An annual 10-week mid-year retail sales festival called Great Singapore Sales, or GSS organized by Singapore Retailers Association, just started over the last weekend. And, more e-commerce companies have joined the festival.
This serves as an inspiration for this post while the knowledge and tactics below not only apply for retailers in Singapore.
Seven areas you can improve your Great Singapore Sales (or other shopping festivals) results and increase the ROI of both retail and e-commerce companies.
1. Create a dedicated campaign page and optimize it for Google
A quick search on Google saw some proactive advertising campaigns targeting GSS from Eu Yan Sang, Zalora, Crocs, Chili’s, a spa company, Esplanade theater, and etc. And, a few got their SEO strategy implemented in advance such as Lazada (on top 3), Goodwood Park Hotel, Mothercare, and Zalora on the first page of organic search results, each of which has a dedicated GSS plan set up and optimized.
You can hire an SEO agency, a consultant, or do it in-house. Visit Moz for a quick guide. An SEO strategy should be included and implemented. But, always remember, put users first.
2. Start campaign early and get ready by end April
A major sales event like GSS requires a bit of advanced planning.
Singapore consumers usually start showing their interest in early May looking for GSS information. Companies should plan a pre-GSS campaign and be ready by the end of April.
3. Target current and potential customers and members with Facebook Ads
While some actively look for information on search engines, many who are interested in your product do not search. You could reach them on Facebook. Targeting Facebook users can be very complex depending on how you define your customer journey and develop the remarketing strategies. I’ll share some quick tactics you can consider implementing.
Retarget your promotion landing page visitors
Set up Facebook Pixel on your website. And, define a custom audience group such as “GSS Page Visitors”. If your GSS promotion includes a variety of products, you want to promote your brand awareness to this group of users on Facebook.
P.S. You can also target all visitors to your website as well. You need to figure out how to integrate this segment into your overall campaign strategy.
Use Audience Insights tool to pre-define target audience segments
Define as many segments as possible based on personas profiles you have for products and name them properly so that you know who you are targeting when you launch the campaign.
Create audience segments for each of your priority product pages
At the end of the day, 10-20% of your products sales contribute to about 80-90% of your revenues. Based on your past sales record and experience, you should know better than anyone else the potential top-selling products for GSS promotions.
Developing each segment will not only enable you to reach your audience with more targeted messaging but also make it easier for you to craft your offers.
Import your members’ contacts and reach them on Facebook
Many retailers have a database of their members; you can reach them with members-only promotions on Facebook. If you have created segments in your CRM (e.g. people love a specific product), you should set up one for each for more targeted promotion.
You can also set up a lookalike audience to target on Facebook based on your existing customers.
Most companies are still simply remarketing to overall website visitors, underutilizing the power of Facebook Ad platform. And, remember this, no matter how well you plan this, get a team ready during the campaign period to constantly test and fine tune the campaign targeting and messaging for better results.
Facebook ads, paid search, and EDM are the top three channels you should consider investing your budget.
4. Integrate online and offline
Do not treat your e-commerce and offline campaigns separately; integrating online and offline will deliver better results, including driving online traffic to offline store visits, converting offline visits to Facebook fans and members so that you can reach them in the future online, provide personalized recommendations based on data aggregated from both online and offline visit and purchase behaviors, and etc.
5. Create urgency by dividing the campaign period
One critical element of effective promotions is to create urgency. “66 days” of GSS promotion does not do that. But, retailers can still do so by dividing the campaign to several periods. For instance, the first two weeks for category A products, the next two for category B products, …and the last two weeks for store-wide promotions.
The downside of this approach is, you need to release the promotion information early to a wide audience, which could be costly. So for SME retailers, it’s more workable if you have an existing database of customers and fans.
6. Get ready to combat e-commerce shopping cart abandonment
Six-month average shopping cart abandonment rate is 78% according to Listrak. Some have much higher abandonment rate; if you don’t know yours, implement the tracking asap. You don’t want to spend a huge amount of resources and budget ending up with 80% interested visitors dropping off the purchase funnel.
Trust and credibility
If a visitor doesn’t trust your brand, you can forget about making any profit from him, especially true for small retailers or newly established e-commerce companies. Some tips you can quickly implement that I found very helpful.
Use recognizable logos of cooperating banks, anti-virus software, and digital encryption companies (like the image below); do link to corresponding pages if available:
Choose a more credible SSL Certificates provider such as DigiCert (I use them; a bit more expensive than some options in the market) and Verisign. I recommend you useExtended Validation (EV) if you don’t have an established brand.
EV requires businesses to go through a rigorous validation process to prove identity, making it the highest degree of authentication available. EV-secured sites are given a green branded address bar, which is one of the most highly recognizable trust indicators on the web:
Make the checkout process fast and furious
Some websites include many steps prolonging the checkout process, which increases the abandonment rate. Include as few steps as possible, especially for new users who never transact on your e-commerce site yet. And, use a progress bar to provide customers a clear indication of their status in the purchase process:
75% people want this. So, do implement it if you don’t have one. And, try not to make login a required step at the beginning; you can use browser cookies to “remember” customers’ carts.
Offer multiple payment methods
For Singapore market, you can consider accepting payments by Apple Pay, PayPal, SmoovPay, Stripe, Dash, eNETS. For China, Alipay and WeChat Pay are top options. Try Alipay if you have limited resources; or, implement WeChat Pay first for offline retail payment.
You don’t necessarily need to include all available payment options. Conduct your research of the popular payment options for the target markets.
Other tactics I found very helpful in the past include:
- Offer 100% refund within xx days
- Offer free shipping or be transparent about it upfront
- Identify the problem in the conversion funnel using a web analytics such as Google Analytics
- Optimize your website for optimal loading speed
- Use remarketing ads on Facebook and Google AdWords to reach users with incomplete purchase
7. Strategize beyond the campaign success
First of all, you should think twice before you do something for the success of upcoming campaigns with the sacrifice of long-term business success. For instance, some retailers sell low-quality products with heavy promotions which look like regular high-quality ones.
And, you should plan your campaign so that your business can benefit in the long term such as raising brand awareness, increasing the size of the online community, growing CRM database, testing new acquisition channels, and etc.