In terms of converting browsers to buyers, retailers know that summer is a relatively slow season. Consumer economic concerns are part of the picture. But more than that, summertime searching drops off when shoppers trade screen-time for getting out into the good weather.
But just because the summer slump is expected, it doesn’t mean retailers have to spend the downtime dusting virtual “shelves.” There’s plenty of “get ahead” advice retailers can access right now to improve sales conversion rates even in the slowest of seasons.
Here are just a few:
Make Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Improvements So They'll Find You First.
Consumers spend less time in front of their screens in the summer than they do the rest of the year. Search engine optimization is key in making sure that when consumers do take the time to go online, they find you first. Search Engine Land suggests taking summer to focus on improving conversion from an SEM perspective. Using “Enhanced CPC,” reviewing negative keywords, trying more broad matching, filtering for below first page and experimenting with bidding are explained as alternatives to pacing the floor while you wait for the next wave of customers to arrive.
Take Time to Achieve a “Smart” Online Storefront
If you aren’t using your storefront to collect data, you should be. And if you are collecting data (via Google analytics or other data capture platforms) but haven’t done anything with it, the time to start is now. It’s this kind of “big data” that allows retailers to optimize content relevance, customize the customer experience and reach each of them, every time, regardless of the device they are on.
Go for Some Tried and True Summer Marketing Strategies
You might not have a product that screams summer like suntan lotion or swimwear, but you can make your product/website relevant to each consumer’s summer experience. In summertime, people are on the go and spend more conservatively. Here are just a few ideas to meet customers where they are:
- Offer free shipping during the summer months
- Incorporate summer design elements into your storefront
- Leverage summer holidays to promote online sales
- Promote summer deals on coupon sites
- Advertise locally
- Add or enhance your mobile marketing strategy
This recent Huffington Post article outlines even more summer strategies for kicking up summer marketing campaigns to increase conversions including sponsorships and strategic partnering.
Become Educated on Emerging Retail Technologies and their Applications
Let’s face it. While adding summer design elements and seasonal specials certainly shows you have your best foot forward, it’s not all retailers can do to improve conversion rates during the summer slowdown. Retailers are using advanced recommendation engines not only in the summer months, but all year long to learn what customers want—even before they do. More importantly, the technology is helping businesses find more ways to monetize these once hard-to-pin-down preferences. Here are just a few ways recommendation engines can be used to increase summertime conversions:
- Retailers can present consumers with upsell, cross-sell and trending opportunities on-the-fly—either individually or to an entire consumer segment.
- Built-in A/B testing allows retailers to see what recommendations will deliver the highest returns first—without guessing or time delays.
- Big data insights such as past customer behavior, historical sales performance, and like-minded shopper intent, enables retailers to instantly promote the right product to the right customer at the right time.
You don’t have to do everything. But certainly if you take time to do the right things right now, every season after this one has the capacity to be better (and more profitable) than the next.