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The 2016 Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit in Dallas, Texas, at the end of September provided online retailers from around the globe the opportunity to network, share ideas, and really dig into the important issues surrounding the quickly growing world of e-commerce.

From awards to lectures, we have a few key insights from the summit to consider for the upcoming holiday season and the following year:

1. Refresh Your Strategy for Organic Search

If your business isn’t producing content with SEO in mind, you have some catching up to do. Fortunately, Visiture CEO Ronald Dod had some great advice for promoting and creating SEO content.

Twitter was abuzz after his lecture, which included the following advice for content creation and promotion strategies:

  • Include calls-to-action.
    The higher your click-through-rate, the higher your search rank will be. Encourage people to take action.
  • Optimize for usability factors.
    This includes bounce rate and time on page. The focus is providing the best possible user experience.
  • Interlink your content to pass authority.
    Backlinks have a powerful impact on search rank, so use your content to support your other content.
  • Promote your content.
    Don’t just write it and post it. Actively share it on as many channels as possible to give it a wider audience.

Consumer behavior – not company behavior – drives search rank today. You can read more on the topic in this PDF of Dod’s lecture.

2. Use Technology to Connect with New Opportunities

RangeMe took home the award of the annual Digital Commerce Startup of the Year at the Shop.Org summit this year. The product discovery platform stood out of the competition by helping buyers source new products for their stores and suppliers to find new markets for their products.

The platform allows buyers to scroll through options, find matches, and even receive automatic alerts when a product is added that meets their selection criteria. It also facilitates conversations between the buyer and the supplier.

RangeMe is already being used by retailers such as Target, Jet, and Winn Dixie. If you manufacture products and are looking to expand into new markets, it’s an innovative solution to consider.

3. Focus on the Customer Journey

Wednesday’s breakout sessions were all about the customer’s journey and how your business can make that journey memorable.

Steven Tristan Young, VP of Growth for Grubhub, enforced the idea that providing an emotional experience through video not only helps to drive transparency and authenticity, but also encourages customers to become ambassadors.

In an era of constantly changing markets and customers, you may have to expand your strategies further and put your brand on different platforms to reach and interact with your customers.

Before implementing any strategies, it is important to know your customers and know their journey with your business and the market. You can learn more about this discovery process in Allen Kempson’s presentation, “Customer Journey Mapping for Retail.”

4. Plan for the Holidays Earlier Than Ever

What does the technology company Magnetic and your next-door neighbor have in common? They’re way ahead of you on holiday decorating.

At the Shop.org summit, Magnetic decked out their booth in holiday décor as a great reminder that, if you haven’t started to plan for holiday shopping season, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Consider the stats that Magnetic shared throughout the weekend: 24% of shoppers start looking for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals a month before they happen. That’s almost 1 in 4 customers that you can reach before anyone else – if you plan ahead.

Magnetic’s stats also gave good insights on the digital avenues to take for reaching customers: 70% of shoppers found deals through emails, 64% through online searches, and 56% through online ads. Consider these numbers when implementing your marketing strategies before the holiday shopping season.

You can learn more about the 2016 Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit on their website.