A to Z of Comparison Shopping Engines, by Michael Lambert of MerchantAdvantage

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A beginning-to-end approach for attaining profit and a competitive advantage with comparison shopping engines, from goal setting to ongoing process revision. Topics covered include: How to build your data streams; Which products to select; When to alter the selections and destinations; What analytical data to use in refining your processes; and How to achieve higher exposure.

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A to Z of Comparison Shopping Engines, by Michael Lambert of MerchantAdvantage

  1. 1. #MonConMonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  2. 2. #MonCon A to Z of CSE MarketingPresented by Michael Lambert CTO-Founder MerchantAdvantage @caseycarey MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  3. 3. #MonCon CSE Overview Selecting Channels & Products Building Data Feedstoday’s Tips for Achieving AGENDA Higher Exposure Q&A MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  4. 4. CSE Overview #MonCon What do We Know Today? - Some Statistics* ~50% of online shopping decisions influenced by “shopping destination sites/marketing channels” ~80% of eCommerce marketing campaigns that drive sales come from SEO/SEM; Marketplaces; and PPC Product Advertising ~5% of eCommerce marketing is now driven by mobile commerce (“mCommerce”)* Reflects generally accepted statistics averaged from various resources as:CPC Strategy, Forrester Research, Internet Retailer, MerchantAdvantage, andPractical eCommerce MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  5. 5. CSE Overview #MonConOnline Shopping Channels, Affiliates, and Other eCommerce Sites Reach Millions of Shoppers Everyday MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  6. 6. CSE Overview #MonConThere are 100+ eCommerce Channels from which to chooseEach channel varies in their offerings by click costs, target demographic, product categories andother parameters. Selecting the correct channel to add or remove is vital and should be basedon your marketing strategies. MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  7. 7. CSE Overview #MonConOnline Shopping Channels Expand Reach and Expose Brand There are 3 main categories of shopping channels:Free… Pay Per Action (PPA)/ Marketplace… Pay Per Click (PPC)... MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  8. 8. CSE Overview #MonCon Why Do Shoppers Use Marketing Channels?* Price - 94% of online shoppers invest time to find the best price for products Access - 100% of products you want can be found online, instantly Compare - 65% of online shoppers spend 15+ minutes comparison shopping for products on Marketing Channels before making a purchase; 36% spend 30+ minutes Trust - 54% of online shoppers visit 4+ Websites before finalizing purchase Fun - finding the product you want - at the price you want - is a ‘game’ Conclusion: Marketing Channels ‘greatly’ influence an online shopper’s experience and purchase decisions* Reflects generally accepted historical data averaged from various 2010/2011 resources as: CPC Strategy, E-tailing Group Study, Forrester Research, Internet Retailer, MerchantAdvantage, and Practical eCommerce MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  9. 9. CSE Overview #MonCon Why Do eCommerce Merchants Use Marketing Channels? Revenues - access to millions of shoppers who spend money to buy products online Profitability – monetize Return on Ad Spend/ROI and customer acquisition cost Customer Quality - ~20% of USA online shoppers use Marketing Channels to purchase products and spend ~25% more than the average online shopper* Customer Acquisition - customer can be marketed to in the future, repeat business Customer Awareness - visibility of brand/products on ‘other’ shopping-based URLs SEO Relevancy - search engines access merchant product listings with frequency Conclusion: Marketing Channels are an essential to part of an effective, cost-effective, and comprehensive online marketing strategy to sell products online to grow revenues and acquire new customers* Forrester Research MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  10. 10. CSE Overview #MonConWhy Is It Difficult For eCommerce Merchants To Use Marketing Channels? Resources & Time - no time to manage multi-channel product campaigns without assistance & tool Choice/Access - finding “the right” channels to sell products among 200+ is complicated Support - access to direct help from channel account managers when you need it is limited Technical Requirements - each channel has their own product data feed specifications/guidelines Cost Management - pay-per-click channels require daily monitoring/updating of campaigns Data Updating - lack automated processes to create/manage data feeds to ensure performance Data Quality - options to optimize and map all product details in data feed are numerous/confusing ROI/Conversion Management - lack proper tools to track and respond to product marketing campaigns performance within and across channels, in real time, to ensure profitsConclusion: Layers of complexity to work with Marketing Channels scares off many merchants …BUT ‘complexity’ can be a competitive ADVANTAGE when you have the right team and marketingplatform behind you! MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  11. 11. #MonCon CSE Overview Selecting Channels & Products Building Data Feedstoday’s Tips for Achieving AGENDA Higher Exposure Q&A MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  12. 12. Selecting Channels & Products #MonCon Question: Where should you start?Start using the free sites whichwill allow a less expensivelearning curve and require lessresearch to choose. On a free site it makes sense to simply select all products from your Catalog making it easy to choose products. Answer: Free and Easy? MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  13. 13. Selecting Channels & Products #MonConHow should you select Marketing Channels? Break down Marketing Channel landscape into 5 categories for ease of understanding MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  14. 14. Selecting Channels & Products #MonConResearch eachperspective channel Request any performance statistics available from the channel Request target demographics and strong categories Review Cost and any special offerings Look for competitors on the channel Review your own statistics when available for future involvement MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  15. 15. Selecting Channels & Products #MonConProduct & Site MatchingIn order to make these channels as profitable as possible, online retailersneed to analyze the performance of each product on the various channels,and market only the products with the best performance, removing theproducts that aren’t converting and only wasting click costs. Suggestion- Allow at least 1 week for major product decisions Allow at least 3 months for major channel decisions MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  16. 16. Selecting Channels & Products #MonConAnalyze PerformanceReview performance statistics using Chanalytics(sm) and any otheravailable tools to indicate what changes, if any, should be done within theproduct selection or product optimization phases (tips in this presentation).ChanalyticsReporters m Price Change Check Category Remove Check UPC Info Verify Verify Link Model # MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  17. 17. Selecting Channels & Products #MonCon How Do Merchants Monetize Marketing Channel Strategies? Simply feeding products and catalogs to channels has a low value proposition. Feeding to channels is a process, and deceptively difficult to do well.1. Each marketing channel has 2. 25-30% of products given totheir own unique requirements to marketing channel arereceive product catalog data Product & Site miscategorized, or not listed, due Matching, to mapping issues Categorization eCommerce Optimize Raw Marketing Analyze Product Data Essential Steps Performance4. Modifying marketingstrategies weekly maximizes Adapt Marketing 3. It is essential to trackaffect of marketing channels Strategy clicks/purchases ratios to ensureDRAMATICALLY and keeps positive Return on Ad Spendyou ahead of the competition (“ROAS”) “ ” MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  18. 18. #MonCon CSE Overview Selecting Channels & Products Building Data Feedstoday’s Tips for Achieving AGENDA Higher Exposure Q&A MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  19. 19. Building Data Feeds #MonCon Proper Tools To Format / Manipulate Data: Microsoft Excel or MS Access Relational Database Marketing Software Suite Optimization Knowledge: Know The Feed Specifications Work on Channel Category Values Utilize Analytics: Free Analytics (i.e.: Google) Analytics Packages (i.e.: Omniture, CoreMetrics) Marketing Software (i.e.: Chanalytics)“With the addition of MerchantAdvantage, submission of our CommerceV3 productcatalog to online shopping sites has become easy and reliable. Sales have increased30% from the optimized shopping feeds generated by the MerchantAdvantageplatform.” - DentalDepot.com, Commerce V3 Customer MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  20. 20. Building Data Feeds #MonConThree keys for success in CSE efforts File Flexibility – Merchants need the ability to build any type of file format so that Marketing controls the channel selection, not technology Merchants need powerful data manipulation tools that allow marketers to optimize content and create custom campaigns Analytics – Merchants need custom analytical tools that give analytics down to the SKU level for intelligent performance measurement and feed optimization strategies MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  21. 21. Building Data Feeds #MonCon File Formats Transport ProtocolsComma Separated Files FTP (immediate or(.CSV) scheduled)Tab Delimited Files (.txt) SFTP (immediate orOther Character scheduled)Delimited Files HTTP (immediate orMS Excel Files scheduled)XML Files (.xml) Local file upload (immediate only) **Additionally, MerchantAdvantage provides every merchant with an ftp/http storage area MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  22. 22. Building Data Feeds #MonConType Name Requirement Description Examples Country Required The ISO 3166 country code. The default US is your feeds target country Region Optional Geographical region – in US the two letter MA abbreviation, zip or * wildcard Service Optional The service class or delivery speed Ground price Required Fixed deliver price (including VAT) 6.49 USDTab Delimited Separate each sub-attribute with a colon and each delivery attribute group with a comma. Do not enclose sub-attribute values withinExample quotations. All colons, even for blank values, are required, i.e. three colons are required. US:::6.49 USD US:024*:Ground:6.49 USD,US:MA:Express:13.12 USD An example of one field in a specifications document MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  23. 23. Building Data Feeds #MonConWhen saved locally, a feed document might look something like this: MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  24. 24. #MonCon CSE Overview Selecting Channels & Products Building Data Feedstoday’s Tips for Achieving AGENDA Higher Exposure Q&A MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  25. 25. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #1: Be Sure Every Product Has an Image The image should be clear Don’t upload placeholders or generic image If you don’t have an image, GET ONE! Bad Image Good Image MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  26. 26. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #2: Upload Your Store Logo Logos build trust Logos catch people’s attention, increasing CTR Make sure logo is clear, readable, configured so it appears ‘crisp’ whatever size it appears Size your logo appropriately! If you use the wrong size – the result will be stretched or distorted logos If No Logo Allowed/Present ensure that listing stands out, no www., capitalize, and hyperlink to appropriate URL landing page – MerchantAdvantage.com MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  27. 27. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #3: Categorize Your Product Listings Using Full Channel Taxonomy Use ‘full’ categorization options to help target your products Gain competitive advantage over those that don’t MerchantAdvantage ‘Global Cats’ Tool Automates this process What Most Merchants Do What You Should Do (goose egg) MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  28. 28. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #4: Expand Product Name/Title Field #1: Use entire field to add descriptive words If product name is “511 Jeans”, consider using either male/female, sizing info, & type to make it “Men’s 511 Jeans 32W X 32L Black” ’ ” #2: Use Keywords in Product Name Field Be sure to use keywords that are being searched Take example a step further and add “Men’s 511 Skinny Jeans 32W X 32L Black” - The term “skinny jeans” is a popular term for this product #3: Include Manufacturer/Brand in Product Name when Relevant if the channel doesn’t automatically Brands and manufacturers are heavily searched keywords (will vary per industry) For example, add “Men’s 511 Skinny Jeans 32W X 32L Black by Levi’s”. This ’ could also be written as “Men’s Levi’s 511 Skinny Jeans 32W X 32L Black” ’ So how does this translate to how you see data in your shopping cart technology?... MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  29. 29. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #4 (continued):Example 1: Example 2 :Data as imported from Shopping Cart Technology: Data as imported from Shopping Cart Technology:Manufacturer Model # Description Condition Manufacturer Model # Description ConditionLVI 511 32Wx32L new SNY XBR757 45 Color TV ” new skinny black with surround jeans, men sound Convert/Merge/Optimize Data From These Fields To: Convert/Optimize Data From These Fields To:Data as it SHOULD BE presented to marketing channel: Data as it SHOULD BE presented to marketing channel:<<NEW Men s Levi s 511 Skinny Jeans 32W x 32L Black>> ’ ’ <<Sony XBR757 45 inch NEW Color TV with Surround Sound>> Convert ‘shopping cart technology’ data to ‘marketing friendly’ data (yellow area above) Do NOT use: Special Characters (&, e.g., etc.., +, $, ‘, “); Promotional Text (free shipping, sale); HTML Tags; or Hard Returns when converting data MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  30. 30. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #5: Use appropriate Keywords in the Description Field Determine what the keywords are for the product and include them in description remembering this is NOT shown within your website.Example: “Wenge finish” may havelittle meaning to consumers ina larger venue – change it to“dark wood finish” for CSEdescriptions Updated Description Original Description: MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  31. 31. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #6: Be Sure to Fill Out ‘Additional’ and ‘Suggested Fields’ Shipping info, taxes, sizing, gender, new/used, etc.,, Most people only fill out required fields (HUGE MISTAKE)…fill out ALL fields! Many engines give “extra love” for completed fields What Most Merchants Do What You Should Do MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  32. 32. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #7: Review Your (and your competitions) Listings on the Various Marketing Channels How does the product name look? Does your listing stand out? Would you click on the listing?[see how products are showing up across 13 marketing channels, including Amazon, Buy.com & eBay] MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  33. 33. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #8: Review the channels rules in the specifications guide Do consumers look for your products by manufacturer, model number or variation (perhaps include in product name field) – this can also avoid multiple products (different by options only) being classified as ONE product Is there a maximum character count limit for a field (your product name could look bad or even be unrecognizable if they choose where to cut it off) Without Conversion Converted RANDY RED MOTORCYCLE HELMET ARAI Corsair V RANDY RED MOTORCYCLE HELMET Randy Red MotorCycle Hel Randy Red Helmet MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  34. 34. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #9: Manage Your Adspend Budget Set Budget Manage Bids Properly Fund Holidays Specials & Discounts MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  35. 35. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #10: Monitor Marketing Channel Performance by Category and Individual SKU Reports from Marketing Channel …and also from… MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  36. 36. Tips for Higher Exposure #MonConTip #10 (continued): Monitor ALL Marketing Channels’ Performance by Category and Individual SKU Reports from 3rd party – MerchantAdvantage/Google/Yahoo …etc…Analytic Packages &Category Analysis SKU Analysis MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  37. 37. #MonCon CSE Overview Selecting Channels & Products Building Data FeedsTime permitting Tips for Achieving Q&A Higher Exposure Q&A MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012
  38. 38. #MonCon Michael Lambert MerchantAdvantage thank you! (e) dsinclair@merchantadvantage.com (p) 305-895-9466 merchantadvantage.comPlease visit www.monsooncommerce.com/moncon to download a copy of this presentation, see pictures and videos, and tell us what you think about the conference. MonCon EAST | May 18–20, 2012

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