Everything You Missed From A Busy BF/CM Week

Exploring Early Reports From Last Weekend, A Few Search Myths, & The Latest On “Shipageddon.”

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Hoping everyone had a healthy and profitable BF/CM. Hang in there! 

This week, we’ll dive into the early reports from last weekend, explore a few search myths, and unpack the latest on Holiday “Shipageddon.” 

There is a TON to cover, so let’s go! 


🔎 Search

An interesting tidbit from Google’s office-hours hangout:

Google devalues landing pages that are excluded from your main navigation (no internal links).

Will Google Read All the Text From a Title That Is Too Long? – PageOptimizer Pro

Many SEOs seem to get worried if their titles are "too long". Too long means that the end of a title is cut off by an ellipse (....) when displayed in the SERPs. The concern is that Google won't consider any of the text that has been cut off.

According to MOZ, Google will display 50-60 characters in a title in a SERP.

When we did this test a couple of years ago, we found that Google will index a page based on the clipped - meaning not visible - text in the SERPs test.

We decided to give this test a re-run and see if any of the recent Google updates have influenced its result.

Will Google read all the text from the title that is too long or will it read just the visible part of the title?

Spoiler Alert: They still do. 

Google Adds Business Messaging Options in Maps and Search to Help Streamline Connection | Social Media Today

Once you turn messaging on from your Business Profile, you can start replying to customers on Google Maps from the business messages section in the “Updates” tab. And soon you'll also be able to see your messages right from Google Search (via the Customers menu on your Business Profile) and message customers directly from your computer.

🗣 Social

Facebook (FB) AI Mistakenly Bans Ads for Struggling Businesses - Bloomberg

Harrigan is one of millions of small business advertisers who have come to rely on Facebook Inc. because the coronavirus has shut down many traditional retail channels. The social media giant has provided new sales opportunities for these entrepreneurs, but also exposed them to the company’s misfiring content-moderation software, limited options for customer support and lack of transparency about how to fix problems.

News of Facebook’s terrible ad platform is finally going mainstream. 

Instagram Expands 'Guides' Content Display Option to All Users | Social Media Today

As you can see in the above sequence, users will now be able to add a new tab to their profiles, in addition to 'Posts', 'Mentions' and 'IGTV', which links through to the Guides option. The Guides tab will highlight collections of posts under dedicated topic tiles - which has a Pinterest-like feel to it.

It's sort of like longer-form Instagram, enabling users to display themed collections linked together with short text descriptions. Guides can also be shared via Stories, providing another way to promote your collections.

Help your customers put your products to work. 

⚖️ Legislation

U.S. states plan to sue Facebook next week, sources say

It is not known what the states plan to include in their complaint. One allegation often made against Facebook is that it has strategically sought to buy small potential rivals, often at a big premium. These include Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

📈 Reporting & Revenue

Retailers without 'Buy Now, Pay Later' will pay the price | Apparel Industry Comment | just-style

Young shoppers in particular are seduced by BNPL because it is convenient and instantly accessible. 61.9% of BNPL users aged 16- 24 have made purchases using the schemes, which they otherwise would not have made, the survey shows, so it is crucial that retailers not yet utilizing BNPL, such as Zara and Levi's, add these payment options as soon as possible to maximize spend, entice new customers, and better capture this demographic.

However, 66.4% of this cohort use BNPL because they expect to return some of their order, so apparel retailers must shield themselves from the costly threat of increased returns by helping consumers make more informed purchases in the first place. To do this, retailers should present products more accurately online, by leveraging a diverse array of models spanning different sizes, using videos to provide more well-rounded views, and investing in size recommendation tools, as Asos already has.

Stripe to Offer Banking Services in Deal With Goldman Sachs, Citigroup - WSJ

These products aren’t meant for consumers. Rather, they are designed for the merchants and vendors that do business with Stripe’s customers.

Among the early adopters of Stripe’s new banking services is Shopify Inc., which, starting early next year, will offer Shopify Balance accounts to many of the hundreds of thousands of merchants that use its software. Shopify Balance accounts will be held at Memphis, Tenn.-based Evolve Bancorp Inc., but Stripe is also partnering with Goldman in the U.S. and with Citigroup and Barclays PLC internationally to store and move customer funds.

🎄 Black Friday / Cyber Monday

Retailers hurt by coronavirus pandemic set sights on Black Friday | TheHill

Black Friday online sales are expected to reach $10 billion in a 39 percent increase from last year, and Cyber Monday is anticipated to get to $12.7 billion in sales — a 35 percent increase, according to Adobe Analytics, which examines 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

The estimate.

...And from RetailDive.com, the reality:

Online sales, meanwhile, hit a new record with $9 billion, up 21.6% over 2019, Adobe Analytics said.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Data: The Trends Shaping 2020

There’s a demand for alternative fulfillment options.

Curbside pickup and local delivery started as lifelines for retailers early in the pandemic and continued to play a pivotal role this BFCM season. Not only do consumers want to support local businesses and shop safely from the comfort of their homes, they also want to avoid shipping costs and delays.

This is a wonderful recap of trends from this BFCM. One specific item jumped out at me - alternative fulfillment options are likely here to stay. 

As this report unpacks, the average AOV of Shopify customers is $89.20 USD. However, the averages for curbside pickup and local delivery were $78.60 and $62.70, respectively. 

Retailers are not only having to shift to accommodate these new fulfillment options, but also find ways to carry upsell opportunities common within the walls of brick & mortar to the curb and to the doorstep. 

Bearaby, Shopify Among Brands Experimenting With ‘Anti-Black Friday’ Messaging This Year

To continue the brand’s mission of encouraging more mindful purchasing decisions among consumers, Bearaby will launch a Black Friday blanket that customers have to “sleep on” before checking out. You actually can’t buy the Black Friday blanket on Black Friday.

📦 Distribution

Can Shopify Compete With Amazon Without Becoming Amazon? - The New York Times

In addition to providing software, Shopify has been expanding its offerings on e-commerce’s “back end” — in logistics, shipping and fulfillment. Last year, it introduced Shopify Fulfillment Network, a direct competitor to Fulfillment by Amazon. Instead of building or taking over its own warehouses, it created a network of seven existing third-party logistics providers (known in the industry as 3PLs) and retrofitted their software and hardware to closely integrate it with the Shopify platform. For Shopify merchants, this has meant a much more unified offline-online experience. And for the 3PLs, it brings them business. “One 3PL owner said to me, seven out of 10 merchants who are walking through the door are on Shopify today,” says Thomas Epting, who is the director of Shopify Fulfillment Network. “Individually, no one of them is big enough for me to want to go after, but collectively, if you deliver them to me in this easy way to fulfill, then I want that business all day long.”

Best Buy tests limited SKUs on store floor to make space for fulfillment | Supply Chain Dive

Best Buy is testing new store formats at four locations in Minneapolis as a proof of concept for stores as fulfillment hubs. The remodels limit SKU assortment on the floor to the most popular items and reduce shoppable area nearly by half, allowing space for pickup and ship from store, CEO Corie Barry said on the retailer's Q3 earnings call Tuesday.

Warehouse workers face anxious holiday season at Amazon, Walmart - Business Insider

This employee and 1.2 million others working in warehouses across America are the invisible underclass as retailers head into the peak shopping season. Traditional images of holiday shopping are filled with frantic cashiers and bustling retail workers. But, in 2020, the success or failure of the season rests on warehouse employees more than ever before. 

As e-commerce booms, U.S. ports face traffic jams - Marketplace

E-commerce has been booming through the pandemic, and this will be an especially big week for online shopping, with Black Friday coming up. Of course, more e-commerce means more imports. And more imports have led to many of the country’s big ports being backed up, with container ships idling offshore as they wait to come into port to be unloaded.

Those delays have ripple effects. LaBar said once containers are emptied, many of them end up sitting around on trucks. That means truck chassis used to haul the containers are in short supply.

Overall, he said, the system has slowed to a crawl.

🔒 Security

Amid ID gridlock, Google indicates no hard deadline for Chrome cookie changes | The Drum

When Google announced its plans to shut out third-party cookies in its popular Chrome browser by 2022, it kicked into high gear the ad industry’s efforts to replace cookies with a privacy-safe alternative. At stake is nothing short of how the ad-supported open web functions. While there are several players offering ways to ID people without cookies, the industry is nowhere near agreeing on one universal standard everyone uses. And even Google, a prominent participant hoping to guide new ways to track users across the open web has indicated its 2022 deadline could be extended.

Show me a 15-foot wall and I will show you a 16-foot ladder. 

Nielsen unveils new measurement system for a cookieless future | Ad Age

Nielsen is cooking up new ways of measuring audiences without relying on unique trackers like third-party cookies, as those data sets are on the cusp of being phased out. The audience measurement powerhouse revealed its ID resolution system on Thursday. It uses machine learning to process data from its own panels—along with data from publishers and advertisers—to assure advertisers that when an ad is viewed by an individual, the audience is unduplicated and accurately measured across all platforms.

Nielsen's ID resolution system builds a profile by capturing media-related signals and behavior—even across devices—and combining the data using deep learning techniques, says Mainak Mazumdar, chief data and research officer at Nielsen. The end result is essentially “a computational graph that allows us to link signals into a person,” Mainak says.

“Show me a 15-foot wall and I will show you a 16-foot ladder.”

🛠 Tips & Tools

Handshake: A New Way to Do Wholesale on Shopify — Announcements

Online wholesale just took another big step forward with the launch of Handshake, the brand new wholesale marketplace built and operated by Shopify. Whether you’re a retailer hoping to round out your catalog or a supplier looking to land new business, Handshake is for you.

Tag mapper - Google Tag Manager change tool

When you're planning on changing something - check what you might break

Select any part of your GTM account.

You'll see your starting point in purple, with arrows pointing away from it, showing what other parts of your GTM is depending on it.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun

Tony Hsieh, Zappos Luminary Who Revolutionized the Shoe Business, Dies at 46

Tony Hsieh, the brilliant and big-hearted Zappos.com luminary who revolutionized the shoe business and built one of the most innovative companies in modern history, has died. He was 46.

The executive died from injuries sustained in a Connecticut house fire, according to press reports citing a family lawyer.

RIP, Tony. 

Shopping is not the same as buying | Seth's Blog

Just about everyone over the age of fifteen, anywhere in the world, engages in the market in some way. We need things and we buy them.

That’s not what shopping is.

Shopping is the act of imagining what you might want. It’s the thrilling but risky exchange of money for something that you’ve never purchased before. Something that might be better than you hope, but it might not.

Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Still Advertising Paradise?

Maybe the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats just look expensive, or perhaps the social media marketer in me thinks it’s gotta be harder to communicate brand values via a float than a TikTok. 

But either way, is the 96-year-old parade still a smart investment for brands in 2020?

Short answer: Yes. 

👋 Holla!

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