Success relies on retailers understanding their customers’ journeys, especially for their high-value customers, and then building their websites to address those needs.

The e-commerce world is evolving. Every year, more consumers go online to shop. At the same time, advancements in e-commerce and mobile commerce technologies are offering unique opportunities for merchants to reach their customers and boost sales.

For instance, 22% of all mobile searches were voice activated on mobile phones during the 2017 holiday shopping season compared to 12% in 2016, according to data gathered by NetElixir, a provider of search engine marketing technology for online retailers. “That was quite a shift. Given the combination of mobile and voice, we also saw the ‘near me’ searches increase more than 100% as well,” says Udayan Bose, founder and CEO of NetElixir. “We expect these types of searches to go up by about 50% in the upcoming holiday shopping season.”

Udayan Bose

Udayan Bose, founder and CEO, NetElixir

It’s important that retailers stay on top of these types of trends and adjust their businesses to address them as quickly as possible—especially in an Amazon-dominated e-commerce environment, Bose says.

Time to thrive

“It’s time retailers start thinking about strategies where they not only survive in an Amazon world, but thrive in it as well,” he says. “And they can do that by positioning themselves to identify and then respond quickly to important trends such as voice-activated and ‘near me’ searches.”

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Success relies on retailers understanding their customers’ journeys, especially for their high-value customers, and then building their websites to address those needs. “That means moving out of keyword-focused search marketing and into context- and conversation-driven marketing,” he says.

Bose recommends retailers work with a solution provider that has tools to help them better understand their customers’ purchase paths, particularly their high-value customers, because they offer the highest return on marketing-dollar investment. “In many cases, 10% of all customers account for 90% of e-commerce revenue, so prioritizing the needs of those customers can be very beneficial to the business,” he says.

Tools, such as NetElixir’s LXRInsights, allow retailers to reverse-engineer a high-value customer’s path to purchase. Using the tool, a retailer can identify a high-value customer and track the different touch points to purchase, such as any channels she used before landing on the retailer’s site; how much time she spent on the retailer’s site; how many pages she visited on the site; and how many minutes, hours or days it took her to complete her purchase.

High-value purchasers

“We are able to understand the different touch points of a high-value purchaser through strong customer journey analytics software, like LXRInsights, which then converts this into various high-value customer personas,” Bose says. “Once we identify these high-value customers, we can tailor the search marketing programs we’re running based on exclusively targeting these specific customer personas.”

Most importantly, Bose says with these insights, retailers can more easily adapt to e-commerce search trends—such as the uptick in voice-activated and “near me” searches—and quickly update their e-commerce sites to accommodate them. Making those types of changes rapidly can be especially important during the busy holiday season when sales opportunities are highest.

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“The upcoming holiday shopping season is going to be bigger than the one before it, and Amazon will likely account for more than 40% of all sales during that time,” Bose says. “To be successful and compete against Amazon, retailers must gain deeper understanding of their customer’s journey and then engage in targeted and responsible marketing by getting the right message in front of the right customers at the right time.”

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