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Opinion

Why Amazon shouldn’t impact your Christmas strategy

The decorations are starting to appear and the parties are being planned – Christmas is officially just around the corner.

The November/December period brings with it one of the busiest times of year for retailers and marketers, and 2017 is no exception. With the impending launch of US retail giant Amazon in Australia, all eyes are on the e-commerce industry questioning what’s next.

While some retailers are expecting the worst, many are preparing to flourish in this new era of online shopping. The arrival of Amazon on Australian shores is set to bring increased attention and consumers to online platforms, and create significant opportunity for those that are ready with a strategy in place.

According to Amazon, more than 500 Aussie retailers have already registered to sell their products on the Amazon Marketplace.

For most, understanding the behaviours of online shoppers in busy periods, and focusing on targeted advertising to drive conversion is an important part of being prepared. With Amazon’s launch date still tentative, now is the time to set those strategies. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Know your season

The launch of Amazon in Australia is shrouded in mystery, but all signs point to the retail giant launching by the end of 2017.

While there is a sense of ambiguity, with more consumers than ever expected to head online in the coming months to do their Christmas shopping, local retailers and marketers need to focus on what’s immediately in front of them, not just on how things might change.

In order to plan a successful advertising campaign, it’s crucial to understand the purchase path that buyers follow. While shoppers start increasing browsing at the end of October, certain days drive significantly more traffic than other.

Criteo data shows that in 2016 Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw site traffic increase by more than 70 per cent, compared to the previous month. The average order value (AOV) on these Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone increased by more than 300 per cent, compared to the previous month.

It’s also important to remember the impending Boxing Day sales. Last year, online retailers were able to kick off their sales up to a week before Christmas. So while most shoppers weren’t able to get their gifts in time, savvy shoppers will already be holding out for big discounts in the days before December 25th.

By focusing on relevant and timely messaging you’ll be more likely to meet the needs (and wants!) of consumers and see them coming back for more. This isn’t to say you should take an eye off the movements of the retail giant, but don’t let consume your focus at the cost of your seasonal campaign.

Don’t get disheartened by window shoppers

While we might see an increase of traffic throughout November and December it doesn’t necessarily mean that the numbers are converting. Criteo data from the 2016 Christmas shopping season shows that November can be more of a reflection period, with consumers putting items in their carts, but not actually finalising the purchase. While this can be frustrating, it’s the first step to purchase and important part of the customer process.

This behaviour changes throughout December when the number of page views decreases, but the number of conversions increases. According to Deloitte Research from 2016, 60 per cent of Aussie retailers expect their online sales to grow more than 10 per cent throughout December.

You can influence the purchasing process by deploying an engagement strategy that delivers those parked items back to the consumer when it comes to purchase time, even after they’ve moved on from the website. By providing a personalised shopping experience you’ll grow loyalty within your customer base and stay top of mind when it crunch times comes.

The mobile-first mantra continues

Consumers are on-the-go over the Christmas period, shopping using mobile devices (32 per cent in 2016) or a combination of mobile and desktop (42 per cent in 2016).

Australia is in the midst of a new level of mobile-led engagement, so retailers who want to remain competitive will need to prioritise their mobile marketing strategy. Simply put, if you’re not thinking mobile-first, you won’t be in the game (even more so than now, that is!).

The mobile shopper is looking for a different experience, so a “one-size-fits-all” approach won’t cut it. Advertising should be targeted and tailored specifically to mobile devices, following through as shoppers move from one device to another.

Our recent data highlights the value of cross-device tracking and advertising solutions for retailers and advertisers, suggesting that people that shop across devices spend 7 per cent more than others. A seamless transition between devices is crucial and will drive greater conversion.

The launch of Amazon in Australia can be viewed as both a threat and opportunity, but one way or another it is coming. For retailers and advertisers, the November/December shopping period is an ideal opportunity to focus on delivering a targeted and relevant experience for consumers and ultimately securing their loyalty and trust well into the new year.

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