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With the holiday season around the corner, there's plenty to be mindful of. You may know exactly what to prepare for... or you may not. Regardless, we have some insight for you. Below is a cheat sheet of the most important ecommerce details to consider when heading into Q4 of 2018. 

Each section links off to a full article that goes into further depth. Whether you're an expert or a novice seller, you'll want to make sure you're not forgetting anything during the most important shopping season of the year.

Titles

Keywords in Product Titles

  • Consider product features that are most important to your audience; utilize keywords that could potentially sway a shopper's purchasing decision (brand, product type, size, color, occasion, etc.).
  • Be sure to use as many characters as possible to increase your chances of coming up in a user's search.
  • A/B testing is your friend. Test out multiple title formulas to see what works best.

Optimized Title Templates: Google Shopping & Bing

  • Keyword order does matter. Google and Bing place more weight on keywords in the beginning of the title.
  • If your product has a feature that is a selling point for your customers, don't be afraid to highlight it in your title.

Optimized Title Templates: Amazon, Walmart and eBay

  • Not all titles should follow the same format.
  • Title format depends on product category and type.
  • Manually testing keywords is time-consuming. Using a third party data feed solution like GoDataFeed lets you easily manipulate and test keywords.

Descriptions

Google Shopping Description Optimization

  • You can include up to 5,000 characters in a description field, but Google recommends listing the most important keywords in the first 160-500 characters.
  • Furthermore, we recommend getting your top keywords in the first 145-180 characters so that users don't have to expand your descriptions to see them.
  • The most click-worthy keywords are related to: product type, brand, size, pattern, texture, design, material, intended age range, special features, technical specifications, and product usage.

Amazon Description Optimization

  • Descriptions should be written in complete sentences that are easy for customers to read and understand.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • There is some overlap with the content used for descriptions and bullet points. Make sure you balance the information between the two fields and use the description to expand upon what you have listed out in the bullet points.

Amazon Bullet Point Optimization

  • Bullet points allow you to highlight key product features, benefits, and other important pieces of information you want potential customers to know.
  • They should be short, sweet, and to the point. Ancillary details should be moved to the description field.

Product Images

Google Shopping Product Images

  • Consumers consistently make purchasing decisions based on images. It's crucial that your listings contain high quality images.
  • If an image is too small or too big, you'll receive an error on your Google Merchant Center account and your listing will not go live.
  • Google won't accept images with added promotional text and/or other non-product elements.

Amazon Product Images

  • If you're not brand-registered and are selling the same product as other sellers, your image may not be the one chosen for the listing.
  • Use a white background and highlight the product.
  • High quality images with zoom potential are key.

Facebook Product Images

  • Facebook's image requirements are less strict than Google and Amazon, but you'll still want to follow best practices.
  • FaceBook's carousel ad feature allows you to display up to 10 images and/or videos per ad, each with their own link.
  • With split testing you can create multiple ad sets using a different variable for each set. Test them against each other to see what works best.

Bidding

Google Shopping Bidding

  • Every company needs a custom bidding strategy. How your company bids will make all the difference when it comes to Google Shopping.
  • There are many ways go about planning a custom bidding strategy, but there's no way to go about it without testing your bids extensively.
  • The best strategies are fine-tuned over time.

Google Shopping Bidding: Product Groups

  • Using a single ad group and a one-size-fits-all bid structure for your entire inventory is a recipe for disaster.
  • Subdividing ad groups with product groups is essential. You can (and should) do so based on pricing, profit margin, brands and other custom parameters.
  • Campaigns don't take off effortlessly and immediately. They need solid strategies behind them and time to gain traction.

Amazon: Winning the Buy Box

  • Amazon's Buy Box is the featured section on the product detail page where customers can click-to-add directly into their shopping carts.
  • FBA Sellers are eligible to win the Buy Box, but for everyone else, certain requirements need to be met.
  • Amazon rotates Buy Box winners, so don't give up -- even if your competition seems to be dominating.

Campaign Management

Google Shopping

  • Google Shopping campaign optimization is a key part of your selling strategy.
  • Successful campaign strategies are not build using a set-it-and-forget-it mindset.
  • You'll want to exclude certain search queries, boost/suppress individual products, daypart/geotarget, identify top brands, and optimize your product data.

Walmart Marketplace

  • Getting your products listed on Walmart is less complex than other marketplaces, but you will need to become an approved seller (Walmart is not open to all merchants).
  • To sell on Walmart's marketplace, your products will each need a universally accepted product identifier (GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN, or ISSN).
  • Walmart has 3 integration options: API integration, bulk upload, and via integration partner.

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

  • Retargeting is the most effective way to drive sales on Facebook.
  • Dynamic Product Ads show products shoppers considered but didn't buy.
  • DPAs are proven to be more effective than traditional, static Facebook ads for ecommerce stores.

Analytics

Campaign Monitoring

  • Even the most sophisticated Google Shopping campaign will fail if it's not monitored and optimized regularly.
  • The general health of your campaigns can usually be determined by looking at three KPIs: impressions, clicks, and conversions.
  • Understanding your campaign KPIs is the first (and most important) step in campaign optimization. Identify those that need your attention, organize them in order of importance, continually monitor your campaigns, and act accordingly.

Product Analytics & Channel Performance

  • Businesses that use advanced analytics and big data have profitability and productivity rates 5% to 6% higher than their peers.
  • You have to get the right kind of information, know how to analyze it, and be willing to act on what you learn.
  • Effective ways you can put analytics to work for you: A/B testing, decrease/stop spending on low-performing products, and increase spending on high-margin/top-performing products.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Website traffic is an important metric to understand and improve, but there are better metrics to actively track. You'll need to understand your ecommerce-specific KPIs.
  • Important KPIs to consider: conversion rate (CVR), cost-of-sale percentage (COS), estimated cost-of-sale (ECOS), average order value (AOV), return on ad spend (ROAS), average cost-per-click (aCPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), shopping cart abandonment (SCA), customer lifetime value (CLTV), and revenue.

Promotions

Google Shopping Promotions

  • Google Merchant Promotions gives you the ability to distribute promotions online through your Google Shopping ads.
  • Google accepts 3 types of promotions: discounts, free gifts, and shipping promotions.
  • Google promotions must: be redeemable at checkout/time of purchase, expire within 6 months, and follow Google's promotion policies and requirements.

Amazon Sponsored Products

  • One of the best options to boost your products, Amazon Sponsored Products puts your products right next to the heavy hitters.
  • Amazon decides which eligible sponsored products to feature based on bid, keywords, and likelihood to sell.
  • Ways to make it more likely that your product will be featured: write clean detailed titles, bid based on relevance, consider Amazon's automatic keywords, opt for quality over quantity, and budget tactically.

Amazon Spark

  • With Amazon Spark, users are encouraged to post their images, stories, and ideas about their favorite products. Others can comment on or "smile" posts (similar to "liking" on Facebook).
  • Spark posts promote a buying process much simpler than Instagram or Pinterest and all through a platform with built-in trust... users are much more likely to check out.
  • Simply posting your product images is unlikely to move many customers to purchase. You have to post content that's compelling.

 

Conclusion

When it comes to holiday sales, there's no such thing as too much preparation.  Your success is going to rely on solid product data, attention to detail, careful planning, active monitoring, and relevant optimization. The time to set yourself up for success is now.

Be sure to check out our Holiday Ready: 2018 Ecommerce Checklist where we provide a to-do list for all necessary holiday preparations. You also welcome you to reach out to us, we can probably do a lot more for you... if we already aren't doing so!