Crealyitcs Insights


Break down silos in ecommerce to drive performance

Facts and Festivities Day 11 – Conversion Rates: The Goldilocks Dilemma

Hunting for perfect conversion rates? Product pricing can be a tricky affair. You don’t want them too high; you don’t want them too low! It’s the Goldilocks’ dilemma.

If you go for one or the other though, err on the cheaper side.

The best product conversion rates happen when you price your products at (or up to) 20 percent less than the market average.

Because Google’s algorithms reflect human tendencies, they tend to surface the cheapest products first (even if they don’t have the highest bid). Imagine a situation in which you and a contemporary sell the same brands and products. How you price your respective items will heavily determine both traffic and conversion volumes.

The Price Is Right

Besides the bid itself, competitive pricing represents the most important factor in snagging more shoppers.

Raising your prices too high means you lose margins and profitability. At the same time, you don’t want to drop your prices too low. After all, you run the risk of losing both margins and profitability.

Is there a solution to the pricing dilemma? Actually, yes.

It transpires that products shoppers click on in Google Shopping aren’t always what they go on to buy. In fact, two-thirds of shoppers end up buying something different. They may buy from the same brand, the same category…or a different brand and category altogether.

As a result, we realized that Google Shopping’s most important role is to get shoppers to your site when they express relevant search-intent. You can attract more shoppers to your site by discounting a few selected high-impact products with a lot of search volume. Once they’re there, up-sell or cross-sell to them (and thereby preserve your margins).

It’s not just about identifying high-demand products, though. You also need to regularly keep an eye on the competitive landscape.

To solve both issues, we developed Crealytics Price Advisor. This identifies a handful of “hard-hitting” products…and offers price recommendations based on the competitive landscape and search data.

Tired of DIY PPC? From handy tools to sage advice, we can help you with your campaigns. Say hello@crealytics.com today.


Facts and Festivities Day 10 – Calculating Customer Lifetime Value

On day seven of this series, we highlighted the importance of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). If you had to choose just one ROI metric from an exhaustive bunch, we said, you should choose this one.

And as well you should. Because advertisers who focus on CLV make around 15 percent more revenue in the first year.

First, a reminder of what it does:

The CLV metric measures gross profit and success over a customer’s “lifetime” (12-24 months)

In eCommerce, generating new business can be expensive. According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs up to five times as much to attract new customers—which emphasizes the importance of keeping your existing ones. Forecasting returns can be another challenge. This is where CLV can help.

Which version means what?

The CLV metric exists in different guises, including “predictive” and “historic.” Predictive CLV can be more challenging to produce, but it’s arguably worthier than its counterpart. This format uses previous transactions mixed with a variety of behavioral indicators (that forecast a lifetime value for an individual customer). With each new purchase (and new behavioral data) the metric changes to become more accurate over time.

Here is the equation:

PredictiveCLV = ((AverageMonthlyTransactions x AverageOrderValue) AverageGrossMargin) AverageCustomerLifespanInMonths

Spoiler alert: Every industry is different—you may have to make specific changes to your CLV equation over time to have it accurately reflect the value of customers. There are more advanced versions of the predictive CLV algorithm available, and you should explore how well those options may fit your business model.

Historic CLV is simpler. This version is the sum of the gross profit from historic purchases made by a specific customer. It takes into account any expenses associated with the purchases the individual made:

Historic CLV = (Transaction1+Transaction2+Transaction3…) X AverageGrossMargin

This is simple enough to be calculated in Excel as long as you have all of your transactional data on hand for a given customer. This should also take into account any expenses like service costs, returns, acquisition costs and other expenses to provide a clear picture of individual profit.

Of course, it can be complex to put together these expenses on an individual basis. Attributing certain costs to an individual customer is often problematic. When in doubt, use averages to estimate until you can properly track expenses individually.

For more advice on your campaigns (including how to better leverage CLV), contact us via info@crealytics.com.


Christmas shopping

Christmas Retail Shopping Trends and Predictions for 2017

The home stretch of the 2017 holiday shopping season finds retailers busier than ever. Retail has changed rapidly in recent years, with big brand stores forced to make agile changes in strategy to hold their footing as eCommerce sales rapidly growing.

With each new holiday season, we see a consistent shift toward truly omnichannel experiences for stores and shoppers alike. There is consistent growth from all channels during the holiday shopping season, a trend that we also expect to continue.

But 2017 will also differ from previous years in a variety of ways, as big-box retailers and eCommerce companies jockey for position in a world that embraces a consistent experience online and off.

Let’s take a look at a few of the trends and predictions that we have for this holiday shopping season:

First Year to Break $100 Billion in Online Sales

2017 will be the first year that holiday sales topple the $100 billion market. Adobe Insights predicts that sales will reach $107.4 billion, representing a 13.8 percent increase year-over-year. The company also predicts a 3.8 percent growth in overall sales.

Nostalgia Wins Big in 2017 Christmas Toys

                                         Nostalgia – a rising force in retail

Nostalgia is a rising force in advertising and retail. Toys lend themselves well to the nostalgia bandwagon, giving parents a frame of reference when shopping for toys for their kids. A number of popular toys from the 1980s and 1990s have been revamped for the newer generation including Nerf Guns, Teddy Ruxpin, and Super Nintendo Classic.

Children’s television channel Nickelodeon has announced a number of reboots of classic 80s and 90s kids shows, along with toy lines to go with them. With more manufacturers and developers looking to cash in on the nostalgia chain, this year’s holiday season will feature more recognizable retro toys than any other year.

Omnichannel is the New Normal

Seamless shopping experiences are the most sought-after trait that shoppers are looking for in holiday retailers. More than ever, shoppers participate in the research and shopping process through a wide variety of channels. In the U.K., more than 90 percent of shoppers have their first point of contact with a product through a channel that is not the channel they ultimately buy through.

Omnichannel experiences will play a bigger role in 2017 than they have in any other year, and big-box brands are finally providing experiences seamless enough to satisfy their customers.

Sales Surges Come Early

Each year, we’ve witnessed sales surges come both earlier and later than they ever have before. There are a few reasons for this. Early surges can likely be attributed to the ease of online shopping, a desire to avoid the holiday crowds in malls and shopping centers, and an increase in sales early in the month of November—attracting larger crowds.

Additionally, the late-December surges we see on the 20th or later can be attributed to the rise in free two-day shipping options through retailers like Amazon. In retail stores, late-season shopping surges have always been a regular occurrence, but have seen their own rises as procrastinating shoppers realize their online orders will not arrive in time.

Experiential Retail Makes a Triumphant Return

                                                        A visit from Santa?

With eCommerce sales booming during the holiday season, retail stores have accepted their situation — becoming more creative than ever before. 

Retail has seen a renaissance in experiential shopping events, in an effort to attract shoppers to their locations instead of ordering online. Big brands are going the extra mile — and we don’t just mean setting up a mall-Santa outside of their location. Fun experiential marketing will play a big role in 2017 and continue to grow with each passing year.

 


Facts and Festivities Day 9 – What Drives Repeat Customers?

In the world of retail, attention spans are short and expectations are high.

It’s no different in the fashion sector. To attract and retain customers, you must first decide on the KPIs that matter…and then identify the tools at your disposal.

Crealytics cast an eye on five years’ worth of transactional data. The discovery? Of several acquisition channels, email conversions drove the most repeat orders. Direct traffic came second, with natural search in third place.

How To Get More Repeat Orders

We’ve talked about customer retention previously (and still feel the same way). Keeping them coming back is integral to eCommerce success. A five percent increase in customer retention can boost profits between 25 and 95 percent!

Most customers will buy from a company more frequently after a positive initial experience. Take the time to get to know them—delivering personalized marketing material will help you to build trust and earn repeat business.

How quickly a customer returns depends on your industry. To use fashion as the example, however, nurturing long-term relationships via email campaigns can go a long way. Remember to provide relevant, interesting content at opportune times during the sales cycle.

Looking for expertise and insight into your next campaign? Avoid common pitfalls and build stronger customer relationships by reaching out today.

 

 


Facts and Festivities Day 8 – Bing Ads: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Sometimes it’s easy to view Bing Ads as AdWords’ less popular cousin. This perception can be misleading, however. Microsoft’s vehicle takes a 20 percent market share in the U.K (and it’s a similar figure in the U.S.) So, if you’ve only focused on AdWords up to now, it’s time to reconsider.

A Lower Cost Per Click (CPC)

Bing Ads have a lower CPC compared to Google AdWords. Indeed, some research shows costs as a third lower. With this in mind, Bing Ads users make their budget go further.

More Freedom At A Campaigns Level

From a campaigns perspective, Bing Ads offer more freedom to tweak search preferences. Unlike with the more restrictive AdWords, you have more room to tweak language, location etc.

The Incrementality Effect… (Reach People You Wouldn’t Otherwise)

With audience insights, Bing Ads users can cast their nets wider (and get more results). According to ComScore, those in the U.S. who use Bing Ads will reach 51 million retail searchers not reached on Google*.

Better Ad Positions

With Bing Ads, you encounter fewer competitors. Because of this, marketers tend to experience more desirable ad positions compared to AdWords.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Compared to Google Shopping’s rising CPCs, the Bing Product Ads equivalent still represents a bargain. The ad format has seen its strongest growth rate since 2015—with a reported 27 percent growth in spend (year-on-year).

Given its cheaper cost-per-clicks—and the small effort required if a Google Shopping product feed is already available—advertisers should test Bing Products Ads for incremental returns, at the very least.

Last year we generated $3 billion in revenue for our clients. For help with your search strategy (including Bing), why not say hello?

*desktop results only


Facts and Festivities Day 7 – Customer Lifetime Value and Alphabet Soup

The language of eCommerce can resemble an alphabet soup. Seriously. To give your ROI a workout, there’s ROAS to consider. And CPA. And CPC. And CTR. We could go on.

All have a place at the table; but not exactly equal elbow space.

The acronym below, however, can help you inform all future marketing and sales decisions while increasing your bottom line. Indeed, those who concentrate on this metric make about 15 percent more revenue in the first year!

Forget the rest…focus on the best

If you focus on one metric, focus on these three little words:

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

This represents the value that a customer will bring to your company over their entire “lifetime” (around 12-24 months). It’s the amount of money that they’ll spend on your products and services…after the expenses of acquiring them as a customer.

We can’t stress this enough: CLV stands head and shoulders above other metrics in terms of measuring gross profits. Generating new customers is an expensive endeavor. Returns can be tough to forecast.

Knowing the CLV of a customer will help you to strike the balance between customer retention and acquisition. When you know the point at which they become profitable, you’re closer to knowing just how much budget you can allocate to a particular channel or market.

Furthermore, CLV shines extra light on your customer retention strategy. A steadily climbing average CLV indicates that your retention and upselling efforts are working…(thus boosting the chances of your customers returning).

Find out more about CLV (including how to measure it) on our blog here.

Last year, we generated $3 billion in revenue for our clients. Looking to fine-tune your PPC campaigns? Get in touch with us today.


Facts and Festivities Day 6 – Don’t Burn Your Budget (Hint: Allocate Smarter)

“To master Google Shopping, first you must master your budget” – Confucius (probably).

If you haven’t read this already, allow us to let you in on a little secret.

Your PPC budget should be allocated to inventory that is high in stock…or sells slowly.

Decision-makers allocate a staggering 40 percent of their budget to products that will sell on their own within three weeks. However, only 21 percent is spent on products that will be in stock within a three-month period.

Advertising something that will soon go out of stock provides almost zero benefit. Indeed, data silos (and misused metrics) between a company’s advertising and merchandising departments can waste huge amounts of money.

While it may seem advantageous to focus on returns in product advertising, the bigger picture that includes inventory management shows that companies may want to re-think the product advertisements that they pay for. Moving products that would otherwise be sitting on shelves is a net positive, while moving products that were sure to sell on their own provides little benefit, regardless of individual returns.

Historically, people use Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) to determine product advertising success. However, alternative metrics like Customer Lifetime Value provide richer insight (replacing short-term gains with long-term growth).

Interested to learn more? Get in touch to discover how Crealytics can help boost your eCommerce strategy.


Facts and Festivities Day 5 – Attract More Shoppers By Unleashing Your Social Side

It’s easy to get social media advertising wrong. Swamping would-be shoppers with ill-conceived campaigns can be a turn-off.

Do it correctly, however, and you face a very different outcome. Research by Chain Store Age shows that a shopper who engages with a retailer through this medium will likely spend 19 percent more than the average consumer.

Total social media engagement declined by two percent this year—but the industry witnessed a 46 percent boost in social-influenced clicks.

Engaging Shoppers on Social Media – Five Questions Worth Asking

So how do you get it right? We’ve already discussed the Social Trifecta, but as you’re here, here’s a reminder of the key questions you should ask to shape your strategy:

  1. Where is the watering hole? What is the go-to channel your target audiences are talking on?
  2. What is generating the most buzz in Earned Media that is worth re-purposing into a campaign as Owned Media?
  3. Which posts are absolutely slaying in Owned Media? Are they worth paying for exposure and will they strengthen your brand image and/or inspire a dialogue?
  4. How are your competitors doing, and how are you measuring up to them? Is it okay to be creepy? Yes, yes it is.
  5. What is it about successful posts that make them so? How can you use these takeaways to ensure you continue creating content that is compelling?

Last year, Crealytics generated over $3 billion in client revenue. If you think we can help with your PPC campaigns, contact us at info@crealytics.com.


Facts and Festivities Day 4: Conversion Rates…Why It Pays To Be Competitive

In yesterday’s blog, we raised four important issues surrounding product rankings.

One thing trumped all others. Google Shopping might well revolve around the “B” word (bidding), but pricing remains the key consideration. If you don’t keep your pricing competitive, you can forget about ranking well.

Price and performance are intrinsically linked. To prove just how much, we divided a retailer’s products into two distinct groups (and compared their performance).

  • Products they sold at a higher price than the competition.
  • Products they sold at a lower price than the competition.

Guess what? Although both groups were roughly the same size, the cheaper products received more impressions than their more expensive equivalents (134 percent more, to be precise).

And that’s not all. The cheaper products performed better. In fact, the competitively priced products on Google Shopping drove up to 280 percent more conversions (and a higher click through, resulting in a 30 percent lower CPO).

The cheaper, the better

There’s a moral of the story here – impressions and clicks in Google Shopping can be extremely sensitive to pricing…and price changes. The cheaper your products, the more likely you are to see improved conversion rates.

If you can’t change your prices, that’s okay. But think smart – you should focus your budget on your most competitively-priced products. You might not make as much as you would from a product at a higher price, but the cheaper product will show up higher in the results (making it more likely that someone clicks on it…and makes it onto your site).

Last year, Crealytics generated over $3 billion in client revenue. If you think we can help with your PPC campaigns, contact us at info@crealytics.com.


Facts and Festivities Day 3: The Power Of Competitive Product Pricing

So you want your products to rank well on Google. Sounds reasonable. Beware the pitfalls, however – lots of things can affect your position.

Today, we pick out four things to consider:

  • User ratings are vital (new retailers will be rated down).
  • Performance history matters! More history leads to more impressions. Simple as that.
  • The bid amount. This also counts for a lot. Be warned though, it can be outshone by…
  • …Cheaper product pricing! This can significantly impact a product’s ranking. Indeed, results from our study bore this out—in 65 percent of all cases in our sample, the product with the most competitive price was ranked in first position. This was the same no matter what the retailer or bid.

*Data from price comparison provider, based on >3000 queries

Ultimately, bidding and pricing work in a similar fashion.

  • High bids will generate many impressions, but they decrease your ROI through higher CPOs
  • Low prices will generate many impressions, but they decrease your ROI through lower margins

You should look at them as a whole in order to get the most out of your campaigns. Bidding may be the key element of Google Shopping, but, ultimately, pricing is the dominating influencer. If your prices aren’t competitive, Google won’t allow you to participate.

Missed Day 2? Discover our customer retention tips here.

If you have a question about PPC, feel free to follow our blog…or reach out via info@crealytics.com.