The retail industry is always competitive and as consumers increase the share of their purchases online, it is becoming increasingly crowded. In 2021, French buyers increased their online spending by more than 15%, thus exceeding the 129 billion euros and the 8.5% growth observed in 2020. Faced with this observation, brands must all the more demonstrate innovative strategies and focus on their acquisition tools.
In the purchase journey, search engines are the first purchase destination for nearly 3 French consumers 10, while around 50% of them turn to Google to conduct their online research. Retailers therefore cannot ignore this trend and the power of search engines if they want to increase their conversion rates and improve their ROI.
To maximize online sales, retail brands must therefore take advantage of Google’s e-commerce offerings and fully optimize the tools at their disposal.
Online shopping: yesterday and today
Google launched its first product search engine in 2002, then known as Froogle. It gave retailers free advertising options and streamlined the digital consumer journey. This traditional search engine evolved over the next decade into Google Shopping, which monetized the product listing process and began operating with a PPC model, mirroring search ads. But whereas Google Search relies on advertisers entering the keywords they want their ads to show for, a Google Shopping campaign pulls those keywords automatically from the shopping data stream.
Therefore, to ensure that Google’s algorithms present their offers to target shoppers, retailers need to refine their shopping flow. This is one of the most effective approaches to increasing ROI.
So what do retailers actually need to do to get the best results?
The shopping flow is essential to ensure the profitability of a retailer
With the Google Merchant Center, retailers can manage their product feed and put in place the elements required to boost paid and organic searches. They can set product attributes, including product title, description, category, price, and image, and other information. When a consumer searches, these attributes are used by Google’s algorithms to determine which products should be listed, where they should appear, and how often.
The more information Google can access about a product, the more it will be visible on the search engine. Given the hypercompetitive environment and its multiplicity of players, retailers need to emerge in the mass of information by ensuring that their products are presented to the target consumers. Shopping feed optimization is a simple way to do this, but the reality is that many retail brands don’t prioritize their feeds or invest the time to maintain them. Between 20-70% of feeds are rejected by Google, impacting retailers’ ability to maximize impressions and sales.
Best practices for shopping flow optimization
To implement a competitive approach to Google Shopping, retail brands need to audit their feeds to ensure they meet Google’s standards.
For example, regarding the length of a product description, you should know that the Google algorithm prefers titles of 70 characters or less, because that is the number displayed on the results pages. Titles should also be clear and informative, and include details such as brand name, color, and keywords.
Retailers can identify keywords that articles are already ranking for in Google Ads and use them to enhance title and description text. To obtain a good positioning, it may be necessary to do some tests to identify the best title.
The product category is also an important attribute to optimize, there are thousands of them; here, Google’s product taxonomy comes in handy to find the most accurate one. The more precise the details of a product and the more attributes it has, the more it will be visible. Greater visibility increases the chances of relevant consumers checking out the product, for better online performance.
Get Inspired by Google: Automate the Process
Despite the meticulous nature of product flow, optimizing it does not have to be laborious. Retailers can rely on AI solutions to continuously check, modify and improve data entry for each product. Increasing the amount of data available for a product directly improves the quality of the shopping feed, ensuring products are displayed for the most relevant paid and organic searches. Because Google Shopping ads use a PPC model, the more interested an online shopper is in a product, the more likely retailers are to pay for high-intent clicks rather than irrelevant clicks.
Feeds can also be created and restructured automatically to meet a brand’s needs, helping to maximize impressions, drive sales, and minimize unnecessary spend on advertising campaigns. AI tools take care of the heavy lifting and free up time for e-commerce teams, allowing them to focus on more strategic and creative decisions, as opposed to monotonous “maintenance” tasks.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to stand out on the web, but retailers can achieve it by optimizing their Google Shopping feed. By adopting automated solutions, they can ensure that their shopping feeds meet Google’s standards. They improve the visibility of products on the search engine and increase conversions.
Author: Mika BabusCustomer Success Manager, Making Science France
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