In the first part of this series, we focused on a number of tactics that you can include in your marketing plan to help set the right foundation for your e-commerce website.
We discussed that a "build it and they will come" approach no longer works and most online stores need to allocate a budget to help consumers be aware of their online store and the products they are offering.
In this article, we focus on some advertising platforms that drive targeted traffic to supercharge your online store, drive sales and increase the visibility of your brand online.
This is Part 2 in a Series of Articles on e-Commerce.
- Part 1: Tactics to Boost e-Commerce Sales
- Part 3: Measuring the effectiveness of e-commerce campaigns
- Part 4: e-Commerce Trends and Stats
One of the best known platforms for advertising your online store is Google Ads.
With Google Ads, advertisers select the keywords that best represent the products they sell, write ad copy and select the maximum amount they are prepared to spend per click. You can see an example of a Google Ad here.
The beauty of Google Ads is that you can set your own budget and you only pay for advertising when a user clicks on your ad (if you choose the cost per click option).
Whilst set up is quick and you can have ads up and running instantly, it is worth taking the time to set up your campaign correctly and this can be time consuming.
- Relatively quick set up
- You only pay for ads that people click on
- Can get started on virtually any budget
- Relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional advertising
- Can be expensive and wasteful if your campaign is not set up poorly
- Your website may have barriers to purchase that you may not uncover until later.
Google Shopping Ads
Apart from the search ads, Google also offers advertisers the ability to showcase your products in the search results via Google Shopping. You can see an example below.
To create Shopping Ads, you’ll need a Google Ads account and a Google Merchant Center account. The products shown above are uploaded to the Google Merchant Centre via a feed from your website and then advertised via the Google Ads platform.
Your ads appear when someone searches for your products on google.com and google.com/shopping. Your potential customer will be shown a picture of your item, its price, and your store name. Customers who click on your ad will be directed to your website where they can buy your item.
Google shopping uses what is known in the search industry as a paid inclusion model. This means you're charged only if someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website.
- Can result in higher conversions as ads are highly relevant and users can see both the product and price before they click on your ad
- Your prices need to be competitive particularly as todays shopper is prone to comparison shopping
Dynamic Remarketing Ads
A key issue for many online retailers is that often people arrive at their website but they don't buy straight away. Today's customer journey is a lot more complex and oftentimes, prospective customers need an extra push to remember to return to your store.
This is where remarketing comes in. In an ecommerce sense, your products can be dynamically shown to users around the web even though they have left your website. Dynamic remarketing ads can be run via Google Ads or even Facebook and Instagram if you have a shopping feed.
if you don't have s shopping fee, you can still use remarketing ads to remind people about your store - but they won't see specific products that they looked at on your website.
Remarketing is an excellent way to recapture people who came, saw and then left without buying anything. Offering incentives such as free shipping or percent off discounts may also help your remarketing campaign get traction - particularly if you operate in a competitive market.
My Shopping is Australia’s leading online comparison shopping website. Their Merchant Program includes free signup.
You can see an example of a My Shopping ad below:
There’s no contract and no minimum monthly spend and you can cancel your membership anytime if you’re not happy with the results. There is minimum budget of $50 which is required to open your account. You can consider this as your advertising budget and can be adjusted anytime.
Listing your products and website on myshopping.com.au is also free. You only pay a referral fee whenever a shopper clicks on the link to your website.
There are various plans:
- Super Plan – Your listings get higher priority. When your account gets below the minimum (which is automatically calculated based on your daily spending) it gets automatically topped up by an amount you pre-selected. This plan allows you to get all possible leads.
- Monthly Plan – Let’s you set a fixed monthly budget & stops your listing once the limit is reached. It automatically shows your listing on the next month or until you change your settings.
- Cost per click is generally pretty low and in some cases even lower than Google Ads
- Helps you get laser targeted traffic to your website
- Less traffic. My shopping has about 2 million unique visitors per month which is lower than Google
Shopbot, which caters to the Canadian, Australian and British markets helps your customers find your products and directs them to your checkout.
You can see an example ad here:
You get full control over your budget using their pre-credit system. You will need to provide them with your data feed in order for them to integrate your products into the system and your items will be live within 48 hours.
Shopbot is reported to attract 2 million unique visitors per month and offers 3 different types of accounts according to your budget and requirements.
- Basic Account – Includes the name of your store, product description, product photo & product price.
- Basic Plus Account – Includes all the features of the Basic Account plus you get to add a promotional phrase to your listing.
- Pro Account – All the features included in the Basic Plus Account and you can add the logo of your store.
Shopbot will also provide you with an analysis tool that will help you track your ROI so you can monitor your conversion rates, cost per sale and average sales.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, you probably need no introduction to ebay. Nevertheless, we have included an example of an ebay ad below:
Anybody who’s got online access has heard of eBay and it being the world’s largest auction site. Of course, if you already have your own e-commerce website, you could be thinking how redundant it would be to open up another store on eBay. Well, think again. A lot of e-commerce websites are using E-Bay to drive more customers to their sites.
Even the big guns, such as Toys R Us, Neiman Marcus, Radioshack & Barnes and Noble have eBay stores.
E-Bay will charge you sellers fee's depending on the type of listing you choose – auction style or fixed-priced format. There is an “insertion” fee which is how eBay charges you for listing an item and the “final value” fee the moment your item is sold.
Here are some tips to ensure your ebay account is effective:
- Provide information – Enclose a company brochure or a product catalog as well as your URL in the good you sell.
- eBay ID – Make sure that you choose a username that matches your business name or domain name.
- About Me page – Use the about me page effectively. Make sure you share relevant information about your products and your business on this page and include a link to your website here (effective as of August 2012).
- It's a low cost advertising solution
- Highly targeted buyers
- You can set the minimum price you are prepared to accept for a sale
- No advertising – You cannot advertise your site directly on your eBay auctions. However, you can sell low-cost & introductory products to start building a customer base.
- Most people's journey for purchasing products start with search not ebay. Ideally you want to capture people early in the research process so you can remarket to them so that they think of you when when they are ready to buy.
Getprice.com.au is a media company that connects retailers with shoppers. It distributes retail content via the Getprice platform to a national network of web, mobile and print publishers including Bing, Yahoo, Choice, News.com & Nine MSN.
Information about how it works is delightfully vague. However it's lies in the large amount of traffic that could potentially be generated.
- It claims to have 9.5 million monthly visitros
- High quality of online publishers
- You have to sign up to find out how it works & what the pricing structure is
Nextag is another comparison shopping website that also allows buyers to find out what other people think before making a purchase.
You can see an example below:
It caters to markets in Australia, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the US although there is an Australia specific website which attracts 850 thousand unique visitors each month (30 million worldwide on the nextag.com site).
Aside from their merchant program, you also have the option to advertise your business through their Pay Per Click advertising program.
Like Google AdWords there are no listing fees or set-up costs. You only pay Nextag when they refer a qualified lead to you.
Nextag also offer:
- Campaign optimisation – They offer free and automated ROI tracking system.
- Promotional Messaging Platform – allows you to implement voucher codes and marketing messages
- Credibility – They have buyer reviews and trusted seller program to help you earn trust
Although Amazon is one of the world’s biggest online retail networks, along with eBay, it still restricts businesses from Australia from selling their products on the Amazon virtual stores.
Amazon has no headquarters or staff based in Australia even though they sell at least $100 million worth of products to Australians annually.
There have been rumors that Amazon is finally opening its merchant program to Australian businesses, however it still remains mum about the buzz.
Amazon may be an online shopaholic haven but it’s not a place for you if you want to supercharge your own e-Commerce website. Some restrictions include:
- You cannot upsell to a customer buying your product, so you can’t promote your website.
- You cannot directly get in touch with a customer searching for your product; Amazon does not allow merchants to do that.
- You do not have access to customer information when Amazon does the shipping with its Fulfillment by Amazon service.
- Amazon pricing for merchants is pretty expensive. You have to pay USD $480 a year, plus 15% referral fee and an additional USD $1.35 closing fee for media products.
Maybe Amazon is the right place for some vendors who are just looking for product revenues but it’s certainly not the ideal place if you want conversions on your online store.
Other sites of note include:
There are a number of different ways for retailers to advertise their products online. Whilst the options provided may just come down to your budget, adopting a multi-channel approach could be an effective strategy as your grow your online business and look for incremental sales.
in the era of personalised search where Google serves up different results to different people, we believe taking a multi-channel approach will pay dividends.
The challenge will be to effectively measure and test what is and isn't working. We address this in part 3 of this series. So stay tuned and bye for now!