for keywords appears overwhelming, start by thinking about one or a very few search terms that a customer might use.

For instance, compare using search terms in the search term fields vs. the title:

  • If the product is a package of air fryer accessories, you should probably begin with air fryer accessories for a search term field.
  • For a title, maybe use air fryer accessories after the brand name if the brand’s well known. Otherwise, it might be best to use well-known brands that the accessories work for after the name of the product.
  • For search term fields, you shouldn’t use brands, so perhaps it’s best to include the size or type of air fryer the accessories will work with.

Eventually, it might help to use some keyword tools, like Jungle Scout or KeyWordTool.io, to generate common searches. Still, product and customer knowledge, common sense, and adherence to best practices can go far when optimizing listings on Amazon.

How to get started with product listing optimization

Really, just a few elements can help businesses gain visibility on Amazon. These include optimized product listings, Amazon’s display ads, reviews, and hopefully, promotional help from Amazon.

At first, Amazon marketers may only truly have control over how well they optimize their listings and display ads. Only after they’ve optimized the listing, they may choose to opt into the Sponsored Products program. Then, once they start to win sales, attention to product quality and service will help encourage reviews and repeat buyers. Once these efforts gain some traction, Amazon should step in with additional marketing support.

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4 Great Holiday Retail Marketing Campaigns and Why They Work

Holiday shoppers research purchases and respond to retail advertising promotions. See four classic holiday retail marketing campaigns.

With the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, ’tis the season for holiday advertising. Of course, businesses have plenty of good reasons to ramp up retail marketing during the holiday season.

According to WordStream, 80 percent of seasonal shoppers research purchases on the internet before buying. In addition, over three-quarters say they’ve changed their mind about a purchase after performing a mobile search. At least a third of people say they’ve bought things over the holidays because of a promotional offer. In any case, this season sparks holiday retail purchases, and businesses must market to make sure shoppers can find and remember them.

Four Favorite holiday retail advertising campaigns

For some inspiration to get into the holiday marketing spirit, consider some of the best seasonal advertising campaigns.

Home Alone with Google Assistant 

Most shoppers remember “Home Alone,” the classic holiday movie from the 1990s. Google produced a video parody of this movie, which of course, featured Google Assistant and even the adult version of the original child star, Macaulay Culkin. The video scored tens of millions of views and lots of social buzz. It works well because it combines nostalgia, humor, and the relevance of demonstrating how people can use the app.

Starbucks red cups

No brand marketing agency can discuss holiday advertising without evoking the scent of pumpkin spice. Actually, this all started with Starbucks themed holiday cups back in 1997. Every year, the cups get a different look that mostly reflects traditional holiday designs. Mostly, the decorated cups signal the introduction of the coffee chain’s holiday menu, which of course, includes pumpkin spice.

Over the years, the campaign has generated excitement and even a little controversy. Mostly, the company uses fairly traditional or recognizable seasonal designs. For one memorable year, they introduced a plain, red cup with their logo, which displeased plenty of customers. If people like the current year’s cups or not, they earn Starbucks plenty of press and social media attention that’s paid off for the business.

Coca Cola’s polar bears

Coca-Cola has a long history of savvy and effective holiday advertising campaigns. For instance, lots of people believe the soft drink company contributed a lot to the modern version of Santa Claus during the 1930s. The Coca-Cola ploar bears arrived as holiday mascots during the 1920s, even earlier than Coca Cola’s Santa.

The cartoon bears work well because they’re cute and fun. More recently, the company has even used them to help raise awareness of the impact of global warming on real polar bears. Since 2011, Coca-Cola has contributed and raised about $5 million dollars to help preserve habitats. 

Though considering the billions of dollars in profits that the company has made from these playful animals, the World Wildlife Federation has criticized the company by saying that they ought to do more.

Apple’s “The Surprise” video

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers struggle to send out the right holiday message. While they want to promote a positive message, businesses need to remain mindful that just about all of their customers have endured a touch year.

The Surprise” video from Apple hits many of the right notes by mixing hopefulness with a hint of sadness. A family goes to visit their somewhat cranky grandpa, who has just lost his wife. On Christmas morning, the kids cheer him up with a sweet, sentimental video that — of course — they created on their iPad. The engaging video tells a story, elicits a few tears, and like the Google Assistant video, demonstrates the usefulness of the product.

How to hit the sweet spot with holiday retail marketing

Movie parodies, disposable, holiday-themed cups, imaginary bears, and sentimental videos may not appear to have much in common. Still, they all evoke nostalgia for holiday traditions, or in the case of the year of Starbucks plain cups, stoke attention when they don’t.

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What Retail Marketers Should Expect from Black Friday This Year

For retail marketing, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those holiday shopping events will probably blend into weeks before and after winter holidays.

By now, everybody knows that the pandemic turned 2020 into a disruptive year for marketers. Because of that, both retail marketers and customers feel somewhat uncertain about the shopping season before the holidays. In fact, Yahoo.News even answered the frequently asked question, “Has Black Friday been canceled this year?”

Rest assured that Black Friday of 2020 will take place the day after Thanksgiving, just as it always has. Consumers will also still look forward to holiday shopping, even if they approach it differently this year. Learn why the idea of Black Friday still matters and how retail marketing can best prepare for holiday shopping days during a pandemic.

A Retail Marketing Perspective on Black Friday 2020

While Black Friday deals still generate excitement, customers may not miss a lot of aspects of traditional one-day sales events. For instance, stores will probably have social distancing measures in place, so they’ll probably do what they can to discourage the usual stampedes and lines. In fact, many stores will probably push eCommerce marketing more this year to attract a growing number of online shoppers and limit the chance of crowds inside physical locations.

Will Cyber Monday replace Black Friday? Every year, Cyber Monday has stolen a bit more attention from Black Friday. Typically, marketers think of Black Friday as an event for local stores and Cyber Monday as the time to run online sales.

It’s likely that consumers will still look for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Still, the two sales days will begin to merge together as retailers look to increase eCommerce marketing to improve sales. Instead of representing a one-day sale, customers will learn to associate these events with the entire holiday shopping season.

To illustrate this, Digital Commerce 360 published some 2019 stats about online sales during the two days:

  • Black Friday online revenue: $7.43 billion
  • Cyber Monday online revenue: $9.42 billion

Even last year, retailers did not necessarily wait until traditional shopping days to push their holiday deals. In fact, they reported revenue of over $4 billion on Thanksgiving and decent receipts on the Saturday and Sunday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s why some sources have even coined a new term, Cyber 5, to include all five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Note that some major retailers, including Walmart and Sam’s Club, have decided to close on Thanksgiving. Also, even last year, Walmart started holiday sales five weeks before Thanksgiving, and Target started even earlier.

Holiday retail tips for Black Friday 2020

With both historical trends and the disruptive nature of 2020 in mind, consider these retail marketing tips for a successful holiday sales season:

  • Plan ahead: In light of all of the dramatic changes and disruptions to retail marketing this year, retailers should not wait to plan for holiday sales. This includes early planning for promotions, inventory, supplies, and employees. Besides social distancing, lots of retailers have also struggled with supply and manpower problems because of coronavirus.
  • Run longer promotions: It’s fine to mention Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those familiar sales events, but really, expect the holiday sales season to begin earlier, run over the course of months, and perhaps, even bleed into after-holiday sales for excess inventory. Lots of customers get gift cards for winter holidays, and good deals can encourage them to use them and perhaps, even spend more.
  • Focus on increasing online sales: Vend reported that shoppers didn’t just intend to extend their holiday buying beyond Black Friday, 67 percent of them planned to shop online. That compares to 51 percent in 2019. Retailers need to make certain their sites, shipping methods, and customer service can handle an increase in online visitors.
  • Improve digital marketing platforms: Even though Black Friday or even Cyber Monday may no longer refer to distinct days, lots of folks still use those terms to search for deals. With that in mind, retailers can create targeted pages and social media posts for those terms and then make it clear that the holiday deals will start early this year.
  • Incorporate physical stores and eCommerce marketing into an omnichannel marketing strategy: Plenty of case studies have found that retailers with both brick-and-mortar stores and eCommerce sites do best when they merge them both into their universal sales strategy. As much as possible, have the same sales online and offline, and allow in-store pickup for online orders for items available in local stores. Customers may like to shop online; however, many of them also enjoy having the option to quickly pickup their orders locally.

Black Friday is not dead

Lots of shoppers still enjoy the tradition of post-Thanksgiving shopping for the holidays, and plenty of retail stores have taken very effective measures to ensure safety. Just think of all of the Christmas movies that feature scenes in a festively decorated store. More stores may close or limit shoppers on the Friday after Thanksgiving. At the same time, they can still advertise Black Friday deals by making clear they’re generously starting earlier and finishing later this year.

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DTC vs. Retail: How Brands Win with a Blended Approach

In a world of customized placement, your DTC brand needs to be omni-channel, which is why a proper DTC marketing plan is so critical.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are riding a sustained growth wave. It’s estimated there are more than 400 significant brands now in this category, while DTC web traffic is growing 100%  year over year. This growth is being supported by performance-based DTC marketing plans.

Don’t think top retailers haven’t noticed. Nordstrom, Sephora, and other industry heavyweights are working overtime to entice emerging DTC brands into the retail space by offering a range of incentives.

One example: Bloomingdale’s Carousel concept, which allows DTC sellers to set up rotating pop-up shops within the storied retailer’s brick and mortar environs.

Yet, as DTC brands would be the first to tell you, this kind of relationship doesn’t come without substantial tradeoffs.

Winning with a blended approach

Wholesale retailers, always eager for trendy, differentiated offerings, have been busy integrating DTC brands at a rapid clip. There’s no question that such relationships offer very real benefits for these brands. A DTC marketing plan that provides proper placement in Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s can expose DTC products to much wider audiences.

Partnering with an esteemed wholesale retailer also gives newer DTC brands instant cachet and credibility. For a largely unknown brand, an association with a retail heavyweight can be extraordinarily valuable.

Yet these benefits are also somewhat mitigated by the demands DTC brands are facing. Given their reach and capacity, it’s not surprising that large retailers want to get DTC brands in front of a sizable number of their customers. Yet these brands are often ill-prepared to scale up to accommodate placement at 50 stores.

Large retailers also exert a very high degree of control over product strategy and operations. DTC brands that are accustomed to exerting full control over how their products and services are presented and marketed may balk at relinquishing that control. Much of the storytelling, creative messaging or flair associated with DTC brands may be suppressed when these products are presented and marketed by a larger retailer with different sensibilities and prerogatives.

So how do DTC brands thread the needle?

Many of today’s most successful DTC brands have been squaring this circle by pursuing a blended approach. They make wholesale retailers a part of their omni-channel strategy, but only on their terms.

If retailers push DTC brands to scale too early, they resist. If DTC brands believe their messaging is being polluted by clumsy or irrelevant retail marketing, they speak up.

Most importantly, these DTC brands don’t cede control over their narrative. They may be hitching a ride on a larger, faster and more visible ship, but they remain the undisputed captain of their fate.

Looking for a DTC marketing boost?

Attractive and eye-catching product and packaging design is a virtual pre-requisite for successful DTC brands. Luckily for you we’re experts in this field. Whether you need assistance with product design, performance-based advertising and marketing strategies or branding services, we have the necessary expertise to deliver the goods.

Contact Bigeye today for more information about how we can help take your DTC marketing plan to the next level. 

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