How to prepare your product feed and website for the French Winter Sales [Interview]

Technology6 min read

Attracting 80% of the French population twice a year, seasonal sales play a big role in the country’s consumer events. As the 2021 Winter Sales are coming soon in France, we asked Audrey Dudal, Product Marketing Manager at the eCommerce automation solution and feed management expert Lengow, to answer a few questions about how brands & retailers can optimize their product feed and website to make the most out of this sales event.

As a French e-commerce automation solution with over 10 years of experience in the industry, Lengow has taken part in many seasonal sales alongside their 1,600 partners. What are the common mistakes you have seen brands and retailers make when it comes to the French seasonal sales?

I don’t like to say ‘mistake’ because I think that every brand and retailer is trying to make their online business as successful as possible, all the more so this year when online presence is proving to be essential for growth. However, I think there are some key aspects to avoid; the first one being out of stock management. There’s nothing more disappointing for shoppers than having a product they want in their shopping cart, only to find out at the last minute that the purchase can’t be completed because the product is no longer in stock. The second thing to avoid is mismatched prices: If brands display a promotional price on a third party website, the product should be discounted at the same price on their e-commerce site and elsewhere. Lastly, missing product variations: To be well-listed in the search results, online brands need to impeccably manage the variations of their products so that shoppers have access to all the sizes and colors that are offered.

Brands should start thinking about seasonal sales at least two months in advance”

How can brands and retailers prepare their product catalog for the Winter Sales in France this year? Any special tips for those employing marketing levers like price comparison sites/search platforms such as Stylight?

Now [2 months prior to the Winter Sales – Ed.] is the key time for businesses to identify which items in their product catalog will be on special offer and at which price. Online brands should think about how they are going to integrate prices in their product sheets, since prices are sometimes stored in a different source than in their main catalog. Our clients can, for example, integrate additional sources directly with Lengow, allowing them to stay flexible and make price changes at the last minute. They can easily send this data to price comparison sites or other platforms that they wish to sell on.

Speaking of other platforms, do you have any special tips for those employing marketing levers like price comparison sites/search platforms such as Stylight?

If they haven’t already done so, they should fill in their titles and product descriptions, and make sure that their products catch shoppers’ eye, ensuring that shoppers purchase from their store and not from their competitors. They should also plan ahead: Some marketplaces or price comparison sites ask to receive all product data and promotions ahead of the sales.

Planning for your commercial operations, Lengow

How far in advance should brands prepare their website and product catalog to be ready for ‘les soldes’?

Brands should start thinking about seasonal sales at least two months in advance, that’s what we advise our customers. Moreover, this year, to accompany brands and retailers in the various deadlines at the end of the year (Black Friday, Christmas, Winter Sales, etc.) we have concocted a plan of action with the key stages to be prepared.

Brands and retailers tend to multiply their distribution channels to maximize their sales, especially during seasonal sales, which can sometimes lead to inventory issues. How can they avoid these issues?

During sales periods, brands must constantly monitor their stock levels and replenish their inventory. As I mentioned before: the worst case scenario for a brand is disappointing their buyers with out of stock products. A feed management platform like Lengow allows merchants to centralize their stocks, giving them a global view on stock levels. Moreover, brands and retailers can set up automatic rules, allowing them to unpublish products with insufficient stock.

Competition is tough during sales periods! It’s essential to stand out from the crowd.”

Finally, if you had 3 sales-related website optimization tips to share with our partners, what would they be?

My first tip would be to have a curated product selection: a product catalog is the key to selecting future sale products. Brands should study their statistics to determine which products to promote based on their performance in terms of sales volume over the last few months. They can retrieve data from their site via Google Analytics to link to their product catalog for the sales. For example, identifying unsold products and lowering their prices, or boosting their bestsellers’ visibility.

My second tip would be about ergonomics: Now is the time to think about highlighting your sale items in your ecommerce site’s back office, to prepare ahead of the sales. For example, you can create a specific tab to group products with special offers. This will allow you to communicate about these products on your site and set up retargeting campaigns on Google, etc.

Finally, my last tip would be to offer exclusive services. You already know it—competition is tough during sales periods! It’s essential to stand out from the crowd. You can do this by providing your customers a way to save their shopping basket ahead of D-day. This way, consumers can easily make their purchases and avoid any potential inconveniences such as products being out of stock. For your most loyal customers, don’t hesitate to offer them exclusive advantages such as an invitation to pre-sales or private sales. In addition, a free return service is a real plus and encourages consumers to place orders when they’re hesitating.

written by:

Soline Demenois

Lead Partner Marketing Manager

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