2019 Ecommerce Game Plan for the Holidays

What is the Holiday Retail Playbook?

The Holiday Retail Playbook is a guide compiled by Google that presents highlights, trends, and learnings from past holiday seasons to prepare you and your team for Holiday 2019.


These learnings will give you a leg up on your competitors and allow you to anticipate online shopping trends and behaviors unique to the holiday season. Given that more than half of consumer’s shopping time was spent online, formulating an Ecommerce game plan early on is becoming more important than ever.

Here are the key takeaways from the guide and some of our own recommendations on how to properly prepare for this year's holiday season.

Takeaway #1: It’s never too early to start planning

70% of US smartphone users rely on Google before buying something new - how is your brand ensuring that these potential new customers are finding what they are looking for via all acquisition channels?

Searches for gifts for” and “gifts from start accelerating as early as the final week of October - do you have the relevant content on your site to engage these users? Do you have Holiday gift related content? How about Christmas shopping lists? If you don’t then you risk missing out on a key research phase.

Attribution shouldn’t be something that you count at the last minute either.

Taking your attribution model from a last touch model and approaching attribution from a multi-channel funnel (MCF) angle will allow you to have a more holistic understanding of the performance of your acquisition channels.

After all, users may be coming to your site via Organic or Paid way before they actually purchase, and that step should be taken into account when analyzing their conversion. Are you undermining the influence of your Social accounts just because that traffic doesn’t convert immediately?

Understanding all the factors that led to your users’ conversions can help you better inform future marketing strategies and give you a better grasp of each channel’s value.

Want to take conversion analysis one step further? If you have access to Store Visits in Google Analytics, it’s never too late to set it up so you can start to see the impact of online on offline sales.

Takeaway #2: Consumers are shopping on their phones

61% of purchases for the holidays in 2018 were made via mobile! If you don’t have mobile tracking properly in place, you could lose eyes on more than half of your holiday traffic.

To avoid this, we’d recommend being particularly thorough when checking your mobile tracking, ensuring that it is working on all parts of your site, as well as making sure you’re QA’ing across different mobile devices.

Tracking can differ not only across desktop vs. mobile, but may also fire very differently on an iPhone vs. an Android. Double-checking your implementation will help you to ensure that all traffic is being tracked properly.

Additionally, we recommend segmenting any holiday-specific analyses by device to better understand how users are interacting with your site on different devices. Given a large percentage of traffic is from mobile, you cannot do any type of analysis without segmenting data by desktop vs. mobile.

How do Hotjar heatmaps look on desktop vs. mobile? What’s engagement and conversion looking like across devices? By answering these questions, you'll be undoubtedly prepared to take on the season of joy.

Takeaway #3: Shoppers have questions - make sure your content answers them

81% of holiday shoppers who used Google were looking for brand and product information - where is your site lacking when it comes to providing this information?

You can start by figuring out what your users are searching for on your site but aren't finding. Enter Seer’s zero search results tracking. By implementing this tag - you'll be able to see what information users need that you might not have content for.

Zero search results are a gold mine of untapped user intent. This data can be used to ideate content opportunities for specific keywords - which will give you a roadmap for where you need to start filling gaps.

Takeaway #4: Carry out a UX evaluation to catch friction points before the holidays

We recommend performing a pre-holiday site analysis to catch any friction points and resolve them ahead of time. If users are falling out of the funnel due to confusion around promo code redemption for example, it’s best to find and solve this before the holiday season.

Google recommends “creating a positive experience for your users by using autofill forms, avoiding interstitials, and keeping prices and ‘Add to Cart’ buttons above the fold” -- how many of these features are you hitting on?

You could also use Hotjar to get a qualitative sense of how users are interacting with the site, and then use Optimize to A/B test potential UX solutions including some of the best practices from Google.

Interested in how our Analytics and Creative teams collaborated to drive a 168% increase in conversion rate through a data-driven design approach? 


Takeaway #5: Use remarketing audiences to push users down the funnel

Are your remarketing tags set up properly? If a user uses your internal search and views some products but ultimately doesn’t convert, can you retarget them?

Remarketing provides an easy way to reconnect with users who came to your site and didn’t convert. You can even personalize these ads through ad customizers, where you can create specialized ads for certain audiences to draw them back into the funnel.

Not only can you show these ads to users who have landed on your site before, but you can also create a similar audience list and serve these ads up to new users whose behaviors match this remarketing audience.

Combined with the multi-channel analysis, you and your team can accurately measure the impact of these remarketing efforts and use what you learn in year's to come. After all, it’s never too early to start planning!

Interested in how Seer can help you formulate a data-driven Holiday Game Plan to drive higher conversions and an optimal user experience? Contact us today!


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