Over the years, I’ve done a number of strategic reports for The Newspaper Association of America. The newest report, out today, is called “The Newspaper Online Shopping Report: Online Relationships with Retailers.”
It is a fairly comprehensive work that gives readers a 360 degree view of what newspapers are doing (and should be doing) to bolster their online shopping environment. While it is only available to members of the NAA’s Digital Media Federation ( join!) here are some top recommendations for newspapers in shopping. Aren’t many of them also applicable to other local media?
1. Promote, promote, promote. Consumers and advertisers alike need to think first of newspapers. Use the power of print and online.
2. Carve out a uniquely identifiable shopping section on your Web sites. Most shopping sections don’t stand out.
3. Keep the site clean and consumer focused. Don’t force consumers to wade through 400 SKUs just to sell more advertising.
4. Build vertical directories with comprehensive retailer listings that match newspaper content with local retailer advertising.
5. Make everything on the site searchable so that retailers and shopping content stand out for SEO/SEM.
6. Highlight local retailers above national retailers for sponsored search and other advertising.
7. Partner with shopping application providers, such as online inventory services, that add value to your shopping area.
8. Install state-of-the-art technology, such as click-to-call, video and online coupons, that increases interaction between retailers and consumers.
9. Add voice platforms, such as ad sponsored directory assistance, to prepare for the mobile generation of services.
10. Form a retail collective with chambers of commerce, trade groups and other local media.
NAA and I are planning an Online Shopping Webinar in late August. Watch this space for more details. Meanwhile, thanks to the NAA’s Randy Bennett and Beth Lawton for their great help on the project. Thanks also to the many newspaper and online shopping execs participating in the research.