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Tips to Get Ready Now for the Online Rush

Christmas in October: Tips to Get Ready Now for the Online Rush

By Ross McDonald, Google Retail Marketing Headgoogle_logo

Christmas is still a couple of months away, but Australians are already researching their

Christmas purchases online. For retailers, this means getting ready for Christmas now – and

testing your online strategy well before the Christmas rush. To make sure you’re prepared for the

online bonanza, try these 10 tips:

1. Search online for your own brand. Are you easy to find with locations and opening

hours? If you have a store locater on your website, is it up-to-date and clear?

2. Search online for your key product categories. Does your name appear to remind

customers of your range? Do your competitors’ names appear? Shoppers search for

products and product brands far more frequently than retailer names.

3. Understand seasonal trends. Google’s free Insights for Search tools allows you to see

when shoppers are searching for your products and what else they’re searching for at the

same time. For example, searches for Christmas-related terms begin to spike in mid-

September and build to a December peak.

4. Use search marketing to remind your customers about your products and services

throughout their purchase cycle.

5. Coordinate online marketing with offline promotions and merchandising. Your TV

and print advertising will drive people online to search for more information. Make sure

you’re ready for that spike in traffic with smart search ads and a compelling website.

6. Provide inspiration. Tie your search marketing efforts to limited time offers and

Christmas promotions to appeal to the seasonal spirit.

7. Consider adding value terms to your advertising (and your keyword list). Terms like

“sale”, “coupon”, “discount” and “buy one get one free” all see a significant spike in

search traffic during Christmas and help attract shoppers to your products and services.

8. Plan a gift card program. According to Google search data, gift cards are getting more

popular each year, and 2009 may be the biggest year yet. Although these are most

effective during the last days of the holiday season as shoppers run out of specific ideas

for gifts, retailers should begin promoting them online in October as people begin their

Christmas research.

9. Be helpful. Consider adding an online gift finder to your site to recommend gifts.

Research shows that these typically produce higher average order values.

10. Start testing now. The Christmas rush is the hardest time to test new marketing or

technology. Be ready for the biggest retail event of the year by experimenting in October

and learning as you go.

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