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7 Common Challenges of ECommerce Business & Their Solutions

Over the last 10 to 15 years, Ecommerce has entirely revolutionized retail business. It not only just developed exponentially but also progressed and transfigured over time to meet the ever-changing desires and requirements of the modern day consumers.

According to Global outlook (2016-’21) of e-commerce business, worldwide marketers can expect steady growth through 2021, when sales will total US$28 Trillion.

Statistics says, e-commerce share of total global retail sales has seen great growth and this tradition will continue in upcoming years as well.

statista-ecommerce-sales-dataSource: Statista 2018

So, the reason is quite vivid why every offline business owner feels interested in shifting the business to online.

There are multiple advantages of opting for ecommerce business.

  • You don’t need a physical store anymore. Yes, you need to host a website, but that is cheaper than paying rent for a brick and mortar shop.
  • Ecommerce store requires less staff because the entire process is automated, and the human resources are used only for high-level functions.
  • Your market will get wider as compared to a physical store.
  • Your store can be opened for any new order 24/7.
  • By implementing right ecommerce SEO strategies, you can get great qualified organic search traffic.
  • You can track your logistics easily.
  • The communication with customers also becomes easy and effective.

Is that it? The answer is a big resounding NO. The coin has another side too.

There are some challenges that every ecommerce business owners have to face at some point of time while running their self-hosted websites. Today I will talk about these challenges and how you can solve them.

So without further ado, let’s start the discussion.

ECommerce Business Problems & It’s Solutions

#1 Poor Product Catalogue

Problem

The first problem, for ecommerce businesses, is caused by having poor product catalogue. Listing a product on your ecommerce website is not enough to get high revenue. If you have a substandard product catalogue, then all your effort to launch a product will go in vain.

So when can a product catalog be considered as poor?

Actually, there are some factors that define a product catalog as poor. Let me give you a brief about these factors.

  • Shoddy Images

An e-commerce store may have numerous products listed, vary from category, style, color, material, design etc. Not all who visit an ecommerce store have the mindset to buy something particular initially. Firstly, the image of a product catches their’ attention. This is the main tool for convincing them. A potential buyer closely checks a product image by zooming it, this image gives the buyer an idea how it would suit his/her utility. Buyer also likes to see products image in all angles so make sure your product shows everything what it has.

So, if you use poor-quality images for your products, then it will be next to impossible for you to turn your online store visitors into customers and increase conversion.

  • Improper product description

By going through detailed product information, customers know more about the purchase they’re considering.  It helps in increasing conversion rate. But when the product descriptions are vague and scanty, there’s a chance that you lose valuable customers.

In online retail stores, bare minimum product descriptions are often seen. Let’s have a look at an example of such product description below:

This is a screenshot of a short sleeve denim shirt’s description from the Gap website.

gap-denim-shirt-type

This decent looking shirt appears to be soft and comfortable. But if you cannot see the image, you have to rely on the description above, which only provides the barest information.

Another problem is having incorrect or grammatically errored product description on a website. Let’s have a look at a description of a product listed on Rakuten Global Market Website.

This description is of a coin purse/coin case:

rakuten-grammer-error

As you can see, there are many grammatical errors in this product description. It does not evoke anything, and for a website visitor, it’s difficult to understand what the product is about. When your prospective customers will not be able to understand your product properly after reading its description, they will lose interest in it, and eventually, you will lose profit.

Solution

When you are selling a product, being able to appropriately explain what it does, and how it can be beneficial is very important. Also, having clear images of that product from various angles is crucial.

Here are a few practices that you must follow:

  • Review product images listed in renowned ecommerce stores and get an idea
  • Hire a professional photographer or the people who have expertise in preparing catalogue
  • Address features and benefits in a comprehensive manner in the product description
  • Double check after writing to spot any grammatical error
  • Make your product description easy to read and skim; use bullet points, subheadings, large fonts etc.

#2 Unexpected Product Returns & Refund

Problem

The second and most common challenge of any ecommerce business is unexpected product returns and refund. This problem is costing so much money to any ecommerce business because refunding the amount and product return (shipping cost) is very costly now a days.

Research says around 30% of all products ordered from an ecommerce store are returned as compared to 8.89% in a physical store. Processing return, exchanges, and refunds are some remarkable problems that most ecommerce businesses face. Even if you have a well-developed packaging and shipping system, it’s not enough to manage returns and exchanges hassle-freely. Especially some customers opt for Cash-On-Delivery (COD) option, and refuse to accept the product – it results in huge revenue losses for many e-commerce companies.

Solution

The one and only solution is having a well-thought strategy and making sure that the strategy will be promulgated appropriately. Remember, the more hassle-free your return and refund processes are, the better way you can assist your customers. And when your customer assistance becomes flawless, you get more trust from customers and it will become long time customer. Create a page on your website, detailing all your return and refund policies. Put refund and return policy page link on every product page so customer can get the information easily.

While creating policies, be transparent in your writing, use simple English and maintain clarity to make the content easy to understand. Provide your customers varied options for payments and shipping. You should also educate your customer care executives properly about your policies so, that when they assist your customers, the entire process becomes effective and fast. And finally, be prepared to face the cost of your mistakes. If a product is shipped wrong, then take extra efforts to make the customer happy. Even when the fault is totally of your customer, don’t behave harshly to make him/her angry. Keeping your customers happy will make them come back to your site again and again.

We have seen some examples in past where cost of the product is very low and when customer returns it to ecommerce business than the return cost was higher than the cost of the product. In those cases ecommerce business owner tells customer that keep the item with you and we will either refund or send another item. In this way ecommerce business earns the trust of customer and gets mouth to mouth advertisement as well (Praise from customer) at the cost of minor amount.

#3 Deal with Negative & Suspicious Reviews

Problem

It is very common for an ecommerce business to be wrapped up in negative reviews. Anyone, having a running ecommerce business, has dealt with at least a couple of bad reviews.

And if everybody who has received negative product reviews closed up store, ecommerce simply would not exist.

If and when you receive a bad review, remember that it does not mean your product or service is bad. Most likely, the review was a result of mismatched expectations or simply a bad day on the part of the reviewer.

So, what is the best way to deal with bad reviews? Get more good ones!

And what about suspicious reviews? Being an ecommerce business owner, if you have found some reviews as fake or suspicious, let me tell you my friend, you are not alone in this scenario. According to a survey, there was a huge up-tick in the number of suspicious reviews even on Amazon website in 2016-’17.

Solution

When it comes to dealing with negative reviews, as I have mentioned earlier, a negative feedback does not define you are selling something wrong. You need to keep in mind that no product can gratify every customer, and negative reviews indicate that. Do not hide your negative reviews. People always trust a business that has both positive and negative reviews on its website, because it signifies that all the reviews are real and the brand is authentic.

When it comes to dealing with suspicious or fake reviews, allow only official buyers to add reviews on your products. Encourage your customers to leave honest reviews after buying a product. And do not enter any fake reviews from yourself.

ecommerce-certified -buyersIn reality, you cannot completely protect yourself from fake reviews, but you can reward with great products, superb content in product descriptions and good reviews.

Ecommerce business should send one email to customer after 10-15 days of purchase which consists information –

  • Did you liked the product?
  • How’s the quality of product?
  • How’s the quality of delivery?
  • Would you like to add detailed review of this product?.

Business shouldn’t send instant email to customer by saying that “Would you like to add review of this product?”. Because, customer might not used that product instantly and it takes time to use it and review it.
product-review-mailThis way you can earn honest review from the customer.

#4 Transparent & Fast Communications with Customers

Problem

Lack of transparent communication with customers and slow response to their inquiries make the people distrust your ecommerce store. Also, if your website doesn’t have any separate contact us page with detailed contact information, it becomes difficult for people to follow through and buy your products online.

Solution

To instill trust in your customers or website visitors you need to maintain a transparent and effective communication with them. It would be great if you provide contact information easily like phone number, email ID and other direct contact links.

amazon-contact-us-formHow?

Here are some ways:

  • Have a skilled customer care team that can meet every customer’s need as soon as possible and in the most effective manner.
  • Avoid sending an automatic response to any customer’s email. Send a personal note.
  • Create a Contact Us page and have its link or details on the website’s home page so that people can reach your business easily
  • Stay active across all leading social media platforms and engage with your audience. You can resolve any customer’s query on social platform as well.

amazon-social-media#5 Confuse to choose right advertisement channel for ecommerce store

When you are running an ecommerce store, it’s natural for you to hope for it to be a runaway success. But no matter how good your products/services are, without a solid advertising strategy your store will not work.

Are you confused about which particular platform will perfectly be suited for advertising your business? Then, you are seriously in trouble. You should not choose any random marketing strategy without having a proper idea. Well, you can do competitor research and have a better idea. But as a matter of fact, it will take a handsome amount of time and cost you well.

Solution

OLBUZ have 16 years of digital marketing experience and we know what will be right advertisement channel of platform for different kind of business. For an ecommerce business paid marketing platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads are the perfect platform. Ecommerce business should run shopping campaign on these platforms because it’s quite cheap compared to display network and search network and can reach maximum audience easily. Here is the one such example of Shopping Ads / PLA Ads.

Google shoppings ads iphone xOnce you decide the particular platform than you need to finalize target audience and the budget. Distribute the budget among online and offline advertising. However, depending on your business category and the target audience, you need to decide how much money you’ll spend on online advertisement and how much on the offline ones. Harness the benefits of Google Ads that can give you a high return on a low budget. If you are using social media channels for advertising, pick the right platform according to your business genre.

OLBUZ has plenty of Ecommerce clients, and we run shopping campaigns for them with right strategies, budget, target audience and location. We have always given more than expected results to our clients. One such shopping campaign performance example is below. Check out our Paid Marketing Case Studies for eCommerce Brand here.

#6 Cut-Throat Competitions

Problem

Ecommerce retailers often compete on price. There are some sellers who may list same products on their websites. The product is same but the only difference here is the price. They are competing to sell the merchandise to increase their market share. Such competition affects especially small ecommerce businesses very badly.

Another problem is there are some manufacturers and retailers, who may sell the same products, which you are selling on your website, directly to the people. Some even build distributors which make the entire scenario even worse.

Solution

To survive the cut-throat competition in this industry, business owners need to distribute their own inventory to fulfillment warehouses, act as resourceful shippers, or offer some extremely unique merchandise.

Online buyers appreciate speedy and free shipping that also at lowest price. Thus proffering a product at less price or with additional benefits can minimize all problems and help you increase your sales.

office-furniture-free-shipping

You should restrict the manufacturers to sell the products directly to customers by applying the policies and strict regulations while making the contract.

eCommerce promotion ideas is also one of the classic example to survive in the industry. Users loves to buy products at discounted rate or with other offers. Here is the list of promotion ideas which business owners can provide to their customers.

  • Free Shipping
  • Percentage Based Discount
  • Buy One Get One (BOGO) Offer
  • Free Item on $$$ Purchase
  • Coupon Code Discount
  • Quantity Based Discount

#7 Customer’s Loyalty

Problem

Does your business still struggle despite having amazing products on a superb looking website?

If it does, then the possible reason of it is that you haven’t yet built the customer trust and loyalty.

The main reason why ecommerce businesses find problems while building customer loyalty and trust is because a buyer and a seller are unknown to each other; they can’t see each other while making a transaction unlike shopping from a physical store.

Even loyal customers may switch to other options if they faced any problem with your service earlier.

Solution

To earn customer trust and loyalty, it’s a must for you to offer great customer assistance. Make sure your customers feel satisfied with your assistance throughout the process from ordering online to shipping.

Some more ways to instill trust in your customers-

  • Your complete address, contact number, photos of your staff, customer testimonials etc. should be visible on your website
  • Add live chat option and a blog section to your website
  • Provide good offers to existing customers
  • Create loyalty programs to encourage the buyers to shop

Conclusion

Considering the factors discussed in today’s post and implementing the solutions over time will contribute to how your ecommerce business grows. So what recent challenge you’ve faced while running your online store? How have you overcome it? Do share your experience in the comment section. I ‘d be glad to know.

How to Use Micro Moments to Double Your Sales from any (Nearly) Business – eCommerce, Local or Online

Google serve over trillions of search queries every year and out of them over 15% are new search queries they never received before. Day by day the way consumers behave in the digital world is going through a huge change. Especially with more internet searches now taking place on smartphones than desktop or other devices, more shopping searches being conducted from mobile and more local search queries being conducted on the go than ever before. That is why the worldwide ad spends for mobiles have also been immensely increased.

While working with big ecommerce brands, I have seen this swift very closely, especially in last two years. Research says, “We estimate global expenditure on mobile advertising at US$107 billion in 2017, representing 52.6% of internet expenditure and 19.8% of total advertising expenditure (this total excludes a few markets where we don’t have a breakdown by medium). By 2020 we forecast mobile advertising to have grown to US$180 billion, nearly double desktop’s US$94 billion total, having overtaken desktop in 2017. Mobile will account for 65.6% of internet expenditure and 29.3% of all expenditure in 2020 – more than all the traditional media except television put together”. This reflects the amazingly rapid growth of ecommerce marketing on mobile which has brought a revolution among the advertisers and the consumers.

mobile internet growth

It has been noticed that consumers make decisions according to mobile content that serves the appropriate purpose at the appropriate moment. Content, hence, should be addressed to users intentions and accessible everywhere – throughout different device types, various platforms, and varied channels. And in this context, the importance of micro moments comes.

Are you thinking what micro moments are? Well, in this post, that is exactly what I am going to discuss today. After going through today’s post, you will come to know how ecommerce business is dependent on micro moments and in which way these moments can change the game of sponsored advertising. If you really understand these micro moments of your prospect customers, you can definitely increase the sales through your eCommerce website.

Micro Moments - The Game Changer in Online Business World

What is Micro Moments?

Google has nicely classified the Micro Moments which is an intent-rich moments, occur when people turn to a device, especially a smartphone, to act on a need – to know, do, buy, or go. This is a unique way to influence consumers or to get more customers which lot of marketers are still unaware of or don’t leverage it.

Micro MomentsLet me tell you more elaborately what these Micro Moments are:

  • “I want to know” moments – These occur when people research or explore something, but are not really in buying mode.

For example, after adopting an Abyssinian cat, a user has started wondering “what type of food should I get for this cat?” Instead of asking somebody in the family or among friends, the user intuitively picks up the phone and types “best food for abyssinian cats”.

Here the audience is still not in buying position but He may become your customer in the future. If you are looking to expand your brand reach, you can also target “I want to know” users. Here the conversion rate will be low but you can re-target such audiences during “I want to buy” moment.

  • “I want to do” moments – These occur when people require assistance in finishing a task or trying something new.

For example, a user just finished a woodwork for decorating his or her house interior. Now the user wants to stain the wood but is not aware of its actual process. Instead of taking advice from a professional, the user turns to the smartphone and type “how to apply wood stain.” If you are working on content marketing campaign to target such audiences, building such content may result in better ROI for the longer run.

This type of audience generally seeking help but sometime they may need professional services to complete the task and you may generate more business. Building DIY guides and resourceful content promoted through the proper channel can help you to reach proper audiences in specific region.

  • “I want to go” moments – These occur when people search for the local businesses or consider purchasing something or availing a service at a nearby store.

For example, if somebody from a small town in New York wants to increase some muscle mass, the person will naturally pick up the phone and type “gym near me”. This is the best moments for the businesses operating local services. Google provides tremendous opportunity for the business to target these “I want to Go” audiences through Google adwords.

  • “I want to buy” moments – These occur when people decide to buy something and probably require help in what to buy or how to buy it.

For example, on the way back to home from the office, a user feels hungry and wants to grab a bite of pizza. But incidentally all the nearest pizza places are either too noisy to place an order or have no seats available. Instinctively the user picks up the phone and types “order dominos pizza” or “order from pizza hut”.

This micro moment can be best target for an eCommerce website where you specifically run the ads for the “I want to buy” related search queries. Here the conversion rate will be higher and you can generate better ROI too. I know that Shopping ads does not provide the facility to target keywords but you can definitely control them by optimizing shopping feed and using negative keywords list.

Hope you have understood that these acts or moments help the consumers make decisions and shape preferences. In these moments, the expectations of the consumers stay at the highest pick. Thus the marketers should be aware of the micro moments to meet the ever-changing expectations of the consumers and capitalize those moments through flawless consumer interaction.

Micro Moments - The Game Changer in Online Business World 2

What Opportunities Micro Moments Bring for an E-Commerce Marketers?

Research says across numerous major industries, the volume of online searches, especially from mobile devices, is growing year after year. For example, in the home and garden industry, mobile search volume has been increased around 45% year-on-year, whereas the year-on-year growth of mobile search volumes is around 40% in electronics and apparel sector and around 30% in food and beverage industry.

This growth certainly brings a handful of opportunities for the emarketers to communicate with their target audience, build brand loyalty, make customer relationships stronger and nurture conversations. And in all these major areas, a detailed understanding of micro moments can help immensely and can be used as a marketing resource.

If you have a brand to promote, you should turn to micro moments to uplift your brand’s search marketing performance. By being there and staying useful precisely when it is required, you can utilize micro moments as the means of elevating engagement and Return on Investment (ROI).

To be successful in this process, the marketer needs to be aware of the methods to leverage the micro moments the best possible way and what those moments actually look like for their respective brands and the customers. If you make sure that you will be able to be there, give useful answers to every customer and offer a good user experience, there is nothing that can stop you to reap the benefits.

Micro Moments - The Game Changer in Online Business World 3

How to Optimize Adwords Campaign According to Micro Moments

As we already discussed four key micro moments in first part of the article. Now you need to understand that for each moment, users search for particular piece of information. Now, let’s talk about how you can optimize your Adwords campaign and map your ad to the users’ search intents in each of those micro moments.

1. Optimize Your Ad for “Want to Know” Moments

An ideal ad that maps to the query of this kind of micro moment denotes the users that they will get the information they are looking for once after clicking the ad. Such ads can comprise product comparison charts, a click to call link for more information, user-friendly information on a landing page etc. And make sure the pages, having all the information, are mobile-friendly.

comparison between

Detailed comparison data with your competitor product will do the magic here. Representation of information is the crucial part for this type of audiences.

2. Optimize Your Ad according to “Want to Go” Moments

An ideal ad to meet the query of this type of micro moment shows local result and highlights that it can be conveniently mapped out. This micro moment can give you a competitive advantage if you make your ad local in the best possible way.

Google location map

Are you thinking what are the best ways to make your ads local? Well, there are two basic strategies that you should follow:

  • Harness the benefits of location extensions. Connect your Google AdWords account with your Google Places account to active the extensions.
  • Add the location in the ad title.
  • You can also run the call only ads

This way you can tell your users that how exactly your ad is relevant to their “I want to go” micro moments.

3. Optimize Your Ad according to “Want to Buy” Moments

If you want to optimize your ad according to this specific type of micro moment, you need to provide information that matches such queries or show to the users the ways of buying directly from their own devices, especially cellphones.

You can use Adwords shopping campaign to implement local inventory ads, providing details about your business, store, and products. Here you need to user negative keyword lists to stop appearing your ads for other type of micro moments and should focus more on “Want to buy” moments.

4. Optimize Your Ad according to “Want to Do” Moments

An ad, which matches the best with the search query of this type of moment, proffers clear-cut step-by-step directions about the ways to achieve the task a user is looking for. Make sure your ad should be informative rather than mere promotional.

One of the great formats to meet such queries is video content. However, you must ensure that your ad can take a user to a properly optimized mobile-friendly landing page with particular instructions. You can also run video ads to target this type of audiences.

Believe me, this type of ad can help you attain a certain level of goodwill with the users and introduce them to your products.

Over to you

Hope this post has given you a detailed idea about micro moments and their impact on the marketing strategies. So, what are you waiting for? Take your Adwords campaign to the next level by optimizing it according to the micro moments those are relevant to your business. If you have already started using tactics to optimize it, do share your experience with us in the comment section. We’d love to know.

Have you Optimized Your Google AdWords Account with these 4 New Features?

Google adwords optimization is not just a process but it is an art! If you are not optimizing your account regularly, you will end up looking potential business and tremendous market share. Recently, Google unveiled a bunch of new AdWords features to aid you with a stellar performance in every single paid search campaigns. Today, we will quickly take you into every detail to put these highly functional features at work. Here we go!

Higher CTR with Promotion Extensions:

Since the launch of AdWords, usage of ad headlines and description has been imposed on us. Not anymore! We have seen discussion about AdWords promotion extension back in May while it was still in the nascent stage. Google has finally pronounced them to advertisers.

Promotion extensions allows advertisers to add monetary and percentage discount into their text ads. Promotion extension is a true blessing for the business offering great discount on their products. Now they can highlight the offers directly on their search ad copy. It will not only improve the CTR but also improve the overall conversion rate by driving more relevant audiences.

For instance, imagine the scenario; you are selling soaps in your locality. The soaps are natural and handmade with love in so many varieties to choose from. Instead of having a season specified ad to share your discounted sale, add a standard extension to your account like;

Promotion experience within the new AdWord Experience.

promotion-extension-adwordsThis is going to get your ad popping up on a search engine. As a result, the sale is going to reach new heights with a magnitude in price. There are a few add-on benefits to this.

It lets you keep your sale and promotions updated without having to interfere with your ad copy. The headlines and descriptions can be used to amplify ad relativity. This also means that you do not have to start from scratch to improve the site’s visibility factor. Both means that boosting your seasonal sale on the search engine doesn’t happen at the cost of compromised quality scores and Increased cost per click.

Google adwords promotion extension also helps in maintaining your headline intact. Instead of letting “hurry up!!” go in place of “buy one, get 40% off on another”, you’ve got the room for both.

Test the ad performance with Ad variants:

Talking about ad copy adjustments, Google lets you test those variants as a whole.

Anybody who manages PPC projects, loves to do A/B testing to improve the performance of client’s account. Uploading several copies of the ad in which one component is changed and rolled against to determine its effectiveness has been a pain. With Google Ad Variants, this job is going to be a cakewalk. Ad Variations are simply multiple version of ads for single product or services which are based on same set of keywords. Ad Variation is good feature to check many Ad versions to test which one is working well for targeted customers.

If you are already exploiting the power of the new AdWords Experience, you already know your way to the new Ad variation Tab. If you don’t know then follow below process.

  • Sign in to AdWords Account
  • Select Drafts & Experiments from left menu bar
  • Go to Ad Variations tab

adwords-ad-variationsWithin the same interface, you can:

  • Find and replace certain words in your Ads.
  • Update the whole text components.
  • Reverse your headlines

I mostly opt for the last one where you can play with the captions to improve ad relevance and force your potential customers to respond.

In case you decide to run the Ad variant, carefully watch the experiment split section tucked at the bottom of the third step. The most important task of assigning start and end dates are also here.

Experiment Split means the proportion of your ad campaign’s budget that’s administered to the variations and proportions of auctions your modifications incapable of participating in. If you only want to play around with a small part of your advertising budget, manage the split accordingly.

Custom Intent Audiences:

The display network can seem like a bit of gamble at times. Without limiting or altering your ad placements, your creative banner is overlooked in the middle of junks that are meant only to channel a bit of money to industrious basement dwellers.

This is not an issue when it comes to remarketing as previous actions may still be present in front of them irrespective of all the trash.

How many of us have always wondered if there were any methods to reach those people who were still looking out for what only you could do?

Here it is!

adwords-custom-intent-audienceTip – Custom Intent Audience is only available for Google Display Network

According to Google, custom intent audiences use ” machine learning technology to analyze the campaigns that are present and auto create custom intent audiences…based on the most searched keywords and URL’s found in those contents that people surf while researching a given product or service” Ones did, these novice audiences will become a part of your existing display network audience.

For instance, these are entirely a few examples of auto-created custom intent audiences that have come up in our account.

In short, Google uses data from your AdWords campaigns, website, and YouTube to conclude what you are selling, then cross-reference that against humanity to auto-generate new, potential audiences. This sort of audience creation channels Googles towards Facebook- kind, the audience-centered method of focusing the display network.

As an addition to this sort of Skynet- created targeting options, you can create your custom intent audiences using a combo of URLs and Keywords.

Remarketing the audiences via Gmail:

Yes, it is not possible to target the audiences by displaying the dynamic advertisement of the product which he / she recently explored. As most of the people having gmail account and re-targetting them will give you one more channel to acquire highly targeted audiences.

gmail marketing

Google’s has named it as “an immersive shopping experience” in your client’s inboxes. I’m calling it “god sent”. If you are someone who is consistently on the look-out to reach the prospects straightaway during the most significant shopping days around the year, then this is for you. OLBUZ team personally experienced high CTR from Gmail Ads in past for various clients so we can recommend to use Gmail remarketing for eCommerce business with smaller budget first to test the performance.

Above features will surely help business owners to boost leads, conversions and sales but if they use them wisely. Every business has different strategies and to find right one contact OLBUZ team to analyze your AdWords account to boost your business.

Key Advantages of Running Shopping Ads [Google and Bing]

Are you an eCommerce business owner and looking for some extra push on generating revenue? This article is for you.

E-commerce is a highly flourishing business off late where millions of customers across the globe are shopping via internet sites rather than hitting stores physically. With increasing demands, more and more numbers of e-commerce sites are being created and launched on the web. As per the research, eCommerce sales in US is expected to grow more than $400 billion by 2018. Forrester research estimating $414.0 billion and eMarketer is estimating $491.5 billion eCommerce sales in 2018.

ecommerce sales 2018(Source: eMarketer, Forrester Research)

Does your eCommece marketing strategy is ready to acquire this ever increasing sales? To acquire this growing market, it is very important to implement few basic yet effective and new marketing channels. Product listing ads is one of such channel having various key advantages over other marketing channels we will discuss in this article. Search engines like Google and Bing are few of the top places from where you can start promoting your products through shopping campaigns. As per Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q4 2015, Google PLA clicks has increased by 62% & Bing product ads clicks are increased by 91% Y/Y.

Paid search click data
While managing paid marketing campaigns of big brands and controlling around $4K daily budget, I found Shopping ads are more effective for an eCommerce brand as compare to other type of ads.

On an average, cost per conversion of shopping campaign is around 30% down as compare to search ads campaign.

Though running PLA ads might need some technical expertise on the part of the marketer, yet it is more effective for the business when ROI is considered. As I have already discussed more about PLA, in this article we mainly focuses on advantages and will share what expert has to say about product listing ads. Here we go!

Main Advantages of Running Shopping ads on Google or Bing

As we all knows, Google and Bing are the two most widely used search engines across the globe has over 85% market share combine. Keeping this fact in mind, initially we should focus on these two platforms. Each has its own advantages but here we will discuss few common advantages their shopping campaign offers:

#1 Multiple Campaign Management with Better Control

Managing shopping campaigns is an art as all products will be fetched in shopping campaign simultaneously. Here you can categorize products by adgroups and labels depending upon your requirement. Even you can create different campaigns for different set of products and control the campaign specific ad serving. When you are running a business campaign, you are doing the same with some purpose. Therefore it is obvious that with better control of the campaign, you can do better. With the Campaign Priority setting, which is available in Google as well as Bing, it is possible to set preferences as which campaign should precede the other. Ads from high priority campaigns will get priority during serving. With custom labels, tagging of products can be done in a structured manner.

How to set campaign priority in Google shopping campaign?

Adwords shopping campaign setting

Follow below steps to set priority for shopping campaign in Google adwords:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Go to the Settings tab of the campaign you want to edit.
  3. Select Shopping settings (advanced).
  4. Next to “Campaign priority,” click Edit.
  5. Select the priority setting you want: “Low” (this is the default), “Medium,” or “High.”
  6. Click Save.

Mostly the steps will be same for Bing shopping campaign too.

#2 Highly Optimized for Product Specific Marketing

With Google or Bing Shopping campaign, it is possible to have specific performance information on every product. When complete product inventory is provided directly in Google AdWords or Bing ads account, the campaigns can be structured as per categories and product groups (that can be managed while creating shopping feed file) so that marketers have higher control and focus on the bidding strategies. Great emphasis is laid on the products, which are categorized in different manners. Product groups can be created based on custom labels, brand, type of product, condition and so on. A single product group might have a Shopping Campaign running against it.

See below screenshot from Google adwords shopping campaign where product groups are devided based on Custom label 0. You can control negative keywords, bidding or even targeting for each adgroups that can be categorized by specified product groups you create.

select product group

#3 Better Access to Competitive Metrics

The main target of running Shopping Campaigns is not only to increase sales of the products, it is also helps to get a thorough insight into the competitive market. With Google and Bing shopping campaigns; marketers have clear insight into the competitive market and landscape. It is possible to understand competitive data like benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, search impression share etc.

Here is the brief about each competitive metrics mentioned above:

Benchmark CTR: The benchmark clickthrough rate (CTR) tells you how other advertisers’ Product Listing Ads for similar products are performing based on how often people who see their ad end up clicking on it.
If your PLA ad CTR is much lower than benchmark CTR, you can work on optimizing title, description, image and other visible data to improve the CTR of your ads in Google search result.

Benchmark Max. CPC: The benchmark maximum cost-per-click (max. CPC) tells you how other advertisers are bidding on similar products.

Search Impression Share: Search impression share is the impressions you’ve received on the search network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.

Based on various data it displays, it is easier to create better strategies and take vital marketing decisions.

#4 Easy to Integrate with Your Adwords or Bing Shopping Campaign

Few years back when PLA was introduced, product extensions were needed so that the campaign could be linked duly with the product catalog from merchant account. But after implementation of Shopping Campaigns, there is no need of any kind of product extension. This is because in Shopping Campaign, the catalog is automatically linked as a part while the campaign is being set up. You can create separate shopping campaign (which is already available in both Adwords & Bing Ads account) and link your merchant account directly from there. Here is the brief information on setting up Google & Bing shopping campaign.

Bing Shopping Campaign:

Bing PLA setup

Official guide on setting up Bing shopping campaign: http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/33581/how-to-set-up-a-bing-shopping-campaign

Google Adwords Shopping Campaign:

Checkout below official video guide on setting up adwords shopping campaign.

#5 Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Performance data is the crucial part for any marketing strategies. Both the platforms provide nice reporting facility to view the performance of your campaign. You can view performance data by product attribute or directly the product depending upon your requirement. Performance metrics are generally associated with an individual item and not with a product group. It is possible to segment and filter data as per product attributes. These are inclusive of Google product type, product brand, product category, product condition, custom labels and product id.

Checkout below official video by Google adwords explaining advanced reporting feature of their shopping campaign:

If you found any product not performing well in shopping campaign then don’t panic, you can change that products bid individually too. Yes, it is possible for large catalog too. First identify and list out the products along with its product group which are not performing well. Later go to that product group and sub-group the products which are not performing well and increase or decrease bid depending upon your requirement.

product group Google adword

Apart from these, shopping ads also offers various advantages to sellers. To discuss this point in more details, I approached few experts from digital marketing industry having good experience in managing shopping campaigns for their clients or their own eCommerces business. Here are their views on shopping ads advantages:

Jane Dizon (Digital Marketer)

Jane Dizon is a digital marketer at RoadHolland.com and having vast experience in selling stylish cycling apparel and accessories online via Shopify.

One advise I’d like to give to vendors using shopify is using a manual feed instead of the Google Shopping app. The app, in fairness, is easy to use but has a lot of limitations especially to product variations. If you sell single items, you could give it a try, but if you sell products in varying colours and sizes, then stick to the manual feed. BUT if you’re dealing with thousands of products, then it wouldn’t be realistic managing that manually, so I recommend investing on a great data feed management service like GoDataFeed. Basically, one of the advantages of doing Products Listings Ads on GShopping is you’re exposing your products on users with the intent of purchasing. With the comprehensive attributions, the search results are tailor-made to what the user is looking for. You are targeting and catering the right audience for your products.

I sent few question to Jane and here is the feedback i received:

You mentioned about hurdle; according to you, which is the most challenging hurdle while setting up shopping campaign?
For me, it’s always the initial stage. When you start doing Google Shopping, you don’t see much results at first. That’s discouraging. You should be patient and keen to experiment on different strategies because it takes time before you see the results you want

We have seen, mobile bids adjustment is the crucial part to control ad spend. How do you manage mobile bid adjustment?
We follow a formula:

(Value per mobile click/Value per desktop and tablet click) – 1 * 100

Where value is total revenue per device/total number of clicks on that device.

Do you use any tools to manager and generate shopping feed? Which is your favorite tool?

Currently, we don’t use a tool since our product catalog is small and can be managed manually. But before, when I had a client that has thousands of products, we used GoDataFeed and it worked wonders.

According to Vipin who is digital marketing manager at Acodez, the key advantages of running shopping campaign are:

#1 Retail Centric Campaign Management

Shopping campaigns are retail centric that means you can place your top selling product in-front of online customer as we do in retail store. If you are using Google Shopping you can easily review and manage your own inventory. You can bid for specific product, sub categories or even categories. with Google Shopping campaign you can avoid highly manual process.

#2 More Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Shopping campaigns provide you highly accurate reporting capabilities, which you may not get through you store reporting. You can track how well your products are performing based upon size, sku, color, etc.

#3 Track Your Competitors at Every Turn

You can see benchmark data, CPC and CTR of other advertisers for similar products so you can make your own competitors analysis and act according to it.

#4 Analyze the Future

You can check out the bidding rates at which your ads will performs you can use Bid simulator to track your performance based on your bidding amount. By this you can get some extra clicks by applying a small amount of increase in your bidding.

#5 Re-marketing Campaign

Re-marketing is one of the best options for shopping campaigns; here you can re-target the person who has searched for a particular product with best available price for this same product and can display ads with similar product. This feature is known as dynamic Re-marketing.

For those who are not aware of re-targetting / remarketing can follow this step-by-step guide by Neil Patel.

I also got a chance to speak with Pamela Wagner, a former Googler and now owner of an agency. According to her, the key advantages of shopping campaign are:

  1. Easy to set up in Google AdWords
  2. Especially good for branding purposes: being seen counts almost more than being clicked on.
  3. Once you set it up and have crossed the first hurdle, it basically runs on its own. One only needs to adjust the negative keywords every now and then, and eventually work with the mobile and ad scheduling bid adjustment. So, this means there is very low maintenance if you have set up the right updating system for the feed.
  4. Great optimization opportunities in terms of ad groups and sorting products in many different ways: brands, types, custom label, etc.

Then I asked few specific questions to Pamela and here is her reply:

According to you, which is the most challenging hurdle while setting up shopping campaign?
Getting the feed right. A lot of people really struggle the feed and don’t know that Google actually offers a really good instruction on their support page.

Do you use any tools to manager and generate shopping feed? Which is your favorite tool?
My favorite is still a simple excel sheet. (Though I haven’t worked yet with too complex feeds)

As you can clearly understand from their reply, shopping ads offers great advantages for an eCommerce brand and one should definitely go for it. Before i complete the article, here is my conclusion i compiled based on my research and feedback received from experts.

Conclusion:

In the ever dynamic world of internet marketing, strategies keep on changing. Marketers also keep on implementing one strategy after another and check out which work best for the business. As per the research I shared at beginning of the post clearly revealed that among the different online marketing strategies, product listing ads played vital role in eCommerce business promotion and its click share continued to outpace search in January 2016, accounting for 52% of total clicks versus search at 48%. And this is because we should never ignore this opportunity that may change your business forever.

The implementation of Google and Bing shopping campaigns might seem little difficult in the beginning, but once you done with the set up; they are sure to bring exceptionally great results. The e-commerce platforms are sure to leverage the new marketing tactic to get best results.

For any help or assistance, you can always write me here by comment or contact with your query. I will get back to you within 24 hours for sure!

Google Adwords Express – A True Blessing for Small Business Owners

For small business owners looking to gain through local advertising, Google has launched an adwords express few years back. To make this program more users friendly, Google adwords express team keep including new features. If you are a small business and want advertise through Google adwords, this tool can be your best companion. This new addition comes in as a result of many small business owners avoiding the use of the traditional Adwords due to its complexity. The new Adwords Express is simple to set up and can be hosted quickly to enjoy the benefits of online advertising. The tool doesn’t require daily review and management and as such caters to the limited resources of a small business or start up.

Google adwords express is the best tool if you want to advertise your business locally. You can easily promote your brand, services with easy to use features available in Adwords express described below.

Features of Google Adwords Express

  1. Local business: This feature has been integrated to work with Google Places wherein your advertisement will pop up in any search query made within targeted region of your store.
  2. Google Places: If you own a physical store and do not own a website, don’t worry. Local businesses don’t necessarily need a website to use Google adwords express. The traffic from the SERPs is guided to the Google+ business page. Alternatively, you also have the option to link your website to the Google Adwords Express account.
  3. Automatic Keywording: Google automatically assigns the top keywords associated with the business category. If you are engaged in more than one business you can also have more number of ads.
  4. Map Search: Advertisements get synced with Google Maps making it easier for customers to reach out to you. Your customer can easily locate your business with the help of map search and can use guided navigation to reach your business without hassle.
  5. Search PPC: Similar to regular Google Adwords, advertisements through Adwords Express too show up in SERPs but you pay just for the clicks.
  6. Mobile Search: Advertisement shows up in SERPs regardless of the device; laptop, smart phones, tablets or any other device. You prospect can see your advertisement with your mobile numbers and can directly call you from there. It will increase the opportunity to improve the call-to-conversion of your advertisement.
  7. Coupons: Google Adwords Express allows you to promote coupons in your Google Places Page. You can easily promote different offers, coupons and discount to your target audiences with the help of this feature.
  8. Full Ad: The Google Adwords Express advertisements will include all necessary details including ad headline and contact information like business address, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and a blue map that helps pin the ad on Google Map.

Adwords express the best product for small local businesses or first time advertisers who never tried Google adwords before. It offers some unique easy to use features that don’t require daily monitoring and management. Here are some unique advantages of Adwords express for small businesses.

Small business cycle shopAdvantages of Google Adwords Express for Small Businesses

  1. Ad campaign is set up and automatically managed by Google, and there is little customization that you need to do. Does not require expertise in Google adwords. If you are first time adwords users and doesn’t know how it works; adwords express will help you to try paid advertisement opportunity without hiring an online marketing agency.
  2. Deploying Google Adwords Express can be immediately followed by serving advertisements to all potential customers.
  3. Small businesses don’t necessarily need a website to drive in traffic. If you are having physical store, you need to create Google local business listing and the audience will be guided to the relevant Google Places Page from an advertisement.
  4. The monthly budget is highly flexible and can be changed whenever deemed necessary. You can keep them as per your requirement and can increase or decrease depending upon ROI you are generating.
  5. Google automatically takes up the responsibility to serve ads in the local market, such that the ones who click are true potential buyers. Based on information you provides, adwords express will manage the advertisement display.

Google Adwords Express is really fast and simple way to promote your local business and brand in the internet. True that Adwords Express doesn’t come with all the features one would find with Google Adwords, the ones that do exist serve all the needs of a small business. Also, businesses can choose to switch from the Google Adwords Express version to the more powerful Google Adwords version whenever they want.

Major difference between Google Adwords & Adwords Express:

Adwords express is the easy to go product for the small businesses and first time adwords advertiser. You don’t require a website and Google will automatically show your ads in Google search, Google maps and their partner website. You will not require managing campaign as it will be automatically optimized by Google adwords express. There are limited features available for small businesses and you will have to use Google adwords to use all those advance features.

Adwords is the best tool for businesses who want to promote their products or services beyond local targeting. You can advertise nationally and internationally by selecting specific keywords, advertisement and location. You will have all advance features in which you can create multiple adgourps with your own keywords and advertisement. You can get detailed report and will have other advance tools to manage your campaign. If you have an eCommerce website and want to advertise your products, you can use Google shopping campaign by integrating your merchant feed with Google adwords.

Conclusion:

If you are a small local business and want to manage your adwords advertising in-house, adwords express is the best tool for you. For other businesses that need to expand the reach with advance targeting should definitely go for Google adwords. You can always get expert advice and solution from Google adwords partner like us.

Should you have any query or need assistance in setting up Google adwords express or adwords campaign, do write us. Our representative will get back to you within 24 hours.

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