For smaller e-commerce brands, the Google Shopping platform allows you to promote your products to a greater audience. If done right, you can elevate your entire business by drawing people to your website and selling more products. For established e-commerce brands, Google Shopping is just one of the many multichannel networks your brand needs to invest in order to remain competitive. Here is your ultimate guide to Google Shopping & how to make the most of it.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping works like Images or Maps: you perform a search and Google will come up with relevant options in an easy-to-use carousel. This will only happen for buyer intent keywords, or words that Google knows are likely to end in a purchase.
When a user searches for an item, like a hat for example (pictured above), Google will display top shopping results for where you can buy this item online, combining stores from across the web to help a customer make the best decision. Shoppers can get more granular results by refining their search, just as with regular search engine results pages.
With Google Shopping, users can easily compare prices, see what is available nearby, and choose from their favourite brands. For busy shoppers, it can be a quick and easy way to ascertain where to buy products from (and at what price point).
Unlike a regular Google search, however, the products featured on Google Shopping don’t just crop up organically: ecommerce stores pay for their items to be featured.
How can an e-commerce business use Google Shopping?
Google Shopping lets brands and advertisers bid on their content to boost views, generate clicks, and make sales. Google Shopping combines AdWords with Google Merchant Centre so you can easily manage the products you want to advertise, control your budget, and see how your bids are succeeding in a simple dashboard.
There are some similarities to traditional AdWords text ads. However, instead of creating ads around your own designated keywords, Google decides where and when your ads appear.
It’s an arguably more user-focused form of advertising where merchants just supply the content — the algorithm does the rest.
The essentials of setting up Google Shopping
There are three main stages of Google Shopping: creating your feed, setting bids, and monitoring your performance. If you haven’t already, you need to set up accounts with Google AdWords, Google Merchant Centre, and Google Analytics.
Your feed presents information about your products in a way that Google can filter through and understand. Each product has a title, description, price and image, amongst other small details you will need to fill in.
- Use a keyword planner to make sure you are properly optimising your product ads. Even though you are paying to be featured, Google doesn’t automatically send you to the top unless you give users what they are looking for.
- Don’t be afraid to be specific — especially with the title: you need to give the proper make and model of your products. Try not to be flowery with your language, and put the most important information first where it will be picked up by Google’s algorithms.
- The next step is to start bidding. It’s a numbers game that dictates how efficient you are with your campaigns. Bid too much and you might not be getting enough band for your buck. Bid too little and you could miss out on important sales opportunities. You don’t need to be a mathematician — just build an effective strategy before you get going.
- Take into consideration a combination of the price of the product as well as the profit you should be making on it. The more the item is worth, the more you can bid on it.
Track your progress and adjust your strategy
As if Google Shopping wasn’t already a great tool, what makes it amazing is the fact that you can track every detail of how your products are doing in the Google Shopping ecosystem.
As you continue to monitor your progress, you need to make adjustments along the way to. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works best for you.
When learning the ropes for the first time, it may take a little time to develop a knack for bidding. You may want to consult an expert or receive extra training to save you money wasted on unsuccessful campaigns.
How to succeed with Google Shopping
Google Shopping can be a little complicated to wrap your head around at first. You may want to sign up for Google Shopping training to learn the ins and outs of it first. This is useful for e-commerce businesses who have used any entrance point to the industry.
But training is even more valuable if you have bought a quality, established store to make into your own e-commerce business — it’s the best way to ensure you’re maximising your investment and getting the most out of the store’s potential.
In order to achieve success with Google Shopping you need to set appropriate goals before you even start:
- How much are you prepared to pay for a customer? Are you prepared to sacrifice your profits on one sale in order to gain loyalty? Luckily Google lets you set the maximum amount for how much you are willing to spend on each campaign.
- The best way to do this is to choose specific products to sell, such as those that customers may want to purchase again and again. Smaller, entry-level products are a good way to introduce yourself and get people hooked. Otherwise, pick a high-end, high-profit item to get easy sales boosts.
Ultimately, the success of your Google Shopping campaigns comes down to you and the specifics of your business. There’s no one way to do things, but you need to ensure you fully understand the premise and the best practices before leaping in unawares.
While Google Shopping is great for generating sales, it’s even better for generating customers if done right. Prepare properly and treat your customers well in order to keep their loyalty and boost your business.
Patrick Foster is a writer and e-commerce expert from E-commerce Tips — an industry-leading e-commerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. You’ll find great articles covering all you can think of when it comes to e-commerce. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.