The Retail Rite of Spring

2/28/2011 10:31:00 AM


While spring does not officially start for a few weeks, much of North America is breathing a deep sigh of relief and delight as the gray remnants of the Snowpocalypse begin to melt away. The bravest flowers appear, and the outdoors become a friend again (rather than a frosty, car-freezing, driveway-blocking enemy). And, to say it in numbers rather than wry imagery, March is when web searches for “springtime” spike, according to Google Insights for Search:

The thawing of spring transforms not only city streets--it also means abundant opportunity for retailers. Across industries--apparel, home goods, sporting goods, and more--sellers experience seasonal uplifit as temperatures rise. The particularly severe winter (following the bite of recession), provides retailers a unique opportunity to address pent-up spring-related consumer needs and yearnings.

That well-worn, heavy coat begins to feel a little too warm; those thick wool turtlenecks bought at Black Friday sales last year start to scratch. Consumers’ attentions turn to airy linen shirts, light dresses, and scarves as decoration--rather than defense against frostbite. Months of cabin fever mitigated only by streaming video subscriptions give way to the sudden urge to venture outside and soak in some much-needed Vitamin D.

New Year’s resolutions to exercise gain new life with sidewalks filled with sunlight instead of ice. Families scour group buying deals for camping excursions and outdoor dining experiences. Couples begin to think about weddings and make local, weekend vacation plans. The garden, no longer a permafrost wasteland, beckons the family green thumb. The lake, once again liquid, reminds the family anglers that they need to buy new fishing equipment for the season.

As cities defrost and consumers move in different purchasing directions, brick-and-mortar retailers know the decades-old, familiar dance of spring clothing sales, moving lawn furniture outside stores, and restocking baseball and soccer inventories. For retailers with an online advertising presence, the rite of spring selling entails a series of seasonal actions as well:

  • Tweaking keyword lists to include the influx of spring-related searches
  • Infusing fresh ad creatives--for both Search and Display campaigns--with sunny, warm-weather themes
  • Building out new campaigns and ad groups to reflect any new inventory
  • Considering and acting on any spring seasonality and holidays that affect your business. A few big ones for the US:
    • Spring break
    • Earth Day
    • Mother’s Day
    • The end of the spring semester
    • Memorial Day
    • Easter and Passover holidays
  • Taking some time to make sure that your website content and any social media campaigns you have are aligned with your new spring creatives posted through Google AdWords
  • And, because summer follow spring, it also is the time to start strategizing around summer sales and summer seasonality.

Happy springtime, everyone, from all of us on the Google Retail team!

Posted by Paul Nauert, The Google Retail Team


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