The retail industry is always competitive, and as consumers increase their share of their online purchases, it is becoming increasingly competitive. In 2021, French shoppers increased their online spending by more than 15%, thus surpassing the 129 billion euros and the 8.5% growth observed in 2020. In light of this, brands must increasingly demonstrate innovative strategies and invest in their acquisition tools.
In the purchase journey, search engines are the first purchase destination for almost 3 French consumers 10, while around 50% of them turn to Google to carry out their online searches. 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 ecommerce 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 simplified the digital consumer journey. This traditional search engine evolved in the following decade into Google Shopping, which monetized the product listing process and started to operate with a PPC model, mirroring search ads. But while Google Search relies on advertisers entering the keywords they want their ads to appear for, a Google Shopping campaign automatically pulls those keywords from the shopping data stream.
So, 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 really need to do to get the best results?
The purchase flow is essential to ensure a retailer’s profitability
With Google Merchant Center, retailers can manage their product feed and implement the elements needed to drive paid and organic searches. They can define product attributes including product title, description, category, price, 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 in the search engine. Given the hypercompetitive environment and its multiplicity of players, retailers need to emerge from the mass of information ensuring that their products are presented to 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 take the time to maintain them. Between 20 and 70% of feeds are rejected by Google, affecting retailers’ ability to maximize impressions and sales.
Best practices for optimizing the purchase flow
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 Google’s algorithm prefers titles of 70 characters or less, as this is the number displayed on results pages. Titles should also be clear and informative and include details such as brand name, color and keywords.
Retailers can identify keywords for which articles are already ranked in Google Ads and use them to enhance the title and description text. To get a good placement, it may be necessary to do some tests to identify the best title.
Product category is also an important attribute to optimize, there are thousands of them; here, Google’s product taxonomy is helpful to find the most accurate. The more precise the details of a product and the more attributes it has, the more visible it will be. 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 painstaking nature of the product flow, optimizing it doesn’t have to be work. Retailers can rely on AI solutions to continuously verify, 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 show up 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 automatically created and restructured 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 rather than monotonous “maintenance” tasks.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to stand out on the web, but retailers can achieve this 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 in the search engine and increase conversions.
Author: Mika BabusCustomer Success Manager, Making Science France
(c) Fig. DepositPhotos