Bloated from the nog and nursing a sore head, if we have good intentions for the new year, it seems that we do our level best to meet January in the worst possible state. But at least your store doesn’t have to suffer from festive excess, what with it being nonsentient and all (for the moment). So with a spirit of starting afresh and a restorative coffee in hand, let’s talk e-commerce SEO success for multi-brand retailers and how being first to announce and publish a new product lays the foundations for search engine dominance and lower ad spend throughout the year ahead.

Think Like a Publisher

The journey to dominate organic search results for a new product starts way back with a whizz-bang press release from your supplier. Usually posted 6-9 months before the product becomes available within your supply chain, a brand-issued press release offers a unique insight into what’s coming down the line, and a golden opportunity to get the jump on your competitors.

KEY ACTIONS

  • Rewrite the press release in your tone of voice and post it to your blog.
  • Request press access to the supplier’s media hub and download all of the high res images – the very same that industry blogs in your sector will be accessing. Choose a selection and add them to your post.
  • Build a product page for the product. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the price – just say it’s coming soon and take your best guess if you have to do so, or better yet, call it ‘Price TBC’. Don’t rely on your supplier to give you the details months down the line. Instead, determine the specs from the supplier’s press release and piece together the rest from your knowledge of similar products from the same supplier. (Top tip – why not create a new dedicated template for coming-soon products and use it to drive email subscribes? Once the product is released, 301 forward the URL to its product page for best practice SEO).
  • Link the product page to your new blog post; link the blog post to the product page.
  • Do the social media dance and publish the product and blog post to your networks of choice. Append something like ’Coming soon’ to the messaging and lead with the angle that this is just one of many items that you are first to market with etc.
  • Email the post to your customers alongside other similar lines in your store – in essence, curated product recommendations.

Create a dedicated page template for coming-soon products and use it to drive email subscribes and pre-launch excitement. Once the product is released, 301 forward the URL to its sister product page to preserve search position

Shoot the Sample

A few months down the track and the first hint of the availability of a sample product reaches your ears. As you’re now acting like a publisher, put in a request to the relevant person in your supply chain for some face time with the sample. If they’re hesitant (limited supply, the blogs are reviewing it) then gently remind them that you intend to place a sizeable pre-order. Just bear in mind that success comes through collaboration, not competition, so don’t get pushy!

With the sample in hand, it’s time to take photos. E-commerce product photography is low-hanging fruit, and you gotta harvest them plums. 99% of multi-brand retailers rely on supplier-issued images – big mistake! Whether you shoot in-house or use a talented 3rd party, exceptional product photography immediately elevates your store above pesky heel-snapping competitors.

Once you have the shots in the can, revisit the blog published months earlier and update the photography with your work.

End Clothing does a great job of pre-announcing products with its dedicated Launches area.
End Clothing does a great job of pre-announcing products with a dedicated Launches area.

Instagram Slam

Now’s the time for the second wave of social media. Use your new photos and post to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – the works. But place particular focus on the image-led networks where you can best show off your new shots.

In this social media blitz, the product isn’t just coming soon; it’s imminent. Perhaps try your hand at a competition? Whoever likes and tags a friend on the Instagram post (‘double tap + tag’), automatically enters the contest to win the product.

Learn

Take the opportunity afforded by having the product in front of you to learn more about it. Measure, note, critique – then impart your newly found knowledge through the item’s blog and product pages (which might now need updating with the actual price if available).

Ownership

Over a period of months, your store has established product-ownership and authenticity. And, in the coming months, you will be justly rewarded with high search engine positions leading to lower ad spend and ongoing ownership of the product story.

What if your competitors do this as well? Some will, most won’t. But if you can place your store at the intersection of blogging and retailing, you stand to reap the rewards of a strategy based on prescient action, not hope.

3 Steps to Press

01. Media savvy

Register for press access to download image assets from the media pages of your suppliers (direct with the brands themselves rather than your distributor). Use your blog URL as evidence of being a publisher if required.

02. Make the nice

Make contact with the brand’s press department and ask to be included on their email list to hear about future product releases, news and events.

03. Publish

Filter brand media communication into a new folder, or better yet, via an email alias, and establish a culture of publishing and promoting brand news on your blog. As a rich vein of SEO content and as a mark of authenticity to your customers it can’t be beaten.

Author Pete

Founder of Where Beagles Dare!, co-creator of the Magento app Inventosaur, and co-founder of retailer store Always Riding, Pete is at his happiest writing, helping brands tell stories, and consulting on e-commerce.

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