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e-Retailer Search BLOOPERS Reveal the Challenges Brands Face at Mother’s Day

Market Research

Mother’s Day is a big day for gifts, especially in online grocery. Chocolate, champagne, luxury personal care products… if you’re a brand in any of these categories, you’re going to want to show up on the shelf when shoppers search for “mothers day” or “mothers day gifts”. Most e-retailers make it easy, by redirecting shoppers to their specially-curated and crafted Mother’s Day category. All you need to do is make sure your products are correctly allocated to the category and your job should be done, right? Not quite.

Yesterday we spotted the odd inclusion of “chilled meat” among the categories showing up at Sainsbury’s on the keyword “mothers day” - not usually the type of product you associate with mums.

LinkedIn_March_2022_Graph_mothers day

A quick browse of the shelf and there it is, a “21 Day Matured Beef Slow Roasting Joint” in the number three slot (you’ll also find Scottish salmon fillets and unsmoked British gammon further down the list).

The reason is down to the sub-category “Sunday Lunch” which encompasses a range of said “chilled meat” products. This sort of makes sense, but it looks strange amongst the other more gifty goods in the main category.

 

mothers day results

Customers may be willing to look past the meat joint to drill down into specific categories - but what if instead, they search for “mother's day” (with an apostrophe)? Something totally different happens. Sainsbury’s shows search results rather than redirecting to the category. And what’s in those search results? The “mother load” of anti-aging products. We’re not sure which is the less appropriate Mother’s Day gift: a joint of meat or a jar of anti-wrinkle cream.

sainsburys


Search isn’t always smart

For both shoppers and brands, we’ve been conditioned by Google to assume search is smart. Unfortunately not all search algorithms are equal, and online retailers - especially in specialized marketplaces - are often not as sophisticated as we might expect. For brands, that means getting under the hood of each individual retailer to understand their nuances, to find out where you can make an impact, and where to focus to maximize your visibility. Now on Sainsbury’s, getting your chocolate brand in the top search position for “mother’s day” might be impossible, but you can make sure you’re present in all the correct categories and sub-categories in the hope that shoppers won’t be lazy and will look past the meat joint to find the “Food and Drink Gifts” sub-category.


Don’t forget content

If you know which retailers are focusing on which categories during special events like Mother’s Day, you can prioritize content optimization based on which retailers are most likely to show your product on the shelf for relevant keywords. For example, on “mothers day gift”, Waitrose and Ocado both give dominant placement to chocolate brands. So if you’re in the chocolate business, you better make sure your product pages are perfect and poised to outshine other competing chocolate brands.

LinkedIn_March_2022_Graph_mothers day gift


Building on our top takeaways from yesterday’s post….

  • Know your retailers
    Know which retailers are likely to be showcasing your category during Mother’s Day and other special events

  • Be tenacious about your category, sub-category, and filter presence
    Make sure you’re where you should be so that shoppers looking to filter beyond irrelevant products (like chilled meat)

  • Focus on e-retailers where you can have the biggest impact - and remember it’s not just about visibility, but also conversion
    When you know where you are on the shelf, specific to each retailer, you can turn your focus towards optimizing the product pages that shoppers are most likely to see in that category.