Find out more about search trends, what they can tell us and how they help in online retail. Learn about tools you can use to help get information fast.
Search trends, what they tell us and why they are important
Sports Insight is here to keep you in the face of market updates and changes, which we report monthly. We understand the importance of trends; in this article, we look at search trends, what they are, and how you can interpret them. If you have an online presence, and as a retailer, it is almost impossible not to nowadays – So you will have experience interpreting online demand. Sometimes you can get this very right and make an absolute killing, and others, you might end up with t-shirts in weird colours or finishes that then kick around for years.
What are search trends?
Search trends are best described as the frequency of a search conducted. On social media, it is measured on interactions or posts, with the same principle, which is volume/frequency. Google provides trends data which is largely unfiltered access to search requests being made via Google.
How do you find viral trends?
Using Google Trends, you can identify trends over time or spikes in searches, and you can see what is trending now. These are live searches on Google. Test it. Find some news and search on Google Trends. We searched “2023 Colours” As you might expect, the bulk of the searches happened for this in January of 2023, and some more astute users looked through November and December.
Why are trends important
Trends data is helpful for businesses because if they are interpreted correctly, trends can provide valuable buying insights. As you already know, an annual trend for retailers is colour; being aware of a new season colour can help you make the right buying decisions and do this much more confidently, especially if you notice trends showing increases early; for example, this helps your PPC, content or product launch efforts.
Examples of search trends which are important in retail
The following examples are retail trends. Understanding them will help you.
Chatbots are the newest team members – Reported by Hootsuite.com; Chatbots are the newest member of your team. Saving money, providing better customer service, and helping customers through multi-lingual. ChatBots can also gather information before engaging with an actual sales agent. This optimised user experience provides improved customer satisfaction and, in most cases, can resolve the issue or query the prospective customer had.
Less waste in Packaging – Not a new trend but one that is continuing to be front of mind. More and more consumers are looking at how to reduce redundant packaging or to buy items that are more environmentally focused. This can help with your marketing and also in-store activations.
Supply Chain Vulnerability and global crisis – Retailers are searching for advice on how to manage and maintain a robust supply chain and tips during the global supply crisis, according to KMPG. Topics like cyber Crime, material access, and how supply chains are morphing.
ChatGPT and AI for retail – Reported on LinkedIn and via the SEO forums, many online retailers are interested in how ChatGPT can be used to help with SEO. It is especially helpful for eCommerce stores where the volume of meta tags can make things challenging. Site managers can easily miss duplications. ChatGPT can be trained or at least instructed to seek and find data, replacing opportunities for silly mistakes or information overlap.
The main reason trends are important is that once started they can then create their own demand. A recent example of this was the Prime Drinks trend, initially caused by social media and the primary demographic, word spread, and the trend exploded, before settling down, but at a much higher level than previous, thanks to the brand awareness caused. Stocking the product at the moment remains a very good idea.
Other Tools you can use:
SE Ranking – Tools like SE Ranking, Ahrefs, SEM Rush and other SEO tools are ideal for reviewing long-term and short-term search trends. They can be very helpful for gauging changes and generally help with your online targeting.
Instagram – If you start to complete a search in the Instagram search box, it provides insights on the #hashtags being used. This directly correlates to trends on its platform and summarises the types of information that are engaging the user base at this time.
Google Search – In a trimmed-down version of Google Trends, you can start a search on Google’s search page to get search suggestions. These are typically the higher volume searches for your seed keyword.
AlsoAsked – Is a great resource for better interpreting user intent and knowledge requests made on Google. It uses an API to retrieve insights data and present this in a meaningful visual map. Helpful if you are planning to answer queries with your content. This is great if you are looking to remove possible user journey barriers or friction points which might deter them from making a purchase. With the Prime drinks example, this could be examples like, explaining who can drink it and what any age limit might be.
How can trends data help?
– Resource allocation, which can be financial, staff or stock. It is critical to be able to effectively manage these components, and trends can help you.
– Offer timings – By understanding market searches, seasonal changes and timings, you can advertise offers at the right times by understanding the data.
– New range launches – Picking the best time to launch a new range can be stressful, but what if you could review search data over the last 5 years? It would remove some of the challenges you face.
– Buying cycles – In the same way you can look at launches, you can consider buying cycles on certain products based on when you need to be selling them.
The greatest value is understanding what trends allow. If you have robust insights, then you can be confident about decision-making based on actual user data. These efficiencies provide money saving and improved profits, and they can also help with finance management and not sitting with stock for too long. For larger retailers, there are data companies dedicated to improving data flow, and efficiencies, because when it goes wrong, it can be devastating.
When it goes wrong!
According to reports, including Convictional.com, in 2021, GAP was guilty of poor stock management via a private label/brand initiative. It focused on some risky private label stock and effectively lost 134m, but what this also did was starve the company of its core SKUs, and (some 166m) Total losses were therefore over 300m during a 12-month period.
When it goes right!
Good stock management helps companies forecast and respond with more agility, even if the world suffers a pandemic! Mirafit reported it was able to grow quickly during the various lockdowns thanks to solid stock management, historical sales data, an understanding of buying trends and a robust supply chain.
We hope that this article has helped explain the core points surrounding the what and the why trends data can help, with some foundational examples and supporting content. For more information on trends, keep up with your regular copies of Sports Insight and hear from industry leaders.