PPC

Winning Over Holiday Shoppers In Search, Not Just Price

With the holiday shopping season underway, brand marketers and retail advertisers can’t underestimate the critical role SEM plays in shaping consumers’ shopping journey. Considering that 29% of shoppers first turn to Amazon to start their product searches, consumers have come to rely heavily on the wealth of product comparisons, ratings and reviews, visuals and price transparency that has been made readily available by search engines to influence their decisions.

Price doesn’t inspire brand loyalty

To attract comparison shoppers this holiday season, retailers may be tempted to adopt a low pricing strategy. While this may initially boost traffic and sales, competitors can easily undercut in price and can cause a brand’s perceived value and profitability to erode in the long run. And for many, like manufacturers who are being undercut by resellers or affiliates, or retailers who are competing with one another, having the lowest price point is not always feasible.

Keep in mind that even the most price-sensitive consumers are not immune to preferences and favoritism. Consumers are becoming vocal about not only wanting, but also demanding more from the brands they purchase from. They’re looking for a personalized shopping experiences and brands with strong social responsibilities. 94% of US internet users said “a consistently good customer experience” was a top reason for loyalty. An eMarketer survey revealed that 63% of shoppers said free shipping was the greatest influencer on where to shop online. Advertiser that create a value-based differentiation strategy, rather than narrowly focus on a low-price strategy, will inspire and drive customer loyalty.

A Winning Value-Based SEM Strategy

At iProspect, we believe in harnessing the power of a value-based strategy to improve customer value, which in turn can support higher pricing strategies. Small updates such as the inclusion of product reviews for Google Shopping ads have increased conversion rate (CVR) by 10 – 15%, even with higher prices of the same product from other retailers.  Larger account restructures helped one of our retail clients attain a 48% reduction in cost-per-click (CPC) and a 34% higher return on ad spend (ROAS) for Shopping ads; we accomplished this through a granular product feeds segmentation and a tiered bidding segmentation based on identified unique product attributes.

Here are some helpful tips advertisers can follow to attract, influence, and convert their most valuable customers in this price competitive retail market.

Take stock of those features and benefits that keeps existing customers coming back. Leverage CRM, website analytics and or remarketing data to develop robust profiles, which can include:

Segment your campaigns, audiences and product feeds based on those key attributes, and apply tiered bidding to more aggressively go after your highest valued consumers.

1. Take stock of those features and benefits that keeps existing customers coming back. Leverage CRM, website analytics and or remarketing data to develop robust profiles, which can include:

  • Brand Promise: Money back guarantee, brand story, mission, philanthropy, product reviews
  • Exclusivity: Special offers, limited releases, preorder
  • Convenience: Delivery options (free shipping, overnight, next day, in-store pick up), return policy

2. Segment your campaigns, audiences and product feeds based on those key attributes, and apply tiered bidding to more aggressively go after your highest valued consumers.

  • Use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) and Customer Match to prioritize re-engaging with brand-aware searchers who are most likely willing to pay more.
  • Take advantage of similar audiences for Search to find other searches who have a propensity to shop at your retailer’s site.
  • Breakout your Google Shopping feed by unique product attributes and revising product type accordingly.
    • Evaluate all data fields within your feed, whether required or optional, as they can have a significant role in a consumer’s purchase decision.

3. Strategically promote your retailer’s unique positioning in the marketplace by aligning which ad units and extensions you utilize with the shopper journey.

  • Exploration: Broad Category Searches
    • Ad Units: Showcase Shopping Ads (Google only), Text Ads, Shopping Ads
    • Ad Extensions: Image Extensions, Video Extensions (Bing only), Sitelink driving to YouTube (Google only)
  • Research: Product Searches
    • Ad Units: Text Ads, Shopping Ads
    • Ad Extensions: Extended Sitelinks, Review Extensions
  • Comparison: Value-Based Brand or Product Searches
    • Ad Units: Manufacture Center, Text Ads, Shopping Ads
    • Ad Extensions: Extended Sitelinks, Review Extensions
  • Transaction: Brand Searches
    • Ad Units: Local Inventory Ads, Purchase on Google (POG)
    • Ad Extensions: Call Extensions

Amid a crowded marketplace where everyone is clamoring for consumers’ attention with sales and discounts, leveraging a value-based SEM strategy refocuses advertisers’ efforts on achieving brand distinctiveness. This is a benefit that pay offs well after the holiday season has ended, because ultimately, winning consumers’ hearts, rather just than their wallets, is what keeps shoppers coming back for more.