Party planning, by Twitter’s Benjamin Ampen

Twitter’s managing director, Benjamin Ampen examines using the festive season to reinforce client loyalty in e-commerce.

As the festive sales season approaches, several brands are prepping their e-commerce businesses to keep up with strong consumer demand forecasts. People are seeking to reconnect with their loved ones with celebrations that may compensate for those dampened by Covid-19 restrictions in 2020. Despite indications of accelerated spending throughout Q4, brands still face unique challenges in the wake of the pandemic. They need to consider digital and marketing strategies to engage with consumers during the festive season in order to create lasting connections.

The shift in retailer, supplier and shopper behaviour caused by the pandemic has notably led to increased competition, which will be evident during the last quarter of the year. Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation and led to a surge in e-commerce as companies scrambled to maintain customers. The corresponding increases in online traffic also provided an opportunity for brands to engage with audiences through digital marketing. Even after restrictions were lifted, consumers continue to see convenience as a priority when it comes to online shopping, thus reinforcing e-commerce and digital marketing activities as a priority for brands. As the festive season approaches, we have received clear signals that brands will increase their ongoing ad spend and push additional promotional campaigns online. This is starting early this year as brands are incentivising early shopping with attractive promotions to hedge against shipping delays that are exacerbated by pressured supply chains. An earlier sales season coupled with a more crowded digital marketing space means that brands need to define efficient media and marketing strategies.

Brands need to keep their marketing focused to stand out and keep costs efficient. By reaching out to an individual with a message that strikes a chord at the right time on the right platform, brands can attain both of these objectives. This is the perfect time for connecting with prospects and to create deeper connections with customers. Brands can tailor the online experience to better target consumers looking to buy gifts for friends and family. There is also a strong emotional correlation with the shopping experience during the festivities that can reinforce customer loyalty. It is especially important, therefore, to create a forum where brands and consumers can interact, such as leveraging social commerce to be distinct.

A recent Twitter Insight survey with audiences in Saudi Arabia found that 33 per cent of respondents already use Twitter as their first go-to place to research products, and 37 per cent use it to learn about sales promotions and offers. In light of this information, Twitter has developed several solutions to reach new audiences to drive conversations, loyalty and curious customers towards their products. With app installs and app re-engagement campaigns, existing users can preview, install or open apps directly from their timelines with Tweets that are optimised for the mobile marketplace. Retailers who rely on their app to drive conversations can now directly engage and rely on their app to drive conversions. Twitter’s Carousel features multiple images and videos in a single ad, allowing marketers to seamlessly transition through various products, highlight specific features or tell a brand story. Carousels are highly customisable so that marketers can drive the right actions for their audience.

Looking ahead with product innovation, in the context of social commerce, Twitter seeks to seamlessly blend advertising and discussions between brands and consumers by launching its new Shop Module, a dedicated space at the top of business’ profiles to showcase their products. People can select a product from a carousel to learn more and purchase seamlessly in an in-app browser. The Shop Module presents an opportunity to showcase product versions in a dedicated space above the fold, marking a space with high visibility and impact that targets the right person. This helps develop a brand’s official presence with dedicated pages linked to a Professional Profile to centralise interactions with users – and directs clear calls to action to shop in the most relevant place. The product is currently in the pilot phase in the USA.

During the festive sales season, this is a game-changer because it attracts highly engaged users with an innovative, high-impact ad placement to create a space where brands and users can easily interact. Twitter also offers several ad solutions to identify which profiles will perform the best and optimises targeting for the highest impact. An integrated strategy reinforces other e-commerce-oriented solutions, making it a powerhouse for brands looking to develop their e-commerce footprint.