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Black Friday preparation: How to conduct market research for your e-commerce site

Black Friday preparation: How to conduct market research for your e-commerce site

With Black Friday on the horizon and Christmas on the way, it's the optimal time for ecommerce sellers to conduct market research. Consider the following tips to strategize your marketing efforts this season.

Find the right keywords

Keywords help shoppers find your shop online.

To ensure your target customers can find your products or services online, you'll need to find specific keywords to use in your ads, web pages and social media posts. The theory behind keywords is that if you use language similar to that of common search queries, your content is more likely to end up on the first page of search results.

Fortunately, recent updates to Google's algorithm make it easier for you to leverage keywords. This summer, Google integrated a technique called "neural matching," which helps the algorithm understand exactly what users are searching for. For example, if someone searches for "decorative ear plugs," Google understands that the user is looking for jewelry, not hearing protection.

If you're having trouble determining which keywords are best for your intended purposes, use Google Trends to compare two or more phrases. The tool will show you which is more popular, and you can even narrow your results based on geography.

Identify merchandise trends

As you decide which merchandise to stock for the holiday season, use established ecommerce websites to track trends. For example, Amazon lists which items are most wished for on its site. These are items that people have placed in their Amazon wish list.

Similarly, Etsy lists trending items on its site. These are products that shoppers have purchased frequently or viewed often. At a glance, this data shows you what type of items people want for gifts. This can be especially helpful for determining which styles of clothing to carry this season.

Conduct consumer surveys

If you already have a following on social media or an established mailing list, you can leverage this resource to gain deeper insights into consumer desires. A number of free online tools allow you to create and distribute custom surveys. Consider asking respondents about their holiday shopping plans, as well as how they intend to shop this year. Use a combination of open-ended and multiple-choice questions to get a comprehensive picture of consumer opinions.

To encourage engagement with your surveys and increase the number of responses, consider offering some kind of reward for participation. A discount code, coupon or gift card are all good examples.

Track your progress

As you conduct research and make adjustments to your marketing strategy, take notes and track key performance indicators. Over time, you can monitor the data to determine which strategies provide the most benefit to your brand. This will optimize your ability to leverage market insights and deliver content that speaks to your target audience.

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