Now that the frenzy of the holiday shopping season is winding down, we hope you’re able to take some time to relax, enjoy time with family and friends and look forward to the promising new year ahead.
But after that short break, you’ve got work to do.
2016 is sure to be another year filled with lots of e-commerce innovation from the industry’s major players and stiff competition from other retailers and brands. You’ll need more proven strategies. You’ll need more channels. You’ll need to optimize for more devices. Basically, you’ll need more of everything.
To help with your 2016 brainstorming, we’ve broken down a few strategies that you’ll definitely need more of in the months ahead:
1. More of Google’s Shopping campaigns
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continued their steady surge in popularity in 2015, and 2016 looks to be no different. Shopping campaigns give you more granular management of your ads, plus strategic reporting tools. You can keep a close watch on your competitors, as well as estimate results before you bid.
Why are all these enhancements worth mastering? Paid search channels are a huge player in today’s marketing space. PLAs saw a year-over-year jump of almost 50% during the 2014 holiday season. And Adobe Digital Index predicts PLAs will constitute 30% of paid clicks in the fourth quarter of 2015.
With their images and clearly marked prices, PLAs appeal to today’s visually driven online shoppers. And because they power Google Shopping, Google’s comparison shopping engine, PLAs attract consumers who know exactly what they’re looking for and are ready to buy
2. More marketplaces
The rise of e-commerce has quickly dissolved international borders, as the marketplaces become giant, global shopping malls for anyone with an internet connection. The world’s two biggest marketplace players, Amazon and Alibaba, continued to grow at an astounding pace, while new challengers emerged as always.
If you already sell on Amazon and eBay, take advantage of these marketplaces’ global selling integrations. Beyond these big two, it’s worth looking into other, perhaps lesser-known, marketplaces that can also serve as relatively easy entry points to international markets. MercadoLivre in Brazil, Trade Me in New Zealand, Tesco in the UK and Zalando in Germany are marketplaces we recommend exploring in 2016.
When starting out, we recommend testing some of your best-selling products — or ones that would appeal to that region’s audience. Many international shoppers crave authentic Western products, so there’s a good chance your cross-border venture will be welcomed with open minds and open wallets.
3. More mobile
Mobile has made our end-of-year (and beginning-of-year) lists for several years running. And it’s not for lack of creativity: Mobile just keeps on growing — especially in the digital marketing space. Gartner estimates that global mobile advertising spending will reach $41.9 billion by 2017 — finally surpassing radio advertising for the first time. A few developments to keep your eye on:
Google: You can still manage your mobile ad bids through Google Enhanced Campaigns, but to help you keep all your mobile bidding straight, check out our Mobile Bid Optimizer, which will automatically separate mobile bids for you.
Purchases on Google: In 2015, Google unveiled the new program you may have heard about that allows shoppers to purchase directly from PLAs on their mobile devices with only a couple of clicks. While the program was only available to a select group of retailers at the outset, keep watching in 2016 for when it might become available for your products.
Emerging Social Channels: With the rise of mobile, we’re now actually seeing retail channels created with mobile (and social media) in mind. Emerging social media platforms like Houzz, Wanelo and Polyvore are mobile friendly, cater to the modern consumer and are good bets for your budget in 2016.
The next 12 months will no doubt see a lot of continued growth and change in the world of e-commerce. For your business to thrive, you’ll need core strategies that will help you grow alongside the industry.
We wish you the best of luck and continued success in the new year. For more advice on how to make sure 2016 is your best year yet, download our tip sheet “6 Budget Must-Haves for 2016.”