Almost everyone has shopped online, it’s quick, easy, you can browse many items and compare prices across many retailers in a flash. Payment is generally safe, especially now the banks have their own online security processes (we cannot ignore some rouge websites unfortunately do still exist out there where you may never receive your purchase, although thankfully, these nasty sites are rare). The products are delivered to your door and whats more, you have more legal rights if your purchase was bought online rather than in a shop!
So how can you advertise your individual products online?
Well, eBay and Amazon obviously spring to mind. Both receive millions of visitors daily and have become firmly established as online shopping markets across the world. As consumers, we know the brands, we know what they’re about and ultimately, we trust them. Lets face it, trust is a big word in online shopping. However, have you noticed that more and more product images are appearing on your Google search results pages? If you search for something Google recognises as a product, you’ll find yourself not only looking at standard organic listings, but you’ll also see images associated to product listing ads. Over the years Google have altered their outlook on shopping online. In the early days, they offered these listings free which although would have generated traffic for Google, they did not actually make any money from it. Now however, it’s a paid service, in the same way as standard AdWords advertising is.
When this new model came into existence, many businesses who had previously been able to advertise easily and free of charge, suddenly found themselves out the market. The technical feed requirements which forms the mechanics of displaying your products online became stringent and businesses were simply unable to update their feeds to this new specification. This proved a major advantage for those business that did update their feeds as suddenly they found themselves within an open and quiet market with many others happy to simply maintain listings on EBay and/or Amazon.
But what if eBay or Amazon break? What if you suddenly find yourself kicked out of that market? What if the sales here drop? There’s no getting away from the fact Google is trying to rule the world and we all fall in to the trap of relying on Google. With millions of people accessing Google every day, can you afford not to be listed on here too?
True, creating the feed is the hardest part of being able to list products on Google Shopping. Thankfully, many ecommerce shopping cart systems such as Magento or BigCommerce are now able to create feeds automatically. Once created, you need both a Merchant Center account and AdWords account – both are relatively easy to set up.
Then, it’s down to optimising the data within the feed to ensure your products are shown at opportune times. Similar to standard AdWords ads advertising, as an advertiser, you only pay Google a fee when someone clicks on the ad. With online shopping on Google, the consumer sees the price of the product along with an image and descriptive title, all before they make the decision to click through to your site. Therefore, conversion rates are generally much higher on shopping ads than on standard text only ads. Again, another reason why if you own an ecommerce business you should consider using product listings ads.