Webinar: Strategizing eCommerce for BFCM with HawkSearch and Americaneagle.com
The holiday season is here (cue the reindeer and endless songs about snow). This crescendo for eCommerce businesses has always brought a bounty of both opportunities and challenges. HawkSearch, in collaboration with Americaneagle.com, recently hosted an enlightening webinar, led by industry experts, to help businesses navigate this pivotal period.
Here's our take:
To kick off this conversation, we were introduced to Jonathan Meyer, a Senior Solutions Engineer at Bridgeline with a robust 10-year association with HawkSearch. Jeremy LaDuque, integral to Bridgeline since 2013, oversees key partnerships, especially with Americaneagle.com. Rounding out the introductions was Brendan Cameron, Director of Strategy at the Chicago based Americaneagle.com. His 13-year narrative provided a backdrop to the evolving face of eCommerce.
Jeremy deftly structured the conversation around three pillars:
- Customer Experience: An emphasis on creating seamless bridges between consumers and products, refining the entire journey.
- Traffic: An analytical look into leveraging increased digital footfall.
- Personalization and Recommendations: Highlighting the indispensable role of AI and machine learning in sculpting individualized shopping experiences.
A Look at the Numbers for BFCM
Amidst these pillars, Jeremy shed light on global eCommerce trends. As digital shopping continues its ascent, it's not just about joining the bandwagon, but strategically positioning one's business to reap maximum benefits. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) stand out, the essence is to not sideline days like Thanksgiving and its eve. Jeremy also touched upon the potency of communication channels, emphasizing the stellar conversion potential of SMS, mobile, and email.
In terms of global shifts, Jeremy's insights offered a revelation. The U.S., despite its dominance, might witness a dip in eCommerce traffic between 2022 and 2023. In contrast, Europe, especially countries like Germany, the UK, and Spain, is gearing up as the next eCommerce frontier. It was a clarion call for businesses to think and act globally.
We ventured deeper as Brendan Cameron laid out the importance of the preparatory phase preceding BFCM. By late November, SEO and Ad strategies are generally in full swing. Tweaking them can yield some results, but the gold lies in executing proactive campaigns. The traditional "spray and pray" approach to email marketing has lost its sheen. Instead, the future is in targeted, segment-specific campaigns. This isn't merely theory; Cameron gave practical examples, illustrating the prowess of such personalized efforts.
“Phoning” it in with Mobile Specific Design
In today's mobile-first world, it's no surprise that a significant chunk of emails are accessed via smartphones. Thus, ensuring mobile-responsive email designs is not just an add-on but a necessity. Discussing formats, the Cameron’s mention of the "inverted pyramid" and hybrid layouts showcased the evolution of email designs. Yet, amidst these technicalities, content remains king. A great example was shown from Mail Modo of the different layouts to best utilize a mobile format.
A standout segment was the focus on website performance. The detrimental impact of even a second's delay in page loading became crystal clear. Not just in lost sales, but eroding brand trust – this double whammy is something no business can afford. In a solution-oriented approach, the importance of application monitoring software was underscored by Cameron, suggesting dedicated monitoring during high-traffic periods.
Jonathan Meyer illuminated the importance of eCommerce personalization and championed two strategies:
- The art of tailoring emails based on user behavior
- The 'Wisdom of the Crowd Approach'
The latter strategy was particularly key as it emphasizes the power of collective user data. This strategy becomes invaluable for newcomers to a site, offering them an experience built on aggregated user preferences.
Meyer highlighted the perils of slow-loading results and proposed a solution—immediately showcase trending products and searches. He used the changing seasons as an analogy for product rankings, ensuring businesses stay relevant and timely.
Personalization was the recurring theme, with tools like HawkSearch providing businesses with the arsenal to sharpen their strategies. To read more about how HawkSearch uses personalization to connect customers to products quickly, check out the white paper Learn Today, Sell Tomorrow. By focusing on details like brand preferences or price sensitivity, businesses can ensure they aren't just part of the eCommerce wave, but they're riding its crest.