By Liam Supple, product marketing manager at SingleFeed
Comparison shopping engines (CSEs), like Google Shopping, Shopzilla, NexTag and Bing, are filled with millions of potential customers who are looking for the product they want. As an online merchant who sells physical products, you can use your product data to increase the number of customers visiting your website by listing your products on CSEs via a data feed. You only pay the shopping engine for the traffic (or clicks) that come back to your site.
Here are 13 tips to make your product search marketing a success.
1. Use descriptive, high-resolution images. The CSEs will scale your image to thumbnail size so a quality image is essential.
2. Create rich descriptions for your products that are search engine friendly. Optimize your product titles, and be sure you include keywords in those descriptions that match what shoppers are likely using in their searches.
3. Develop a strategy and a budget. The typical CSE will rank products based largely on how much you’re willing to pay per each click your listing receives from a visitor. You’ll be successful with CSEs if you take the time to understand how to create a bidding strategy that evolves and stays within your budget.
4. Bid slowly when starting out. You can scale up your bids as you become confident that everything performs within your target budget range.
5. Keep your products up-to-date. CSEs pull listing information, like price and shipping, from your product data feed, so update your feed once a day to keep it fresh. Nothing ruins a potential sale more than when a customer goes to buy a product and finds it listed at a different price in the search results.
6. Best-selling products drive the most traffic. Over time you’ll see which of your products outperform the rest. These are products to leverage to increase your site traffic, so bid higher on these items if you can.
7. Include shipping costs in your listings. Customers like to know their total cost upfront.
8. Bid higher on your high-margin or low-cost products. Your high-margin products give you more room to experiment with your CSE bidding, and low-cost products can give you a price leg-up on your competition.
9. Consider having a professional handle your data feeds. Formatting and categorizing product feeds by hand so they follow the different guidelines each CSE sets forth is time-consuming. Data feed service providers are available.
10. List on multiple shopping engines. Test your products and strategies on several CSEs to see which ones work best for your items. There are a couple CSEs where listings and clicks are free.
11. Make full use of the top CSE. Of all the CSEs, Google Shopping is the one with the highest rates of conversion and traffic. Try a combination of Product Listing Ads (Google Shopping) and Google text AdWords (Google Search).
12. Enhance your customer’s entire shopping experience. Getting your CSE listings right is the first part of product search marketing, but it’s your website that will ultimately need to turn visitors into customers. Ensure that everything from the moment they search for your product to when they finally check out and make a payment is as customer-friendly as possible.
13. Put your search marketing plan into effect. Typically, you can get 10 to 25 percent of your total online revenue from CSEs.
For any online retailer, the biggest step is the first one when it comes to setting up a new marketing strategy. Don’t be intimidated by CSEs—you’ll quickly learn the ropes. More often than not, your peers and friendly data service providers will be willing to give you any advice you need to get started.
Liam Supple is Product Marketing Manager at SingleFeed, an eCommerce data feed service provider in San Mateo, CA. He assists online merchants to reach the millions of prospective customers on Comparison Shopping Engines, such as Google Shopping, Bing, and NexTag.