In this episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions™ with Renee Girard, Associate Director, SEO at Crate & Barrel and CB2 Brands, we discussed growing and changing eCommerce SEO requirements, how close contact with the product team can be leveraged, and an SEO process to get ready for the Black Friday campaigns.
Here is what we covered in this episode full of insights for eCommerce, evolving search landscapes, and enterprise SEO:
Begum Kaya 0:07
Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions™. This time we are together with Renee Girard from Crate and Barrel Holdings to discuss Enterprise SEO. Welcome, Renee.
Sam Torres 0:17
Renee Girard 0:17
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for having me here today virtually. Super excited to be here even though I'm fighting a little bit of a cold, so just bear with me. My voice is not usually this raspy and handsome.
Sam Torres 0:20
Hey it's sultry, I like it.
Renee Girard 0:17
There you go!
Begum Kaya 0:30
And a warm welcome to our hosts Tory Gray and Sam Torres. Hello, ladies.
Sam Torres 0:40
Hello! So Renee, let's hear about you. What's your background?
Renee Girard 0:45
Sure. Yeah. So I started in SEO a long time ago, about 2011. I was a, you know, college intern making a lot of mistakes at a local agency. I remember I was writing about "the rolling hills" of every single city in Wisconsin, for Travel Wisconsin, and accidentally deploying ad copy live.
Renee Girard 1:07
Whoops! So that was really just what, you know, started my introduction to SEO and digital. Decided I loved agency [life]. Ended up going to another agency, staying there for about eight years, and really specializ[ing] in eCommerce SEO.
Renee Girard 1:22
And I was really lucky because I got the full gamut of different clients from like your family-owned for 20-plus-year pure plays, to your Fortune 500s, and it was just so exciting during that time. Getting to battle the Penguins, the Pandas, oh, my holy animals.
Renee Girard 1:41
But ultimately, I decided that… you know, I'm ready to commit. Let's go in-house. So as of January 2020, I'm now overseeing all of Crate & Barrel Holdings, including Crate & Barrel, CB2, and Hudson Grace for the SEO team.
Begum Kaya 1:57
Amazing. So I think the first question would be, "What is your favorite part of the job as an eCommerce SEO?"
Renee Girard 2:05
Well, for this role, it'd be employee discounts! [hahahaha].
Renee Girard 2:12
But really, it's so exciting as an SEO to be able to see the product side of things and get to be part of the merchandising process. I don't think that's really a common scenario for enterprise eCommerce SEOs. And I just personally love learning about, you know, interior design. And, of course, supporting just an iconic brand.
Renee Girard 2:33
Like we're talking about 60 years in the making! A company that started in Chicago, and they forgot the cash register, forgot the little... you know, the stands for the product.
Renee Girard 2:44
So they were really like "Let's use the crates and the barrels!"
Renee Girard 2:46
It's literally where it came from - like this scrappy company, to just iconic, timeless brand. So it's just products, it's just fun.
Renee Girard 2:56
And it's... it's a nice thing to remember when we're just all having a tough day, especially as SEOs where I always say, like, once a quarter, I just want to flip my table over and say "I'm done with SEO!"
Renee Girard 3:08
But I tried to just come back and say, "You know what, we're still just selling teapots and making homes, you know, really beautiful for folks." So that definitely helps to stay grounded.
Sam Torres 3:20
I feel like I have that feeling just about... So definitely had it this week, because I think it was this week? Google announced their October broad core update, and I'm just like, really, really, again?! Ugh, okay. September was already like, we had so many updates. And then now you're...
Tory Gray 3:41
And now it's so close to Black Friday.
Sam Torres 3:43
Like, ya'll, we be tired.
Renee Girard 3:47
They love doing the updates right around the holiday. They're like, "Oh, you know, 80% of your revenue comes from here, eCommerce. Boom! Here's an algo update for you."
Renee Girard 3:57
And then it's like... it's almost like a joke. I feel like someone needs to make it an SNL skit, like "No further details provided."
Sam Torres 4:06
I love that.
Tory Gray 4:07
Yeah, all the last-minute scrambles. Oh, my goodness.
Begum Kaya 4:11
It's amazing that you...Sorry, go ahead.
Tory Gray 4:15
Begum Kaya 4:15
I was just going to say that the connection that you made with the brand and like owning it was really, like—sounds and pours over. So like, I think at this point, I would ask, "What is the hardest thing about your role that really makes you want to flip those tables?"
Renee Girard 4:34
Great question. So for me, it's difficult when the organization is large, and the SEO adoption is so high. Like—don't get me wrong. This is still a dream role for any SEO who wants to be involved because we're really integrated into pretty much every aspect of business operations.
Renee Girard 4:54
But that means our time is the most precious, you know... commodity that we can provide. My team is actually supporting up to 14 different groups. That's across US, Canada, and international.
Renee Girard 5:10
And we're really trying to provide the full gamut of SEO functions from local, to the product site, technical, you know, creating content—and not just any content, but an SEO-driven content strategy.
Renee Girard 5:23
So it's really tough because we constantly have to reprioritize. And I always tell my team, like, "We have to focus on what are really in our circles of control, and influence."
Renee Girard 5:36
Because the rest, we just can't... we have to let that go. And it's really tough as SEOs, where I think we're like "the janitors of the internet," we're just constantly like, sweeping things up. Like it's like, nobody notices you're there unless something's wrong.
Renee Girard 5:49
And then, you know, we seem to have our hands in all the cookie jars. It's definitely tough when you're, you know, you're definitely in high demand. The organization already knows - SEO matters. You don't have to convince them.
Renee Girard 6:03
But then now—that now means you have to be protective of your own time and focus on the highest impact tasks that will make a difference because we could do everything.
Sam Torres 6:16
Interesting. I love that about... because, yeah, definitely not having to spend time educating on the value of your role or like, I guess just kind of validating what it is you're doing—definitely sounds like a dream spot for many SEOs, because I feel like—I mean, I feel like every single survey that comes out, that's probably like the number 1 place where SEOs spin their wheels and spend time.
Sam Torres 6:40
So I love hearing like, Okay, once you get there...
Tory Gray 6:43
Still gonna be hard.
Sam Torres 6:44
Yeah, it's...but also I really do like your… like your action item of "focus your time on what really matters" or "the things that you can actually control." Like, if you're just beating down the door and trying to get this technical debt cleaned up, that's gonna take dev[elopment team] 400 hours, like, it's probably not the best use of your time.
Sam Torres 7:04
Like focus on really what... what you can do. I think that's a really, really key action point to take.
Renee Girard 7:10
Exactly! What's better? Cleaning up your XML sitemap, so there's absolutely no dirt, or like hreflang type tags, which nobody wants to do. And even Google's like, we don't really care.
Renee Girard 7:23
Or, like, let's build automation! Scaling across the organization, making sure we're showing up in every aspect of the customer journey, like unlocking that longtail! That's everything for eCommerce. Or like building modular content that is genuinely helpful to the customer to make their decision.
Renee Girard 7:41
I think we went through a time where there was like a "Technical SEO Renaissance," but I think we're in that next level, where it's really about being product-led.
Renee Girard 7:51
And being product-led means being customer-led.
Renee Girard 7:55
And we just have to see SEO from a customer's perspective. So that when we are working with a product team, and it's like, "Okay, you get this many tickets in the sprint - what do you want me to do?"
Renee Girard 8:06
We're really picking the RIGHT things and not being like, so pure of like, "Gotta get rid of this technical, you know, SEO debt."
Renee Girard 8:14
Like, yeah, it probably won't be great over time, and be death of 1000 paper cuts—don't get me wrong!—but if it's not something that's like, "If we don't fix this tomorrow, everything is going to be you know, like, we're going to lose money, we're going to lose visibility," then I think that's where the focus needs to be.
Renee Girard 8:29
Scalable, modular, automation. Insert buzzword here, let's... not PageSpeed votes!
Renee Girard 8:38
Speed to execution wins for enterprise.
Speed to execution wins for enterprise.
Sam Torres 8:41
Tory Gray 8:43
And it shifts from like, to pragmatism, from perfectionism, or, you know, kind of the OCD nature that I would argue a lot of SEOs have, or technical detailed people.
Tory Gray 8:54
We want things to feel done—that this is done, that I feel confident in this and I can move on and like you just don't... you just have to [say] "Okay, I have to, I have to move on. It's okay. That's not the biggest, thing I have to move on." It's...it's an interesting challenge. But it's the right move for the business, of course.
Sam Torres 9:11
Renee Girard 9:12
Perfectly said, perfectionism.
Sam Torres 9:14
Renee Girard 9:14
It's not gonna, not gonna help anybody really, at the end of the day. Pragmatism is definitely is going to be the right approach, especially in these times.
Tory Gray 9:25
Speaking of these times, I would love to know more about eCommerce and Black Friday now. So I've worked a lot in-depth in eCommerce historically, but I know things are evolving so much in the last few years and this year.
Tory Gray 9:39
So I'd really love to hear your perspective on how Black Friday and planning and eCommerce, in general, might be more hard, or more challenging, for people that aren't in the day-to-day and maybe don't understand the full scope of what's happening right now.
Renee Girard 9:52
Ooh, I love this question! It's so juicy, because I think now more than ever is the right time for us to take a step back and really look at the state of the world.
Renee Girard 10:03
Like the macro level trend trends. Because SEOs are facing the most headwinds, I think we've probably ever experienced from the eCommerce perspective.
Renee Girard 10:14
I was at a conference last week in New York City for Botify, and one of the keynotes was talking about how we're actually in the first, what he's calling "Digital Drought," in over a decade, right.
Renee Girard 10:27
All of eCommerce is struggling! This is the time for us to, again, take a step back, and like build some empathy for what SEO is are up against—in all of eCommerce because we're all experiencing loss.
Renee Girard 10:41
Even Amazon and Target. As good as they're doing, plug them into any SEO tool [and] you can see the decline in traffic, right?
Renee Girard 10:49
So understanding the whys, and picking that apart, and then going back to those six circles of influence - like what is within our control and what's not, because what's out of our control, like that bucket is getting bigger, I would say more than ever.
Renee Girard 11:04
And one of the biggest themes I'm seeing is with this "Value Mindset" that customers have. So Google came out with a report recently about like holiday trends. And they said that customers are pushing towards [a] value mindset. But in terms of all the things that they could care about for purchasing behavior, quality is still number 1.
Renee Girard 11:30
So they want the cheapest price, yet they want it to be high-quality.
Renee Girard 11:35
And I understand it right. Because with inflation not slowing down and the housing market, you know, not in a good spot, people want things are gonna last—but they also want to save that money for the most part.
Renee Girard 11:47
Unless you're in like the high-income area, then you're spending on luxury, you don't care - you're doing well. That's what we're noticing.
Renee Girard 11:53
So this value mindset—super challenging for SEOs, because how do we... how do we help propel the brand towards capturing the value of the affordability of the product? Compared to why we're the best? Why are we quality? Why are we worth the money?
Tory Gray 12:14
Renee Girard 12:15
Right? And middle-of-the-road type folks, like if you're just like, in the middle of luxury or value, they're the ones where I think it's going to be a really big struggle because customers are smart.
Renee Girard 12:27
And they're probably going to pivot they're probably going to figure out like, alright, where's my dollar going towards this holiday season?
Renee Girard 12:34
Do I need to pivot and go luxury? Because there is that perception of quality, therefore costs-per-use would be better from a sustainability perspective.
Renee Girard 12:43
Or do I go the value route, and just go for whatever is as cheap as possible—it's good enough.
Renee Girard 12:50
With... this is gonna be that time where like, we were really going to see the winners from the losers, unfortunately, and we all just have to really brace ourselves.
Renee Girard 13:00
Because it is expected that [the] holiday is going to be really tough for eCommerce. Especially for all the brands fighting their inventory glut - which should be everyone, because we all bought last year to try and supply for the increase in demand.
Renee Girard 13:18
And now we're all sitting on too much inventory, plus the supply chain issues on top of it. Right, the pressure is high, very high to move product, move the inventory glut.
Renee Girard 13:28
And how do you do that? Promos. That's it. And now the customers with all these other micro, you know, macro tailwinds that are happening—or I'm sorry, headwinds that are happening - they're now saying,
Renee Girard 13:40
"I'm going to wait for a promo." Right? Look at Amazon - two Prime Days. That doesn't happen because it was just that great.
Sam Torres 13:50
Tory Gray 13:51
Yeah. I'm hearing about a lot of macro issues here. So we've got supply chain, we've got inflation, we've got a relatively mature eCommerce market where more people are buying online than ever before. There's more competition than before.
Tory Gray 14:04
Are there other factors to consider here? Just to understand the big picture of what's happening and why today?
Renee Girard 14:11
Yeah, absolutely. Besides like the customer behavior, which is changing search demand due to the state of the world. Besides all that, then there's Google. Our favorite topic!
Sam Torres 14:24
Where would we be without them?
Renee Girard 14:27
Better question, where would they be without us? Because we're literally building Google.
Sam Torres 14:30
Also true. Very true.
Renee Girard 14:34
Right? So Google is making it harder than ever to be an SEO in eCommerce right now. It is... I mean, this is nothing new.
Renee Girard 14:43
Like Google's been... like there's been the content wars, since like, what maybe... I don't know 2013? When [did] Google start coming out with featured snippets for the first time? Or knowledge panel?
Tory Gray 14:54
Renee Girard 14:54
You know, the content wars are nothing new, but it is getting worse. It's definitely getting worse. Like Google's struggling, so what are they trying to do?
Renee Girard 15:02
Let's keep more people on Google. Right? And they're probably releasing all these algorithms.
Renee Girard 15:09
Going back on their word to, by the way, they said, Oh, we're not going to do back to back-to-back algos, we're not going to do you like that. And now we're going on the fourth in a month?
Tory Gray 15:17
Sam Torres 15:18
Yeah. Sounds great. It's a really fun time. It's not stressful at all.
Renee Girard 15:23
Begum Kaya 15:24
Looking at our faces, I can really tell - sorry, for the podcast listeners hahaha... You would be enjoying these looks on YouTube quite a lot.
Renee Girard 15:33
Sam Torres 15:34
There's no sarcasm.
Renee Girard 15:36
You know, it's worse to… it's not helpful for the customer. Like if I'm a customer right now, and I want to go out and buy a sectional sofa: I'm gonna go to Google, I'm going to search for it, and Google's just shoving these affiliate articles, the… you know, Wirecutters.
Renee Girard 15:52
Which by the way, fantastic jobs to the SEOs - they're doing amazing.
Renee Girard 15:55
But they're like the silent killer in my opinion. Because it's not that they're like a major SEO Share Of Voice player. It's that they're chipping away at eCom's Share Of Voice little by little.
Renee Girard 16:09
And it... especially for desktop. I don't know if you've noticed, but those articles are being surfaced more often for like an eCommerce or ambiguous-intent product keyword on desktop than mobile.
Renee Girard 16:24
Making it even harder for eCommerce players to even rank.
Tory Gray 16:28
Yeah, I'm unclear at this point, honestly, like, is this something Google is really struggling with? Or do they think users are happy with this - because I as a user, personally, anecdotally, am not happy with these articles.
[Tory edit: I'm not speaking to Wirecutter with this comment; I'm a fan of them!)
Tory Gray 16:40
They're not useful and helpful. They don't actually have insight or expertise. Let's talk about the EAT. Like they don't have it. They're just spinning crap.
Tory Gray 16:50
And it's hard to wade through, but it's happening so much. And it's like, is Google's 4 updates trying to fight against that and struggling? And they're, they're just not doing it as effectively?
Tory Gray 17:00
Or do they think that this is what people... I don't... What's your sense?
Renee Girard 17:05
I think Google has shifted intent for keywords around product, so that when a category... when anyone is searching a product keyword, they are automatically assuming that the intent is to find the 'best'.
Renee Girard 17:17
I think 'best' is really the...
Tory Gray 17:21
The elusive 'best'. The undefinable best, because 'best' is different for everyone.
Renee Girard 17:28
Exactly. So Google is moving from like search engine, now, they're like answer engine action, and then whatever, but they're really trying to be a shopping engine.
Renee Girard 17:37
Right, we see that all the time with the eCommerce results in the SERP features that they're coming out with. They're really trying to keep you on Google.
Renee Girard 17:44
And you know, like Google, you can—I think you can check out directly from Google now too.
Sam Torres 17:50
For some products, yeah.
Renee Girard 17:51
Right. So I think 'best' as a keyword is over-saturating all of eCommerce and I'm sure even outside of eCommerce industries, and publishers know that.
Renee Girard 18:04
Right? So they are cranking out that content. And Google's patent for SERPs diversity is going to boost those players... in the name of diversity. Right?
Renee Girard 18:20
And that's, again, just stealing away at the eCommerce results. Another thing I'm noticing is that Google is showing a lot of like the low-cost providers, which I know is a couple of different factors here.
Renee Girard 18:33
But if you notice, like the product packs that are like taking over every one of my SERPs. It's all cheap, affordable under $100. Have you noticed that? Like those little...
Tory Gray 18:44
Yeah. And they're...but they're all like, not all, but a lot of them are from sketchy brands. And I'm really scared that, like—I've bought things and they didn't send me things.
Tory Gray 18:54
And I've bought things and they sent me things that were obviously nothing like what was pictured. And I've been fortunate to be able to get refunded all those things, but not all consumers are.
Sam Torres 19:06
Tory Gray 19:07
And they're not fighting that fight I'd argue, well enough, either.
Sam Torres 19:11
Or they're always the brands where I'm like, "I have to wait eight weeks for this to show up." And you didn't tell me that... until I checked out.
Renee Girard 19:19
Sam Torres 19:21
Yeah, it's... I would agree, it's not great.
Sam Torres 19:24
Even just like, anecdotally, I was trying to research a digital notebook that Roxana had suggested to me.
Sam Torres 19:32
I did end up buying it, but just trying to do the research on the product and like, see some real reviews, and use cases, and like how are people, you know, other professionals like me using it?
Sam Torres 19:44
I just don't have a lot of time for me to find, and I'm like... all I do is Google all day. One of my favorite sayings to my friends is that "my Google foo is strong." And I definitely feel like with the changes we're seeing… I'm not finding the type of content that I actually want to.
Tory Gray 19:59
Mmm, well, there's a reason the, "on Reddit", you know, qualifier on all of your queries is a thing. Because Google is unwilling to give relevant, real authentic content these days.
Renee Girard 20:14
Yeah. And Gen Z, they've... they're figuring it out, because what are they doing? They're using TikTok as a search engine with 40% or something.
Renee Girard 20:24
I 100% believe that number is gonna grow even more.
Sam Torres 20:28
I think so too, because honestly, like, there have been times where I've been driven to TikTok, and I'm in my mid-30s. Like, I'm not supposed to be there. But...
Renee Girard 20:35
And just last week, Google said, I'm sorry, TikTok... oh my gosh... TikTok said they're gonna compete with Amazon, with a distribution center.
Sam Torres 20:43
Tory Gray 20:44
Renee Girard 20:45
Because people use TikTok for discovery, but they don't trust it to buy off of it.
Tory Gray 20:50
Sam Torres 20:51
Well, that makes sense.
Tory Gray 20:52
Those are concerns that are valid with TikTok. That is very interesting.
Renee Girard 21:00
Another trend with Gen Z, which I think is so fascinating. I learned this from one of my college interns - she's fantastic.
Renee Girard 21:07
So she told me that she's basically training herself to go to page 2 of Google.
Renee Girard 21:11
Because even though we're trained to think like, "Oh, where do you hide a dead body? Page 2 of Google!"
Renee Girard 21:17
She trusts those results more because she knows page 1 is going to be full of pay-to-plays. And the big... the big, you know, box, yeah, the Amazon & Targets of the world.
Renee Girard 21:28
And she doesn't want that she wants something unique.
Tory Gray 21:32
Tory Gray 21:34
It is just a struggle to find something unique, like... so when we talk about accessibility, it's an interesting thing, because I think on the whole, brands could be doing a much better job describing their products to help people find it.
Tory Gray 21:47
But when I'm looking for a very specific thing, I will use very specific queries. And I continually get the same crap. Again, and again, it looks exactly like it. That's not what I'm looking for.
Tory Gray 21:57
So I will add qualifiers of like, you know, the sleeves need to be this way, or this detail needs to be on this shoe. And it just... it weirdly doesn't work.
Tory Gray 22:05
There's like a... are we as SEOs not doing a good enough job adding that information? Are we just going after the data about what people are looking for, and just adding the top five things, that's not the longtail?
Tory Gray 22:16
That's another interesting thing to me. Especially the world of Pinterest… people are adding all sorts of tags, there's a reason Pinterest took over image search, even though they are obviously struggling today.
Sam Torres 22:31
Begum Kaya 22:32
I wonder if it's because, like most of the... not... let's not say most of the brands, but quite a few brands struggle to see the world from the user's perspective.
Begum Kaya 22:45
Maybe they don't really care about their users, or they just want to automate things and just push data from here and there.
Begum Kaya 22:51
And they just look at the data. And since they don't see that much like valuable insights when it comes to zero-click searches. They're like, "Nah uh, not going to take care of this."
Sam Torres 23:02
Yeah. Could be. Or, you know, I think also, there's plenty of times in enterprise companies where you just don't have the manpower.
Tory Gray 23:11
Sam Torres 23:12
Like SEO teams, I feel are so underserved sometimes for these big organizations like... I mean, it's, it's crazy to me—you definitely have like Forbes 25 companies have one or two SEOs in their entire organization.
Renee Girard 23:31
Yeah, it's painful...
Sam Torres 23:32
You employ like, yeah, 50,000 people around the world, and only 2 of those are associated with SEO.
Sam Torres 23:39
Like it's, it's wild to me how undervalued SEO is for some of these major eCommerce companies from the top. So I love what you're talking about with—it sounds like Crate and Barrel Holdings has like bought in, they understand that that is the machine that returns for them.
Sam Torres 24:00
Also, I'd like to flip it a little bit if we can? Because I feel like we're very doom and gloom.
Sam Torres 24:04
And would love to like... so Renee, what I'm hearing from you is like definitely take the time to educate, you know, communicate across internal teams of like, "Hey, these are the factors that are going on that we're fighting against."
Sam Torres 24:19
But any other tips you have for like how people can really action this and weather the storm? Or you know just yeah—what can they take away from this and feeling maybe a little bit encouraged instead of just defeated?
Tory Gray 24:31
Yeah, but to extend on that like yeah, how are... how's Crate and Barrel and how is eCommerce as a whole reacting to a world where there's Black Friday, but there's also two Prime Days? And there's also Wayfair Day now like, what are you doing actionably? Or what do you see the industry doing?
Sam Torres 24:46
That you're allowed to share!
Renee Girard 24:48
Okay, I love this question, because it's not all doom and gloom. It is a tough place to be in, but as an... from [an] eCommerce perspective, there is a resurgence and return to stores!
Renee Girard 25:01
So the brick... have you noticed? Like Warby Parker, they added all these new stores, a few other retailers, I think Wayfarer started trying some of their first storefronts as well.
Renee Girard 25:11
People want to be out, you know? We were home and that was great.
Renee Girard 25:15
And now we want to be out. So there is an opportunity.
Renee Girard 25:19
And Google knows that because I think they're... they've been finding more opportunities to inject local search results in universal [search results.]
Renee Girard 25:26
I feel like there's been a pretty nice increase. So there is an opportunity for brands, as a whole, to focus on having a superior customer experience within the store.
Renee Girard 25:38
And as SEOs, for us to focus on omnichannel strategies—that are fact-based that work, right?
Renee Girard 25:45
So local SEO, that's, I feel like that's always the forgotten piece. It's like, "You know, it just kind of it just kind of works. People just figure out what the hours are." Like no. It's more than that, right?
Renee Girard 25:58
For example, CB2 - this is not a marketplace, this is not a huge brand. It's you know, significantly smaller than Crate and Barrel - on page 1 for the word... for the keyword 'furniture store'.
Sam Torres 26:11
Tory Gray 26:11
Sam Torres 26:12
Tory Gray 26:13
Good for you.
Renee Girard 26:14
And even now...
Sam Torres 26:14
Get it, girl.
Sam Torres 26:16
Yes. You know what I mean?
Renee Girard 26:17
It is possible to still win.
Renee Girard 26:19
And I think having that local angle, if you are omnichannel, is an amazing opportunity. And finding ways to take you from searching online to going to the store.
Renee Girard 26:29
BOPIS - gift from above, right? Like 'Buy Online, Pickup In-Store'.
Renee Girard 26:36
This is how people avoid shipping costs, your annoying returns, you get to work with an expert, you get that instant gratification, I'm gonna get that product that day. Right?
Renee Girard 26:46
So we've had to be agile and adapt, and I think the return to stores still provides a large opportunity for SEOs to help make that connection. I mean, heck, who knew that QR codes were going to come back?
Sam Torres 27:00
I know, right?
Renee Girard 27:06
Anything can still happen. So I love that connection that we can have from a store-operations perspective. Local SEO... and how are we helping make the customer happy because customers are happy when they go to the stores.
Sam Torres 27:20
I love that. And I think what you're saying though, I love it because it does feel like just, as a consumer… I like 'buy online, pick up in store' because then that also tells me that I'm going to get it.
Sam Torres 27:32
Because obviously all the supply chain issues we've had, it's been so frustrating to like put an order for something and then get the email like, oh, that's on backorder.
Sam Torres 27:39
Or to go to a store and it's like... you don't have anything that I'm looking for. Like I think the other day, I was in CVS just trying to buy allergy medicine for my daughter. And they were just like out.
Sam Torres 27:51
Like, how, how is this all out right now?
Sam Torres 27:55
And then checking the hours. I feel like now more than ever. I'm like, I don't even know what store hours are anymore. Like I used to but it changed.
Sam Torres 28:03
I mean, at one point... I'm in the south, so Waffle House closed. Like they close at night sometimes now!
Sam Torres 28:09
I'm like, I don't know, what is real anymore?
Sam Torres 28:12
Because the Waffle House was always like: you're open on Christmas, you're open on Thanksgiving Day, like you... you've got... you've always got me.
Sam Torres 28:18
And now as a consumer, I'm just like... I couldn't tell you when the store closes. I have no idea of how long we have until we need to go. You know, like it's... it's, I think all those things that we were like, oh yeah, this store is open 12 to 6 on Sundays. Like I couldn't tell you anymore. Who knows?
Tory Gray 28:34
I mean, and that's also assuming you can trust the times that are on their Google My Business Profile because people put those up and then they forget about them.
[Tory edit: It’s called Google Business Profile now. Sheesh!]
Tory Gray 28:42
And I can't tell you how many times I've gone somewhere and they're like, "Oh, those aren't accurate".
Tory Gray 28:45
Or even like the numbers on the door are not accurate... like, yes, I know life and things are complex and varied but like, I'm beating my head against the wall.
Tory Gray 28:54
I'm trying to give you money right now! Please tell me when I do this! Because I've got a full-time job, I've got a kid, I've got a life...
Tory Gray 29:00
I've got a lot to do! Come on!
Renee Girard 29:06
So true. It's so true. You know what Tory, you know what else people totally miss on... like miss the mark?
Renee Girard 29:11
Just like basic sale SEO - good-old sale SEO.
Renee Girard 29:16
It's just such a miss, like we have seen and like really, really strong results just by doing small tweaks, like "Let's say the word 'sale'."
"Let's say the word 'sale'."
Renee Girard 29:25
Like is it in-store? Is it online? Like why are you making me guess? Just tell the people. Just tell the people - what is the sale?
Renee Girard 29:33
Optimize for the word sale. Everybody will be better off. Right? And not so confusing, and just, I think it's been way too difficult nowadays to understand like, "Is this a real sale? Or is this a fake sale? Is this from last year?"
Tory Gray 29:47
Is this a sale on three items, and I didn't notice that from the email? So now I have three things in cart and PS none of them are on sale? And I thought they all were and now I'm pretty peeved at you?
Sam Torres 29:58
Or I feel like honestly, Prime Day has really made me almost... distrust some of the sales and promos?
Sam Torres 30:07
Because like... we've seen, probably we've all seen the articles that come out that tell you like, actually, if you look at what the price of this item was on Amazon three months ago, it was actually the same.
Sam Torres 30:16
They've just been hiking it up so that they can mark it down.
Tory Gray 30:19
Yeah, they can just set up the MSRP at whatever they want, and then say "Look, it's 40% off".
Sam Torres 30:24
Yeah, so it's just very like, is this true?
Sam Torres 30:29
Basically, what we're saying is... we don't trust the internet. Who would have thought?
Renee Girard 30:35
No Sam, you're right, you're right.
Renee Girard 30:36
These early Black Fridays that literally just came out 2 weeks [ago] from brands, are they really? Are they really?
Renee Girard 30:42
Are we... is this an SEO-trade marketing trick?
Renee Girard 30:45
I think we do—as consumers, we have to be conscious of those decisions.
Renee Girard 30:49
And our eyes are open, right? And now, more than ever, like SEOs are going to be getting on that, you know, that train. Okay, let's, let's show value. Let's show quality. Let's show these sales. Let's show local, right?
Renee Girard 31:03
But there's only so far you can fake it, too. It kind of, unfortunately, it comes down to the customer to know how to make that “best” decision. Do their own research, right?
Sam Torres 31:15
Renee Girard 31:15
And that's not easy for people to do. People just want it. Don't... don't... "Give me a 1-minute video, and I'm sold." Right?
Sam Torres 31:24
Exactly. Yes. So much yes.
Tory Gray 31:27
Yeah. The little details do go long way. And... but how do you do those at scale? I mean, enterprise? How do you get that right? That's a super fun challenge.
Renee Girard 31:39
Scaling. Yes. It's like the key word of every meeting. How can we go faster? How can we automate? How can we scale?
Tory Gray 31:46
The new synergy? The leverage?
Renee Girard 31:48
Oh, yes - we have to find the balance though. We have to find the synergy in between what is, you know, what can be scaled and just truly automated and what has to be like that manual touch.
Renee Girard 32:00
Because that really does separate us from like... Sam, to your point, a lot of these like low-cost retailers that are out there. And they're not really putting too much effort.
Renee Girard 32:09
It's just kind of like the "spray and pray" like, let's just, "We're just gonna launch 10s of millions of pages and litter the internet, and we don't care because we'll still rank."
Renee Girard 32:17
You know, finding that balance and that sweet spot—I do think that is a differentiator, and it's a reflection of the brand and being... again, going back to being customer-led.
Sam Torres 32:29
Uh huh. Very cool.
Tory Gray 32:32
Well, this was amazing. Thank you so much for coming in and taking the time with us. This has been really insightful, learning about the challenges of modern enterprise eCommerce, and eCommerce as a whole—is a brand new world. So we're living in it.
Sam Torres 32:47
It's the world today.
Tory Gray 32:47
Sam Torres 32:48
It's shifting again. Buckle up, here we go!
Tory Gray 32:53
Always keep it interesting for us.
Renee Girard 32:56
Thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun.
Begum Kaya 33:00
Sam Torres 33:00
Begum Kaya 33:01
And yes, that's a wrap for everyone who [is] listening and watching us. Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions™. I'll see you next time. Bye!