From June 17 to 18, we were invited to the Retail@Google event 2015 in Dublin. The two days were tightly packed with many interesting sessions about the retail business in general, about the future of Shopping, a general outlook on how the world economy might look like in 2030, upcoming challenges and of course about useful Google tools that will support retailers in their daily business. We would like to share the key takeaways from the most interesting sessions with you.
Changing Media Behaviour
Mitch Joel, author of „Ctrl Alt Delete – Reboot Your Business” introduced the audience to four pillars of modern day media which you should focus on in order to lead your business to success:
- Direct Relationship – Join the war for a direct relationship with your customer. Make your customer feel connected to your brand and they will stay with you for a long time.
- Sex with Data – Gather as much data as you can and target your customers as individuals. But understand the difference between personalization and privacy!
- Utility – Understand what your customers want and offer it. Use your data to create apps and tools that aren’t about “me” but that are “for you”. This will bind them to your brand.
- One Screen World – The world of media is changing. We need to get away from thinking of the digital world as a “three screen” world with your desktop, TV, and mobile being separate entities. ‘Technology has removed technology from technology’ by merging the different devices into one. The mobile has become our primary device we constantly live with it – don’t miss out on it.
It’s Still ‘Early Morning’ for Retail Business in the World of Digital Media
Peter Fitzgerald, Country Sales Director at Google UK, presented some very interesting stats about the developments we can expect over the next few years. So far ‘only’ three billion people are online world wide. This is less than half the population on earth today and the numbers, and thereby the number of available customers, are growing rapidly.
Everything is connected to everything and will be even more so. In the not too distant future more than twenty of our household devices will be connected to each other and we will have access to much faster internet wherever we are, which opens up many opportunities for retail businesses: Put the consumer into control, help them buy what, where and when they want by developing your data into knowledge and the knowledge into insights.
The Importance of Mobile for Your Business is Growing
In her presentation, Shawn Salmon, Director Global Shopping Solutions at Google, emphasized the importance of mobile for your business. Mobile searches are already surpassing desktop searches in some markets, including the US and Japan, and the number keeps growing.
While the immediate Conversion Rate on mobile is lower and therefore mobile traffic might seem less important and profitable we have to be aware of a new kind of customer: The number of ‘Omni Channel Shoppers’ is increasing, linking your online and offline presence together. Most customers have numerous touchpoints with your business before they finally decide where and what to buy. While the revenue generated by mobile might seem insignificant at first glance, the number of purchases that start from a mobile device and later are completed via desktop is significant and growing. The number of store visits has declined over the past years as online business is growing. But at the same time store visits have become more valuable as the modern consumers first inform themselves online, decide what to buy and where to buy it: Mobile drives your desktop revenue!
Therefore, make life easier for the consumer to get them to buy and stay with your business:
- Which percentage of time do you spend optimising mobile? How much revenue is not generated but driven by mobile? How much does mobile contribute to your growth?
- Make sure your online presence covers all important channels.
- Make your mobile page easy to navigate.
- Remove the friction between online and offline: Offer real-time inventory lists of your stores, show the correct prices and the location of the closest store.
Tools You Need in Order to Get Ready for the Future
To end the day, James King, Retail Account Manager at Google, and his Product Experts presented some new tools and features that might be of use for your business in order to get ready for the future.
If you want to discover high potential markets and understand their customers or if you just would like to know the selling potential of a certain product the following tools might be of interest for you:
If you want to optimize your conversion funnel use these Analytics Reports:
- Landing page quality and Bounce Rate Reports to nail the first impression on site.
- Shopping Behaviour Report to gain insights on how to improve your product pages. A good product page should contain product ratings and stock numbers.
- Checkout Behaviour Report to improve your checkout forms and move the consumer to action.
More and more consumers are ‘Omni-Channel’ customers, so use AdWords’ Cross-Device Tracking to attribute value to mobile and measure the ROI. Also invest in your apps to improve the mobile experience of your customer: Use deeplinks, track in-app events, use third party for iOS downloads, activate Automated Bidding and use Google Analytics to identify your CPA per user.
In addition, there are two new product releases for Display that are interesting for retailers:
- ‘Youtube Cards’, which invite users to explore your offers and engage with your brand.
- ‘Lightbox Ads’, which allow to show video images across GDN.
Prepare your Peak Season Campaigns Early Enough – First Searches Start in September
As 20% of the yearly revenue is generated during the holiday season and 11% of consumers start thinking about their Christmas presents already before September, you should prepare your PPC campaigns early enough. We know that mobile is key and that it’s surpassing Desktop. However, for the Christmas season mobile becomes even more important as the major part of last minute gifts will be ordered via mobile.
Demographic Changes: The Future of Retail is Outside of Established Markets
Retailers and e-commerce players of today will face big challenges in the future as demographic changes will slow down economic growth in established markets. Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev talked about current ‘difficult’ markets such as MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa and Emerging Asian countries that will be the markets to invest as future GDP growth will be stronger there.
How can retailers face this challenge? They need to get ahead of the tech curve to create new business value, as well as target new audiences like the ‘Decennials’.
Shopping will Become a more Immersive Experience
Consumers don’t go online anymore but are living in an online world. Micro moments are an essential part of the ‘conversational search’ of users and Google will try to seize these moments. Therefore, Shopping will become a more immersive experience, especially on mobile.
Some best practices for advertisers:
- Titles: put the designer name at the front of the title. The entire title is indexed so use up the 150 characters.
- Images: when something is not obvious from the image (i.e. if it’s a men’s or women’s shoe) move it into the title.
- Descriptions: use up to 5,000 characters in description. Even if not shown it’s indexed. So fill the space with relevant information such as attribute names and key selling points.
- GTINs will become more important. Request the GTIN from your supplier. From September 2015 onwards 50 designated global brands will require GTINs!
- Update prices and availability as often as possible or even in real time.
- Landing page: should have the same filters as the product shown (i.e. same colour and size preselected on the shopping tab).
- Use custom labels to refine your bidding strategy.
- Campaign structure
- Set lower bids for low margin products using custom labels.
- Create best seller campaign, with higher priority and higher bids.
- Useful reports
- Checkout Behaviour Analysis in GA to find out where users drop off on your website.
- Use Google Trends for Shopping.
- Use the dimension tab to analyse the outranking share, split out by time and device.
Text by Claudia & Madeleine