New ways to connect with the digital customer
Digital innovations are shaping the future of retail and disrupting traditional ways of doing things. Today’s tech savvy customers are checking their email on their mobile on their way to work and looking for the latest trends on Instagram. During the day they intermittently engage with their favourite brands via social media, then when they get home, they’re browsing sites while watching TV, probably checking a few competitors too to see where they can get the best price before finally making a purchase.
In this (always on) digital age, how do you ensure you are right there where your customers are, when they are there?
When considering Search, there are a number of new ways retailers should be connecting with their digital customer:
Create demand-driven SEO strategies
To be demand-driven requires you to understand what customers are searching for and the language they are using. As shoppers, we are getting more sophisticated at searching and using more specific language e.g. entering ‘black wedge ankle boots’ instead of just ‘boots’. These phrases or long-tail terms make up around 75% of search terms and with all the leaders of the pack fighting over the top 25% of keywords, can deliver pure gold.
However, as a large online retailer, this means optimising your site for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of keywords, not just the top hundred or so. To do this properly involves:
Continually analysing data to spot opportunities such as the latest trend
- Defining recommendations that improve the customer experience
- Optimising these products to improve relevancy so they are given more prominence in categories
Social and SEO are now intertwined. Google favours websites that offer original, relevant content and lots of it. Its algorithms are getting much better at recognising natural language that isn’t written for search engines and it rewards websites accordingly. Our recent analysis of ASOS’ website showed that they have huge volumes of content and create thematic depths – one of the main reasons they dominate the fashion industry.
Your customers are talking online and you need to be too. If you don’t have the ability to create content, either:
- Engage a digital agency to develop content for you.
- Use your own resources or hire experienced bloggers or editors to start creating this content in-house.
Organising events can provide a great way to get brand exposure, social mentions, positive reviews as well as earn plenty of links. IF you have a bricks and mortar stores then it’s also an opportunity to increase foot traffic and sales.
‘Outreach’ is gaining popularity within SEO circle, so before you start planning your event, bear in mind that there are a tonne of events out that and bloggers in particular get invited to events all the time. Make sure you have a hook that will interest your target audience and be selective with who you invite.
I’ll be discussing this topic in more detail at 11:30am on Thursday 18th September at the Retail Week Tech & Ecomm Summit, where I’ll be joined by Gareth Williams, CEO at Sofa.com and Nick Andrews, SEO Manager at Debenhams, for a panel discussion.