Using a search engine to retrieve lists of suggested web sites and content is one of consumers’ first steps in the browsing and buying journey. As many as 73% of all Americans use a search engine, an Internet pursuit rivaled only by email, according to the Pew Research Center.
Google is among the most popular search engines used for product queries today. The search company giant transitioned beginning May 2012 from a free search model to Google Shopping, which relies solely on paid Product Listing Ads (PLAs). During a recent webinar, titled: What’s Trending Now…Holiday Shopping Report, Jon Venverloh, Head of Business Development and Platforms at Google Shopping, discussed that transition, shared search marketing best practices for retailers this holiday season, and shed light on Google Shopping activities and trends. The session was co-sponsored by Channel Intelligence, a product data optimization company.
Regarding best practices, Venverloh described how retailers can utilize Google Shopping to succeed in search this holiday season. His advice included:
- Use the Trusted Store Badge: Google allows merchants to utilize this free endorsement program. Participating merchants display the Google Trusted Store badge on their product listings to showcase that Google endorses them for top-notch customer service.
- Make moves in mobile: To increase usage and acceptance of Google Shopping, Google rolled out PLAs to smartphones and tablets, allowing retailers to get more bang for their marketing bucks. Additionally, all retailers that purchase PLAs will be promoted through the Google Shopper app, which is available for Android devices and iPhones.
- Leverage promotions: Through the Google Shopping property, retailers can insert promo codes on specific items as well as the Google “Shop” button, providing a seamless link to their e-Commerce sites. This can help increase click-through rates and make offers easier for shoppers to redeem.
- Bid up on best sellers: By pinpointing top-selling products during the previous holiday season, retailers can develop lists of “best sellers” and make them top priorities for PLAs. Retailers are advised to analyze patterns in demand and bid higher on key products to win their placement in Google Shopping search results.
- Provide quality data: Google Shopping provides consumers with more rewarding search experiences by increasing shopping choices and sifting results by brand, color and size, among other attributes. However, to truly succeed in Google Shopping, according to Venverloh, retailers must provide accurate and detailed product information.
Google Shopping Adoption On The Rise
More retailers continue to upload merchandise data to the Google Shopping platform, Venverloh reported, and are “improving the quality of data they’re providing to us for their search bids, which in turn is creating an excellent experience for their shoppers.”
As of November 15, 2012, approximately 100 billion queries per month were being entered into Google, Venverloh said. A large portion of those were commercial queries, he said, defined as “a person researching and/or looking to buy a product.”
Further highlighting the growing role of Google Shopping in retail, Venverloh indicated that consumers currently can search one billion products on the platform. In addition, 100,000 retailers now participate in the service, with overall Google PLA traffic increasing 368% year-over-year, as of November 11, 2012. Furthermore, organizations utilizing PLAs experienced a 500% year-over-year boost in sales.
Click here to access an on-demand version of the webinar.