Shopping Search Tactics

Aug 22, 2007 • 8:08 pm | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2007 San Jose
 

Session Overview Learn how content from your ecommerce or merchant site can -- and should! -- be included in shopping search engines.

Moderator: * Allan Dick, General Manager, Vintage Tub & Bath

Speakers: * Brian Smith, Analyst, ComparisonEngines.com * Bob Reeves, Director of Sales & Account Management, Marchex * Brian Mark, CTO, Toolbarn.com

Brian Smith will teach us to learn to love our data feeds

Small shoe store in Tampa was able to drive significant traffic and increased sales and conversions. Overall a 10x lift in sales volume online

Shopping engines come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free, some are paid and charge monthly fees, revenue share or other.

Little guy list; - PriceTool, Calibex, Become and more. - Beauty of little shopping engines is that sometimes you can get better conversion rates. - Pronto Verticals - Vdeep - Healthpricer - Builders Square Syndicated Listings - Shopping.com will get you listed on Buy.com "You have to test everything out"

How do you get on the engines? Some basic concepts - Adwords is easy - Yahoo Search Marketing is easy - Shopping engines = Yucky! - Track something - know your metrics - Automated XML solutions are not optimal (in e-commerce platforms) -- Take your time and optimize. Basic date feed is name, product price, category and much much more.

Google Base now has custom fields - like battery voltage or other different product options that are unique to your products.

How to create a feed - Use a management firm -- If you do this, manage it closely. - Do it yourself - Track everything - Test out different engines - find 5 or 10 and test them

Bob Reeves Keys to Success (some may sound simple - hope they’re not insulting, but these are often neglected) - Start in high margin areas - so if the returns and conversions are off you have some wiggle. - Create bid & placement rules - do not re-purpose you search rules. - Tailor Submission to each engine - look at the competition and see how they look on the engines - Monitory each engines ROAS - recommend daily review. - Retest product that has failed previously - sometime - Feed completeness - Make use of all required and recommended fields. - Optimize the titles and descriptions of your products - make sure they show up in search results - Shipping/Price Availability - Loves shopping engines for their ability to merchandise

Merchandising Keys to Success - Use ratings to measure success - Testimonials - Focus on pricing and placement - Pay attention to other opportunities - placements and category

Internal case study found that for one retailer that client got more sales with fewer merchants. ROAS began to slow.

Another retailer showed that as long as they were within 10% of the lowest price the ROAS was strong.

If price >$1000 users tended to click on merchants they knew

Feed Positioning Factors - Use of all required fields awards rank and relevance.

Brian Mark Shopping Search Difficulties - Rising CPC - Poor tracking tools are "included" - Analytics vendors don’t "get it right" -- Tell you where the last click was. - Too many individualized feeds - ROI is hard to calculate correctly -- So many variables that have nothing to do with clicks and products - internal costs and phone calls. - Rules constantly evolve Four Step Program 1. List everything 2. Scale back 3. Track it 4. Built the technology needed to manage The key is to build a strong foundation - Know your clicks and the sales -- They use a redirect on their site to track -- Set a cookie -- IP / UserAgent info is gathered and logged - Trying to get as many data points in order to track it back Weight of multiple clicks - If user clicks on multiple engines - how do you weight the click? Fixing Irregularities - Multiple clicks - Bot clicks - some engines forget bots exist. - Seasonality - potentially huge factor. - Each engine handles it differently At the end of the day they wanted to know how many clicks, how many sales and what the profit was.

Hidden costs - Boxes, Order processing, phone calls, customer service and more

Gross Profit - (CPC * Clicks) - (other expenses) Custom tailor each feed for products that work well on each one. Don’t just say "it’s not selling" but look at factors affecting sales. Set some ROI goals and stick to them. If a competitor is doing something "dumb" for a while - back off and wait or drop out. Optimize your conversion rates.

Smart Feeds Show Profit - 1800-3500% ROAS

Seals and logos have not shown significant conversions but stresses that you should test. Smilies and ribbons have done better.

Tracking indirect sales - Set a cookie on the "Email a friend" - Unique toll free numbers - Ask where they found the product - When merchant ratings are low, people tend to call. Overall effect on sales - Started in 2004 with a redesign and the site tanked in the SERPs. If the shopping engines had not been there, layoffs would have happened. - 18% of new customers come from shopping engines - 22% repeat customers come through shopping engines.

Conclusions - Track as much as you can - Know as much about each order as you can - Set your goals and stick to them

Back to Brian Smith My Two Theories (disagree if you like) 1. Garbage in - Garbage out 2. Google Base really really really does matter - submitting as structured data - your Google base listings may become more relevant than your organic results. Google will list relevant products in organic listings

Data Feed Optimization (DFO) - Think about it and think about tracking it - DFO -- Engine setup -- Qualitative -- Quantitative - Engine Setup - are your products running and is it running with the right information. -- Are the field lengths correct, are the fields there - watch and review. -- Beware database dumps that have HTML - could cause problems. -- Watch engine specifics -- Be patient - Tip - test taking down your logo and pay that .10 for the click to move up. - Qualitative -- Tracking and more tracking -- Similarities between SEO/PPC & DFO --- Look at the DF in a structured manner -- Product titles and descriptions - write them wisely. Use the carryover from your SEO/PPC to re-write long verbose names -- Use all of the fields available. -- All of the shopping engines are still search engines - give them as much information as you can. -- Categorization - If you fail to categorize your product, it will get stuck in miscellaneous. - Things to avoid in your feed -- Duplicate content -- Duplicate URLs -- Not following the rules - required fields -- Not following the unwritten rules -- HTML -- Incomplete data - Do tests against titles and descriptions - Quantitative -- Tracking -- Quantitative --- Make metrics based decisions --- Spent X, made Y, margin of Z - decide if you should be there. --- Channel --- Engine --- Look at profit by engine. --- Category --- Find the categories and products that are not profitable and remove them. --- Product/SKU --- Start using the pixel trackers or building redirects to track. --- SKU level reporting is near impossible using them engines themselves - Click fraud can be just as hard to track here as it is on the search engines. Start with good data and work toward the quantitative There are many factors to test - Test different titles, descriptions, banners ,logos, bidding strategies Be proactive and manage this as you would any other channel.

Q and A Q - Do you think the shopping engines are a valid avenue if I cannot compete on price but instead on trust and brand? A - Brian Mark - Use the logo program to support the brand. Use some products the other retailers do not carry and test those.

Q - Is there any talk about a common shopping feed format? A - Brian - They tried and it didn’t happen, but think it should happen. It will happen eventually after some pushing and pulling.

Q - If you had to optimize and submit to one site which would it be for children’s birthday party supplies? A - Brian Smith - Why are you submitting to just one? A - Allan -If resources are limited, what would it be? A - Brian Mark - Use shopping.com or shopzilla.com and one of the smaller ones like Pronto.com

Q - What percentage of your product sells online? A - Brian Mark - It’s different between engines - it runs from 30-60%

Q - Should the landing pages for my top 10 products be without "also considers?" A - Brian Smith - No, it’s ok to have this so long as each item also has its own landing page.

Q- Should I just take my top 10 products and upload only those to all the engines? A - All - Make time to add products even if it’s two a day or just to pick one engine at a time. Another option is to add everything and then pare it down. Make sure the overall plan is manageable. You have to be able to go through the feeds and make them right.

Q - Can you talk about CPC paths and CPA paths? Why do some retailers put more emphasis on CPC vs. CPA? A - Allan - You really have to ask each retailer. They deal

Q - How does setting a cookie work as far as tracking a click and how do they charge? A - Brian Mark - It’s not a charge. The email sets a cookie as a continuation from the original user.

Q - Do Pronto & ask overlap? A - Brian Smith - Most engines syndicate their content. Ask.com search results may show product search results from Pronto.

Q - How do you know which shopping engines work with which search engines? A - Brian Smith - If it were syndicated from Pronto to Ask, then Pronto will charge you for the click. Shopping.com syndicates to 300-500 different sites and you cannot opt out and you cannot tell where the product was actually clicked. There is no transparency into the sources of those syndicated clicks

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Comments:

Will

05/21/2009 04:05 pm

I run a local Printing Company with online ordering. We do nationwide shipping but we focus more on the local market. How do I get higher on local searches?

Rob Abdul

05/22/2009 09:05 am

Hi Will, to answer your question: 1] Get listed in Google Maps 2] In Google Webmaster tools be sure to set the appropriate country 3] Get links from local sites to you, Pay for banner ads if you have to. General Tips 4) You're missing your sitemap.xml and robots.txt in the root of your site: 5) Your Page Titles need to be unique; many of your pages have the same titles and descriptions.

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