Results tagged “Adobe Search&Promote”

Think Targeted Merchandising as You Head into Holiday Selling Mode

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average shopper plans to do 36% of his or her holiday shopping online this year – up 33% from last year! What are you doing to ensure that these purchase-minded shoppers are going to have the most relevant and efficient experience possible on your website and complete their business with you rather than your competitor? We’re now well into our second decade of selling and buying products online, it’s time that digital shopping experiences delivered more – both for the shopper and the retailer. It’s time for informed, intelligent targeted merchandizing.

Merchandising is a well-established, even fundamental aspect of retail marketing. It comprises the many activities surrounding the efforts to accelerate a potential buyer through the purchase funnel to the point where money is exchanged. In a recent white paper written by Sue Aldrich of the Patricia Seybold Group entitled “Success with Best Practices for Targeted Merchandising”, Sue sums it up by saying, “Merchandising is the practice of maximizing sales by leveraging product design, packaging, pricing, display, and most importantly, selection.” Corporations spend tremendous amounts of money and time working to put the right products, information or incentives in the right place at the right time to inspire a purchase – whether it be a large-ticket item or a spontaneous addition to a buyer’s shopping cart.

Although a fair amount of science has emerged from the collective experience of merchandisers, in the offline world, there is always an unavoidable element of inefficiency involved when merchandising strategies are deployed. Because few specifics are known about a customer, a merchandiser needs to cast a pretty wide net in hopes of attracting potential buyers who are prepared or interested in the products or offers presented them.

Targeted merchandising is a form of personalization – the creation of a unique sequence of relevant digital experiences, targeted to an individual or like-minded group of people to inspire them to progress towards a purchase or some similar success event. But whereas we think of personalization as being of primary benefit to the visitor or shopper, turn the tables and think of targeted merchandising as delivering personalized experiences in a way that not only satisfies customer goals, but optimizes the experience for the merchant as well.

In the digital world, the details and data available to a merchandiser open up several opportunities to remove or minimize the inefficiencies of merchandising to a largely generic audience. The data that an online retailer has access to from a digital analytics product such as Adobe SiteCatalyst or a multi-channel analytics product like Adobe Insight, can infuse online merchandising efforts with loads of intelligence regarding online customers’ and prospects’ interests and intentions.

Combining this intelligence with products like Adobe Test&Target, Adobe Recommendations, Adobe Scene7 and Adobe Search&Promote, merchandisers are now capable of delivering targeted content, messaging, cross-sells and offers to the anonymous, yet highly predictive profiles that analytics data provides. Targeted merchandising is all about leveraging these universal profiles – that signal implied and expressed interests and intentions – to present customers with timely and relevant content and offers. For example, with the latest release of Adobe Recommendations, merchandisers can arrange that a shopper who is viewing a specific brand of shoes will see targeted product recommendations for only shoes from that same brand. The product will even help you determine where on the page those recommendations perform the best.

So as shoppers start hitting your site in these crucial weeks to come, think “targeted merchandizing” and remember these three simple things:

  • Don’t assume that what works for one shopper works for all
  • Let your metrics guide the relevance (and flexibility) of your merchandising
  • And, most importantly…pay attention to shopper intent and deliver personalized digital experiences that meet your merchandising objectives.

For an excellent overview of targeted merchandizing best practices, click here to download a copy of Sue Aldrich’s paper, “Success with Best Practices for Targeted Merchandising”.

 

Delivering Relevant Site Search Experiences Just Got Easier

Whether you’re an online retailer, a bank or news site, there’s a good chance that one of the very first things your site visitors do when they land on your site is search for something. In fact, we know that search remains the primary means of navigation for most visitors, and we also know that bad search experiences are still the one of the main reasons visitors (aka potential customers) abandon early in their journey. And think about mobile experiences: smart phone users are apt to use search even more, so delivering experiences that get users closer TO their desired outcomes is especially important.

So what’s changed in site search? Well, a lot. And today, Adobe Search&Promote, powered by Omniture, proves it. Adobe Search&Promote is the first enterprise-class SaaS site search application built for marketers who want to ensure their visitors have optimal search experiences — efficient and relevant ones that shorten the path to achieving their goals, whether they’re looking to equip their kids for the coming ski season, get a car insurance quote, rent a car or obtain a instructional video on how to make a roux. That’s really what it’s all about isn’t? Every visitor has a goal and it’s your job to help them — to understand his or her intent and act on it.

But what about your goals? Certainly you have key business requirements (KBRs) and corresponding KPIs. You measure what’s important to your business, so why not harness everything that you know as a result of your disciplined measurement and analysis to influence what you deliver to site visitors. Adobe Search&Promote represents the state-of-the-art in metrics-driven relevance. Today’s search engines today provide pretty darn good natural relevance, no argument, but leaving your conversions in the hands of, well, math — at least entirely — may be a mistake. Today’s business sites should be determining relevance at least partially based on their KPIs or metrics. Number or orders, conversion rates, revenues or even product views — data our customers capture through Adobe SiteCatalyst — is a great indication of what might drive more business. Let’s face it, past behavior is a great indicator of future behavior. Why not put this knowledge to work? We’re seeing amazing results with customers using Adobe Search&Promote to automate relevance tuning by leveraging their metrics: one retailer reported a 100% increase in conversions from search when they used order data to rank search results (boy, people really do tend to buy this set of skis more often THAN alternatives when they search for ‘junior racing skis’…). I’m going to be writing a lot more on this topic over the next few weeks, and will be exploring the impact, for example, of social media metrics.

While developing Adobe Search&Promote we consulted companies in a variety of industries, but what we heard most often was: “create a marketing application — make it easy for our lines of business to point their customers in the right direction, and easily promote — or merchandise — their products and content”. We took this request to heart. Adobe Search&Promote breaks the mold, allowing business users to build, simulate and test search-driven experiences like no other product on the market can. Early adopters and industry analysts have commented on how easy it is to work within the Adobe Search&Promote marketing interface — and that it enables “unfettered experimentation” that turn site search scenarios into marketing opportunities.

Did I mention Adobe Search&Promote is a SaaS application? Okay I did, but why SaaS? The marketer wants to focus on delivering continual innovation when it comes to customer experiences, rather than worry about whether the site is on the latest version of the software. The merchandiser wants to watch the sales roll in during the Holidays, rather than worry about whether search queries will get fast responses when traffic peaks. And customers expect that they will always have access to the latest products and information when they go searching for it. Your time is better spent focusing on driving the top and bottom lines, and thinking about the next strategic initiatives. As the second-largest SaaS company in the world, processing over a trillion transactions per quarter, Adobe understands how to deliver mission-critical applications.

Adobe Search&Promote represents a new way of delivering rich, personalized site search experiences to your customers and allows you to focus on your competency (while allowing us to focus on ours).

Check out Adobe Search&Promote on our website and be sure to download IDC’s new white paper Next Generation Site Search: Redefining Relevance for a Personalized Era.

I welcome your comments and suggestions for other site search topics — watch for new posts in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

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