Increase Google Shopping ROAS With These 5 Tips

Increase Google Shopping ROAS With These 5 Tips

As an e-tailer you know how important it is to make sure your products are appearing in the Google Shopping results as these listings increasingly dominate the SERPs for product-related long-tail search queries.

With the peak shopping period fast approaching then, this Friday we give you five tips to help improve your performance on Google Shopping.

1. Optimise Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your product title is the most important attribute in your Google Shopping feed. It gives the strongest indication to Google whether your product is relevant to a user’s search query. This means that you should try to get as much information about the product into the available 150 characters as possible. Mention anything that a user might include in their search query such as size, colour, brand and gender, including the most important keywords at the start of the title.

Your description may not be as important as your title but it will still contribute to your relevancy and the click-through rate your listings receive. The first 150 – 600 characters are the most important so make sure that these read well and that you include any keywords potential customers might be looking for.

2. Pay Attention To Negative Keywords

Although you can’t add keywords to your Google Shopping campaign, you should still be creating negative keywords for any search terms that are going to drive the wrong kind of traffic. Make sure that you’re reviewing the search terms report on a regular basis and excluding any phrases that have a high click-through rate/cost but a low conversion rate.

3. Try The New Showcase Adverts

The search term report may also highlight opportunities for Showcase Adverts (only available within the new AdWords interface). These allow you to select a range of products to showcase when the user searches for generic phrases that might have a low click-through rate, e.g. “televisions” or “dresses”. Instead of letting Google decide which of your products are most the relevant, you can choose to display your bestsellers or the products with the highest margin.

4. Shout About Your Promotions

When running any special offers or promotions, make sure that you’re setting these up within your Google Merchant Center. These will make your product listings stand out from the competition and can create a sense of urgency if they mention a timed offer. The types of offers you can set up include postage discounts, percentage-off offers, and bundle offers such as 3-for-2. If you don’t see the promotions feature available within your Merchant Center, you can register your interest here:  https://services.google.com/fb/forms/merchantpromotionsform/

5. Seller & Product Ratings

Another way to improve your click-through rate and help your listings to stand out from the crowd is to have product and seller reviews on your site. After you’ve received around 150 reviews, Google will display star ratings as part of your product listings. To gain these ratings you can either take advantage of the free Google Customer Reviews programme or use a third party review source such as Reviews.co.uk or Trustpilot.

 

For more advice on how you can drive more traffic to your website, call us on +44(0)161 826 3098 or email us at: startyourjourney@venditan.com

 

Stephanie Fenton
3 Oct 2018

10 Tips On Clearing Surplus Sale Stock

10 Tips On Clearing Surplus Sale Stock

Are your stockrooms and warehouses getting more and more jam-packed by the day? Are you struggling to shift your surplus summer stock and still make a profit? Fear not! Our top 10 tips for clearing sale stock will have you freeing up storage space for your new autumn product ranges in no time at all.

1. Summer isn’t over yet!

Autumn stock may have started to land in stores and online but the summer has only just begun, especially for families who are planning to go away during the school holidays. This is great news if you’ve still got lots of summer stock left. Make sure that you aren’t focusing too heavily on autumn stock when planning your marketing activities and merchandising your landing pages. Your customers may not be ready to start shopping for wooly jumpers and coats just yet, so show them all the beachwear and sunglasses you still have in stock.

2. Short of sizes

This tip stands for both full price and reduced items. One of the most frustrating things about browsing a website is seeing something you want on the category page, clicking into the product page and realising that they don’t have the size you need. To prevent your users from experiencing this negative feeling (and associating it with your site), if you don’t have full size ranges then display available sizes clearly on the category listing page so that the user can see whether or not you have what they are looking for before clicking through. You can also provide size filters on large category listing pages so that customers can easily identify the products that meet their requirements.

Many users browse sale sections of websites without a specific item in mind. Depending on the size of your sale section, it’s unlikely they will go through every single item. Therefore the quicker you can get suitable items in front of them, the more likely they are to buy.

3. Be clear on delivery charges

Many retailers exclude sale items from counting towards their free delivery thresholds. If you are one of those retailers, make sure you are displaying the delivery pricing clearly on sale items. Delivery charges are a big cause of basket abandonment so make sure you are clear from the outset.

4. Make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for

We see many retailers adding all of their sale items (sometimes hundreds) to a single listing page. Some don’t even offer category or product type filters! This is a nightmare for users in this time-poor age of impatience. Why make your customers work to find what they are looking for? A few additional landing pages will save them time and improve your chances of ranking organically for sale-related search queries. Break your sale into sensible categories but don’t go overboard – make sure you have enough product to fill each of the sub-categories.

5. Create a sense of urgency

It’s likely that you’ll only have few units per size/colour left by the time you go into sale. Use this to your advantage and highlight when there are only one or two left. This will create a sense of urgency and encourage the user to order now so they don’t miss out.

Source: http://www.topshop.com/

6. Marketplaces and comparison engines

As you’re in a hurry to sell your stock, make sure that it can be found in as many places as possible. Lots of users visit sites like Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping when looking to find the lowest price for an item. If you aren’t already, get your products listed and make sure that the feeds to sites like these – and any other third party sites – contain up-to-date pricing.

7. Highlight your returns policy

Let your users know that it is within their rights to change their mind and make sure that the returns process is as simple as possible. Offer a collection service and the ability to return to a local store, for instance. This will encourage them to act on impulse and not put too much thought into completing their purchase. Offering this kind of customer service may increase returns in the short term but it is likely to give you a competitive edge and increase lifetime value through repeat custom.

8. Cross selling

Don’t exclude sale items from the related/complementary items displayed on your basket and product pages. Their lower prices make them ideal as ‘add ons’ as users are far more likely to purchase discounted items on a whim. So long as you have your targeting set up right, this feature could be a great way to increase your average basket value during sale time.

9. Checkout optimisation for devices

As the purchases of many sale items are completed with less thought and consideration, the customer is also less likely to have a real need for these items. This means that if they have any problems completing their journey through the checkout they are more likely to drop out than persist.

Make sure you know which devices your visitors are using and ensure the checkout is optimised accordingly. Many retailers make their checkouts responsive but fail to optimise them for touchscreen users. Typing on a touchscreen can be painful so avoid making the user type where possible. Add placeholders to your fields and add validation ticks as confirmation that they’ve been filled out correctly – this will prevent them from having to go back and re-enter their details if they get them wrong. Offering options like PayPal, postcode look-up and saved card details all make the process much easier for a touchscreen user.

10. Highlight the saving

Make sure that your users know exactly how good your offer is. If you believe that you are selling at a competitive price then be clear and display the amount the customer is saving. Highlight this in red along with the sale price so that it stands out on the page.

To discuss unified commerce for one great customer experience, why not give John or Chris a call on 0845 521 0444 to see if we can help!

Stephanie Fenton
6th August 2018

Fulfilment, Logistics & Stock Management

Fulfilment, Logistics & Stock Management

Getting customers to your site and selling a product is just half the battle. Fulfilment is just as key.

Here’s a few thoughts and recommendations from the team at Venditan to round off the week…

  • Fast or free? Delivery options range – make sure you give the customer choice when it comes to cost and speed of service
  • Reliable – don’t get logistics wrong. It might not be quite as sexy as the front-end portion of your business – but get it right and you can save yourself a whole load of headaches and make the fulfillment process simpler for everyone
  • Invest in technology – stock management systems need to scale up as your business grows. As the volume of orders starts to increase you need to be sure that you are managing stock correctly – from goods in, to invoicing and packaging
  • DPD, Royal Mail, TNT, Parcel Force – the list of third party logistics/fulfillment/delivery companies is a long one. Shipping costs are a part of the business you can have a significant amount of control over. Do the research, understand your delivery offering and use the right services to ensure your margin isn’t squeezed
  • Amazon offer a fast, reliable and competitive fulfillment option. Send your stock to them and they’ll store it, sell it, pack it and ship it. Job done. Fulfilled by Amazon is a great opportunity if you’re looking to improve the service your customers receive while increasing revenue through a new stream
  • Yesterday. The most popular day of delivery – most customers would like their latest online purchase to be delivered to them as soon as feasibly possible. And they are willing to pay for it. Look for the fringe delivery services – for example, London Same Day delivery – not everyone will use it, but try and offer something that makes you stand out when it comes to fulfilling customer orders

Stephanie Fenton
11 June 2018

Battle of the Buzzwords: Why ‘Omnichannel’ Beats ‘Multi-Channel’ eCommerce

Battle of the Buzzwords: Why ‘Omnichannel’ Beats ‘Multi-Channel’ eCommerce

Believe it or not, there’s a gulf between ‘multi-channel’ and ‘omnichannel’ eCommerce.

Yes, they’re both buzzwords. Yes, they were both born out of the ongoing explosion in different sales channels. And yes, they’ve both been said so many times and for so long that we’re tired of hearing them…

But there’s also a vital difference here.

It’s a difference you can measure in your marketing ROI, in your creeping operation costs, and in your long term business growth. In short, it’s a difference every e-tailer should care about.

So here’s our guide to these two elusive terms, and exactly why they matter…

Multi-channel: the choice is yours

A ‘multi-channel’ approach means tackling the explosion of sales channels head on. It’s about meeting consumers wherever they prefer to be.

Simply put, multi-channel strategy means getting out there onto ‘multiple’ channels—the more the merrier…

Part of the shopping boom that’s doubled mobile commerce since 2010? Have a favourite marketplace in mind? Or are you like the 37% of consumers whose main shopping inspiration is social media? (PwC, Consumer Insights Survey 2018)

Whatever a consumer chooses, a switched on multi-channel retailer will have them covered, with a well-optimised platform ready at hand.

Being multi-channel is pretty much a given in modern eCommerce, and for good reason.
When 73% of shoppers use multiple channels to make retail purchases (McKinsey), more channels means more ways to drive sales, boost revenue and ultimately grow your business.

At least, that’s the theory…

73% of shoppers use multiple channels to make retail puchases

– McKinsey

Friction burns

The reality of shopping across channels is a little more complicated. Because consumers don’t just live their whole shopping lives in one channel—they move around.

“A consumer might get inspired to make a purchase on social media,” explains our own Chris Maule, “but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to buy then and there.

“For example, they might flick over to their preferred marketplace instead—maybe Amazon, maybe a price comparison site—so they can compare a few options. And when they do find an option they like, that consumer might head over to your desktop site and do some in-depth research, before buying a few days later from their phone, and expect to collect it in store at a time that suits them.”

A purely multi-channel retail strategy can’t cope with this kind of consumer. Multi-channel gives you a presence on all the right channels, sure, but it can’t link them together. Instead each channel operates in a silo, making sales and running operations in isolation.

The result is all too often a fragmented customer experience.

Enter the omnichannel

These days ‘omnichannel’ sounds like old news, another well-worn buzzword with plenty of years behind it. But it’s still achingly relevant for achieving growth in eCommerce.

Omnichannel strategy is a more sophisticated response to the growing range of shopping channels. It’s not just about meeting the consumer on multiple channels; it’s about making sure that they have a single, seamless experience across them.

“Simply put, omnichannel is multi-channel done properly!”
John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care, Time Warner Cable

Being omnichannel is a far more ambitious goal than multi-channel. It also offers far, far greater rewards. But is it really worth the extra time and investment to turn your multi-channel approach into a genuinely omnichannel eCommerce experience?

4 reasons to go omnichannel:

1. Popular demand

‘Omnichannel’ certainly isn’t a niche concept for consumers. Over 77% of shoppers want a more unified multi-channel experience—but just 20% of retail businesses say providing one is a strategic priority for 2018 (Manhattan Associates).

There’s an obvious gap between what consumers want, and what retail businesses are providing. This is a ripe opportunity to simultaneously delight your consumers, and stand out in a landscape where even the biggest eCommerce players struggle.

Over 77% of shoppers want a more unified multi-channel experience – but just 20% of retail business say providing one is a strategic priority for 2018.

– Manhattan Associates
2. Smarter use of staff time

The few extra seconds it takes for your warehouse team to manually log and chase stock can quickly add up, especially in peak season. That effect is multiplied tenfold when you’ve got different teams juggling different channels.

Omnichannel operations achieve a single inventory view across all channels, keeping teams across your entire business on track and on time—slashing costs while getting more from your back end operations.

3. Reduced stock holding

Managing stock can end up being a serious headache for retailers: either pay the price for larger reserves, or face the possibility of that dreaded ‘out of stock’ notice on your website…

The good news is that an omnichannel system sidesteps this conundrum. When you can see where your stock is across all of your channels, locations and suppliers—and see when you’re projected to sell-through—you’re primed to take swift action to maintain the precise level of stock needed.

The result is a smoother shopping experience for your customers, and warehouse investment freed up to start generating real ROI elsewhere.

4. Better marketing

Omnichannel operations are built on a ‘single customer view’, tracking customers across every channel they interact with—whether that’s in-store, online, mail order, events, or another channel altogether.

That gives omnichannel e-tailers a wealth of data to work with, and the ability to really get under their customers’ skin to learn what’s working, what isn’t, and where and how the business can move for maximum returns and future growth.

The hard work starts here

Getting omnichannel right is an immense opportunity for mid-sized retail businesses. Do the hard work—line up a genuinely seamless experience—and you might be stealing a march on even your biggest competitors.

But achieving omnichannel is easier said than done.

To get omnichannel tactics in action and working for your business, and slot them into your broader game plan for eCommerce growth, download our free eBook Beyond the Hype: Four Fundamentals For Sustainable eCommerce Growth.

Stephanie Fenton
16th May 2018

The Cost of Convenience: Can Your Business Afford Free Delivery?

The Cost of Convenience: Can Your Business Afford Free Delivery?

Consumer demands for delivery are blowing through the roof. Today’s online shoppers don’t just want hyper-convenient delivery and returns—they expect your business to provide them…

“The Amazon effect has raised everyone’s expectations about how fast products should arrive at our doorstep.” – PWC, Total Retail Survey 2017.

There’s no escaping it. E-Commerce businesses have to nail delivery.

Better delivery options are now the second biggest factor why consumers choose one online retailer over their competitors (KPMG). And high delivery costs are now the single biggest cause of basket abandonment at over 50% (MetaPack)…

What was once accepted as ordinary delivery times, now seems like a lifetime of unbearable delays.

But there’s a flipside. With convenient delivery in such high demand, getting it right can be a potent way to attract and convert consumers.

Fortunately, offering outstanding delivery isn’t as hard as it sounds…

Find your loophole

Too many e-tailers end up seeing decisions on delivery policy as a Catch-22—either you burn your margins trying to keep up with Amazon, or you refuse to play the game and lose all your sales to speedier competitors. It’s a tough one.

But there is a middle ground…

“A lot of the most effective strategies are far simpler than you’d expect. What retailers really need for competitive delivery isn’t just resources: it’s commitment too.”

– John Coyne, Venditan

Instead of committing to funding free delivery no matter the cost, smart retailers need to remember that details, partners and sheer work ethic go a very long way in this industry.

So here are 3 surprisingly simple strategies that will help you offer truly competitive delivery options, all while reducing costs and protecting margins.

1. Pick your partners

Outstanding delivery starts with the right partners.

Invest the time to take a hard look at your current suppliers. Are you really getting the best rates? Are you using their different service categories to full effect?

The key is to negotiate.

Remember, better rates from your courier usually comes down to the volume of shipments you’re processing. So if you’ve enjoyed recent revenue growth—and hence more shipments—pick up the phone, and check out the deals your current partners can offer.

If there’s nothing they can do, then it’s time to shop around and weigh up your options. Spending time and effort hunting for suppliers may feel like a distraction, but it’ll replay itself over and over if you can nail a better deal.

That said, we always recommend the Goldilocks principle in negotiations: look for a reasonable deal, not extremes. After all, the goal is getting a long-term partner.

The goal is getting a long term partner

2. Watch those margins

Don’t lose yourself in what other businesses are doing.

Amazon may be leading lights in consumers’ eyes, but the E-Commerce goliath also lost a colossal $7.2 billion on shipping in 2016, according to GeekWire analysis. Amazon, of course, have done their maths and know they can lean on their other services to make up the difference.

The example for other retailers is easy to spot. Get your calculations right, and if your business can’t afford to offer free delivery, don’t. Simple as that.

For example, we did work with Saltrock Surfwear to provide free standard delivery and collect+ for their customers—but only after making a serious and ongoing commitment to track and monitor their volumes and margins.

While the approach has drawn in major sales for their business, there are tightly specific cut off points: huge effort went into calculating margins and the right threshold for consumer spending before orders qualify.

The trick is once again commitment. First up, to getting your margin calculations right from the off. Second, putting aside time to keep tracking and adjusting on an ongoing basis.

Focus on what your business can offer, and you might just be surprised at how achievable some of those demanding delivery times may be.

3. Keep one eye on the clock

Offering a late cut off point for free next day delivery is simpler than most retailers expect.

The reality is many distribution centres are happy to take stock right up until 10pm if you take the time to ask them. You just have to make sure your staff can get down there and hand the stock over…

Instead of staffing your warehouse 8am till 2pm, staff it 4pm till 10pm. Recruiting staff for a later shift could equal a major customer convenience, helping to keep those demanding customers coming back.

Commit to convenience

Providing convenient delivery isn’t always exciting. Putting in tougher hours, keeping an eye on the margins, and spending time building smart relationships with suppliers all take time, effort and investment.

But get it right, and the rewards are yours to reap.

When consumers crave better delivery, handing it over is a sure fire way to beat out competitors and keep customers coming back for more.

Stephanie Fenton
2nd May 2018