Top Trends and Critical Success Factors for Brands in e-Commerce
Black Friday, once a US-only sales event, has grown to be a global phenomenon and now represents the most important promotional period for brands before the holidays. In 2020, the UK saw a 23% increase in Black Friday online sales. Meanwhile, Deloitte predicts an 11-15% year on year increase in U.S. e-commerce sales for Q4 2021. For brands, there’s no question that a strong performance during Black Friday - and indeed all of Q4 - is critical.
Our research into the top-performing brands this Black Friday season revealed four key areas where the best brands are excelling. While there are dozens of success factors for winning the digital shelf, these four are unignorable and absolutely crucial to competing and winning against the competition during Q4. Black Friday and the whole holiday season.
Analyze competitive strategies and be responsive
Different brands use different promo strategies during key retail periods. We’re increasingly seeing brands leverage promotions well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday to boost their sales rank ahead of the big day. For example, have a look at the graph below which shows promo activity for several major UK home appliances brands during November 2020; Zanussi in particular got a head start with promotions, kicking off early deals on 12 November and maintaining promotions for the rest of the month.
Early promos not only help keep costs at a minimum, it also offers an opportunity to increase sales rank ahead of the event so you’re in top position when the shoppers start flooding in.
Best Practice: Tracking your competition closely and analyzing historical data to shape your strategies. Over or under-investing will have significant monetary consequences.
Monitor Keyword Trends
Promo events like Black Friday offer keyword gold dust for brands, particularly when it comes to spotting new trends. For example, here are just a few keywords on Amazon UK that saw a significant uptick in searches in November 2021 when compared to Prime Day month just last June.
Historical keyword data like this are invaluable in understanding not only what people are searching for, but also how they’re searching for them. Understanding the words shoppers use to find the products they want should be core to your e-Commerce SEO strategy.
Best Practice: Use keyword monitoring tools to spot the latest search trends and track your performance against those keywords. Then take it a step further...
Optimize keywords in your category
e-Commerce category ranking can change in an instance. Our research showed that even the biggest brands in e-commerce experienced high in-store search volatility. For example, Apple’s share in Top 3 Search fell 4% from October to November 2021, despite having some of the strongest Black Friday promotions.
Best Practice: Choose your keywords carefully and monitor your search position daily to make sure your products aren’t losing rank to your competitors (the top 3 ASINs can account for up to 16% of total category sales, so staying in that top position is imperative). If you find yourself losing sales, we suggest investing in sponsored links while also shaping your content to better reflect the relevant keyword(s).
Shape PDP content to boost organic search
While rich content on your product pages can often drive conversion, using the right keywords in the right place is guaranteed to influence your product’s in-store search position, so make sure your keywords reflect search trends as they unfold.
Best Practice: Monitor keyword effectiveness and make sure they reflect the latest shopper search trends. Also optimize your product title and bullet point descriptions, and close all the gaps.
Of course there are many more things you can do to make an impact on your Q4 sales, but perfecting these four key areas will help you continually improve as the season progresses.
For more help with your Q4 digital shelf strategy, download our Q4 checklist.
To learn more about winning on Amazon, read our latest eBook: Winning the Amazon Best Seller Rank