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June 28, 2013

Guest Blog: Driving greater success on Google Shopping

As Google Shopping has fully transitioned into a paid model featuring Product Listing Ads (PLA) only, Julia Priddle, ChannelAdvisor outlines the steps that retailers should look to take in order to maximise their chance of Google Shopping success.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Julia Priddle

Google Shopping enables shoppers to find product listings quickly and effortlessly using the familiar search functionality offered by Google, and allows retailers to easily reach shoppers while they search for items to purchase.

With so many retailers competing against each other for the attention of potential consumers, how can a retailer stand out and, most importantly, convert this into sales opportunities?

Here are six simple guidelines that can help to optimise Google Shopping feeds and improve results:

Create custom product targets

Product targets are groups of products that retailers can bid on at once. Google already has the option to choose products by groups using a limited set of product attributes; brand and category being the most commonly used. However, services are available that have built multiple layers into Google Shopping solutions, enabling retailers to separate products into targets in any way they choose. For example, retailers are able to select all products with a tag of "yellow" for a summer sale promotion. Creating product targets increases the chance of products being included in relevant categories and reaching relevant consumers.

Optimise keywords

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If keywords are not optimised, it limits the ability to search for products. Therefore, ensuring keywords are in both product data and descriptions are essential. Retailers are advised to check the Search Terms data on keywords using AdWords and pay particular attention to on-site search logs while making use of relevant synonyms (e.g. instead of "swimsuit" try "swimming costume"), this allows retailers to cover a wider range of search terms used by potential customers.

Check the quality of data

Quality of data can make or break success on Google Shopping, particularly if it is poor and products are not listing due to errors. To improve this, follow Google’s recommendations – not just the minimum requirements – to ensure the implementation of correct and consistent size values while considering typical search terms used by customers (e.g. using the word "large" instead of an "L"). Finally, optimise custom colour searches by expanding terms to include the colour family (e.g. "mustard yellow" instead of "mustard"). By expanding and considering typical search terms, retailers can increase the chance of products displaying as a result when a customer searches for a specific item, colour, size or design.

Have a clear strategic goal

Retailers should look to revisit the data they have input in order to bid up Product Targets in competitive segments that require them to stand out from the crowd – this can be done by creating a separate Product Target for the best-performing products to increase their visibility. If there are products with similar margins or marketing goals, retailers can group them together and bid them up as a group. Similarly, tools are available that feature an automated bid manager that can adjust Product Target bids based on overall goals and performance, while software is available to enable retailers to relocate products between different Product Targets to optimise their performance better.

Product performance

Examining which products are perhaps not doing so well is one of the quickest ways to make changes to a retailer’s overall performance. There are tools available that enable the retailer to see which products are driving performance within each Product Target. This can help determine what stock may be driving large volumes of traffic, yet not converting, and assign those items to a lower bid Product Target if necessary. Due to the transition to a fully pay-per-click model, products that drive traffic but do not convert are not contributing to revenue and therefore profit. It is financially sensible to identify these products and move those items to a lower bid Product Target.

Don’t overlook promotional text

Google Shopping allows for optional promotional text and this could be the difference between whether or not a retailer makes a sale; particularly if it includes an offer such as "free delivery" or "20% off". Making a customer aware of deals using promotional text as they browse may place a retailer over a competitor.

With just a few tweaks to product listings, retailers can rejuvenate sales activity and search engine optimisation to kick start their Google Shopping growth. This opens up a whole world of potential for retailers!

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