If you sell online, Google Shopping offers an excellent opportunity to turbo charge your sales and dramatically increase your visibility to potential customers.
After several years of extreme flux in the Google search rankings, many ecommerce retailers have found it difficult to achieve consistent, high rankings across their full product range.
If you rely on organic online sales, then search result visibility is everything. If your rankings fall outside the first page of Google results, research suggests there is less than a 2% chance a user will click on your company's search result.
Online retailers who sell hundreds, if not thousands of products from a range of brands often find that growing sales through organic search results can be slow and relatively expensive compared to the instant returns available through Google Shopping and supporting Google AdWords paid advertising.
A marketing strategy that places the emphasis on paid advertising through Google and other channels should never completely ignore the opportunities to grow sales through organic search rankings, however, organic growth typically falls into the medium to long term campaign planning.
Immediate returns can be enjoyed through Google Shopping and Google AdWords paid advertising. It is this immediacy of ROI that is so attractive to ecommerce retailers. It is possible to completely transform your online sales within 72 hours using Google paid advertising, a timescale that is simply unrealistic for organic sales growth. Typical timescales for organic growth fall within the 3-6 month range.
This article assumes you already have a Google Merchant Account set up and have received Merchant Account approval from Google to sell through Google Shopping. If you are new to Google Shopping, follow this link for the Google Merchant Help Centre.
There are two primary ways to upload your products into Google Shopping:
Manual feeds require, as the name suggests, a manually created spreadsheet containing all your product data to be uploaded manually into your Merchant Account. Changes to the detail of your product spreadsheet will need to be undertaken manually.
As retailers begin uploading hundreds if not thousands of products into Google Shopping, such spreadsheet management becomes increasing complicated and time consuming. The chance of data entry errors increase as does the chance of products “slipping through the net”, resulting in wasted clicks and thus unnecessary campaign costs. The cost in terms of resource required to update your product spreadsheet should also be considered.
Automated Google Shopping feeds draw down product data directly from product pages on your website and automatically upload data into your Google Shopping account. This process ensures that the product data showing on your website is the data that is uploaded into your Google Shopping Account. This reduces Google Shopping errors that prevent your products showing and increases the chances of your target market finding and buying your products.
Google uses the product Title and Description to decide which products to show through Google Shopping. Ensure the Product Name, Brand and Product Code are all in the Title. You have about 70 characters to use for the title - make sure they count!
Your description is the major call to action for shoppers searching Google Shopping. Make sure you put the important product information up front and let the searcher understand if there are colour and size variations available. Make your product sound enticing but never be misleading. Think carefully about the person who will be searching - what are the key questions they will be asking - make sure you answer these questions in the description.
Google places great importance on the quality of images used in Google Shopping feeds. Google asks for a minimum size of 800 x 800 pixels.
Google doesn't allow branding or writing on the images and looks to promote images that are clear and shown on a white background.
Google Shopping now allows merchants to set up many individual shopping campaigns and populate these campaigns manually using product SKUs.
This provides item by item feedback on clicks, click through rates and cost per click.
With this product item data, merchants can assess ROI on an item by item basis and have better control over total campaign ROI.
At the end of August 2014 Google upgraded Google Shopping admin functionality to allow marketers to have greater control over bidding for products in Google Shopping.
One fundamental change came in the form of a priority bidding hierarchy that allows merchants to set different bidding priorities on individual shopping campaigns.
At its simplest, merchants can set best sellers to High Priority and up bids to maximize sales while setting shopping campaigns with low margin or slow selling products to Low Priority and minimizing bids.
We hope these tips will turbo charge your online sales. We are always available to discuss how our team of experienced digital marketers can be of help growing your online sales.
Published: 11 Dec 2014
Author: Iain Coplins