The holiday shopping season remains the make or break time for many digital marketers. And the stakes continue to climb as each year sets new, multi-billion dollar records in online consumer purchases. Since every passing day from now until the season is officially over in early January can make a difference, marketers will benefit from knowing every angle to make the most of the next few weeks.
But first, some facts. With each passing year, the number of companies that depend on the holidays to achieve sales goals grows. It’s not just due to the rising online commerce numbers. Another, lesser recognized factor to consider is that campaigns aren’t limited to the traditional holiday purchases of consumer electronics, sporting goods, apparel, and luxury items. Marketers behind big ticket items such as major appliances and automobiles also jump on the holiday marketing bandwagon. The result is more brands fighting over the same consumer wallets.
Further challenging digital marketers are the changing wants, needs, preferences, and desires of consumers. For example, over the years Black Friday morphed into cyber week with shopping starting earlier and earlier in the Thanksgiving week until it extended into a six-day retail bonanza. Marketers banked on the millions being spent during those few days. Then came the backlash from the legions of employees that were being separated from their families on Thanksgiving. Today, marketing campaigns are built around catering to the needs of employees and their families. Brands that don’t support this philosophy are cast in a less than glowing holiday light.
Despite fluctuations in consumer trends and behaviors, there are two steady constants for marketers to consider. First, today’s consumers are high intent shoppers. They have a budget, a list, and are ready to swipe their credit card. The second is that a growing number of high intent shoppers have increasingly low allegiance to specific brands. Of course, there will always be shoppers in search of the must-have products from specific brands. But the days of waiting for so-called killer products from specific brands are fewer and farther between.
How do today’s consumers make purchasing decisions? Data from Natural Intelligence shows that price is not their only consideration. Nor is it their first. Increasingly, consumers want to the ability to stack one product up against others in the same category to compare specific features and read the reviews provided by consumers and other third-party reviewers.
This presents an upside to lesser known brands. When the reviews are unbiased and product features comparable, consumers are increasingly open to purchasing from brands that are new to them. This is a significant shift in consumer behavior.
What does this mean for marketers? Essentially, recommendations of top products and services are increasingly more meaningful to shoppers. The research from Natural Intelligence also indicates that when it comes to comparison shopping sites, the top listing converts 27 percent higher than the second, and the second-place listing performing 61 percent higher than lower ranked products.
The major takeaway is that companies that want to generate more traffic and convert more leads must be willing to share more information creates a seamless online experience, and do their best to be ranked as high as possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aviv Canaani is Director of Marketing at Natural Intelligence, a provider a leader in intent marketing that operates comparison websites that drive high-value customer acquisition for leading brands.