A new home for Retail and Shopping content: the Google Shopping Blog

6/11/2013 12:00:00 PM

For the past five years, we've had the pleasure of connecting you, our Google Retail Blog readers, with the latest retail insights and trends.

We’ve recently received numerous requests for a one-stop shop (pun intended!) for all Retail Ads and Google Shopping related content. So starting today, you can get all the retail advertising and trend info you're used to seeing here, along with the Google Shopping content that has been appearing on the Google Commerce Blog and Inside AdWords, on our new Google Shopping Blog. Going forward, we will not be posting any new content on this blog.

We look forward to your continued support -- and please, don’t forget to subscribe to the new blog so you won’t miss out on any posts!

Posted by Keri Overman, The Google Retail Team

Connect, Click and Convert Around the World with Google Shopping

5/22/2013 11:00:00 AM

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(cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

On June 11th, Google Shopping will complete the transition to a commercial model in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. When the transition is complete, free product listings will no longer appear on Google Shopping. We believe this new model, built on Product Listing Ads, will help retailers of all sizes connect the right products with customers around the world, increase clicks to their sites, and convert more shoppers into buyers.

Onward and upward

We've been pleased with the rapid adoption of Google Shopping by the global retail community. Over 1 billion products are now being promoted globally on Google Shopping, largely driven by a 300% year-on-year growth in participating sellers (including many aggregators and marketplaces). And we’ve seen 20% growth in traffic to retailers over the past year.

Global merchant success stories

We’ve heard from a variety of retailers around the world who have embraced Google Shopping and are seeing great results. Check out the highlights below:

eSearchVision helped Vertbaudet, a retailer specializing in children’s apparel and decor, launch a Product Listing Ads campaign that accounted for 7% of sales from their website in the Autumn-Winter 2012 season.
JapanEnigmo runs a social shopping site offering domestic customers brand items from sellers outside of Japan. After they optimized their data on Google Shopping and created a Product Listing Ads campaign, Enigmo succeeded in increasing the number of new customer sign-ups.
NetherlandsTuinFlora.com is a family-owned business that exports flower bulbs, seeds and plants across Europe and the US. They promoted their products on Google Shopping for their top export markets and saw their conversion rates increase by 20%.
United Kingdom
Forward3D helped New Look, a leading fashion retailer for men, women and teens in the UK, experiment with Product Listing Ads to increase reach and improve engagement beyond standard text ads. They used Merchant Center labels to categorize the catalogue by price bracket, balancing CPAs and ROI more effectively. As a result, New Look saw a 24% increase in revenue week over week, 68% overall revenue growth and 40% improved ROI. 

Equimedia helped WHSmith.co.uk, a retailer of books, stationery, and more, promote their products on Google Shopping. Product Listing Ads represent 6% of total PPC spend but generate 10% of the revenue, producing a total ROI that is 59% better than standard text ads.
GermanyHurra.com helped bonprix, a leading fashion retailer, complement standard text ads with Product Listing Ads, achieving a 50% higher click-through-rate and 30% higher conversion rate at the same cost-per-click.

Make the most of Google Shopping

Whether you’re just getting started with Product Listing Ads or are looking for more advanced optimization strategies, we’ve compiled our top recommendations to succeed with Google Shopping below. Read on for these quick tips and sign up for one of our upcoming Hangouts on Air in your country to learn how you can prepare for the global commercial transition.

If you’re new to Product Listing Ads
If  you’re already using Product Listing Ads
For agencies
  • Join Google Engage to get the latest agency news, trainings and support from the Google Shopping team
Need additional assistance? We’re happy to help. Feel free to visit our Help Center or call one of our Shopping specialists in your country below:
  • Australia - 1800 087 124
  • Brazil - 0800 727 8947
  • Czech Republic - 800 500 353
  • France - 805 540 727
  • Germany - 0800 5894933
  • Italy - 800930819
  • Japan - 0120-984-684
  • Netherlands - 0800 2500026
  • Spain - 900 814 539
  • Switzerland - 0800 002539
  • United Kingdom - 0800 169 0711

Posted by: Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping

Connecting people and the products they love

5/15/2013 01:00:00 PM

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Every day, millions of people turn to YouTube for advice, from learning how to do the perfect smokey eye to trying out a new recipe for mashed potatoes. People are using YouTube not just for entertainment, but to learn a new skill, find more information, and shop for products. This presents a unique opportunity for consumer goods brands to reach shoppers in the moment and provide them with an easy way to go from watching a video to purchasing the product.

To shorten the path to purchase and translate video views to sales, today we’re introducing a new channel gadget on YouTube that will enable consumer goods brands to connect consumers directly with retailers throughout the entire YouTube experience. This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today.

Unilever has partnered with Google to highlight TRESemmé as the first brand to use this new YouTube channel gadget to showcase their line of hair care solutions. There is a growing interest for "hair how to" videos on YouTube with millions of users going to YouTube to learn about hairstyles and hair care. By providing hair tutorial videos, tips and tricks, and interviews with trendsetters, TRESemmé has already generated more than 2.7 million views on their channel. Through their newly designed channel, TRESemmé can also now connect these consumers with the products they’re watching in the demo videos in a faster more efficient way, shortening the shopping journey

This new gadget will be available as a premium offering for Google’s consumer goods clients, produced through Gloto. To see if the shopper channel is the right solution for your brand, connect with your Google representative.

Posted by Danielle Tomassini, The Google Shopper Marketing Team

Get Started with Google Shopping

5/13/2013 11:01:00 PM

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This week marks the start of a new series of Learn with Google webinars specifically for those of you interested in getting started with Google Shopping. Each webinar will give you building blocks for the next in the series, and will get you up and running with Google Shopping in no time. Check out the schedule and register below:

Google Shopping: From Search to Sale

  • Shopping 101: Google Shopping for Beginners on May 15
  • Shopping 201: Maximize Profitability with Google Shopping on June 5
  • Shopping 301: Creating & Optimizing Product Listing Ads on June 20

Each webinar is held at 10 PT/ 1 ET and includes live expert Q&A.

Visit our webinar site to register for any of the live sessions and to access our large library of recorded content. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

Posted by Erin Molnar, The Learn with Google Team

Understanding smartphone use in stores: Shoppers who use mobile more, spend more in store

5/13/2013 01:37:00 PM

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(cross-posted from the Inside AdWords Blog)

Smartphones are our constant shopping companions - helping us research, compare, and even purchase products online and in stores. We’ve already seen that smartphones are key to pre-purchase activities. With 84% of mobile shoppers now using their phones to help with shopping in physical stores, smartphones are now as commonplace in stores as shopping carts and cash registers. In “Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices”, with the help of M.A.R.C. Research and the Google Shopper Council, we set out to understand mobile’s role in stores and how marketers can take advantage. We found that across the board, shoppers who use mobile more actually spend more in store, so marketers should face the mobile in-store challenge head on and own the digital shelf.

Smartphones are transforming the retail experience
Now that consumers have product details, price comparisons and reviews available instantly at their fingertips, shoppers complement what they’re seeing on store shelves with what they can find on the web. This behavior isn’t just limited to high consideration purchases like appliances and electronics. In every industry we looked at, including household items, apparel, and pet care, more than 70% of smartphone shoppers use their phones in store to help with shopping. In fact, two-thirds of baby product shoppers compare prices on their phones in-store.

So what are shoppers using their smartphones for in stores? The research showed that phones were primarily used for:
  • Price comparison (53%)
  • Finding offers and promotions (39%)
  • Finding locations of other stores (36%)
  • Finding hours (35%)
Shoppers who use mobile more, spend more in store
While many businesses might assume that smartphone use in store drives shoppers to seek better prices elsewhere and order online, we found that the opposite was true. We compared the in-store purchases of moderate and frequent smartphone users and found that basket sizes of frequent mobile shoppers were 25-50% higher. For instance, while the average appliance smartphone shoppers spends $250 per shopping trip, frequent smartphone shoppers spend $350. Marketers shouldn’t shy away from the showrooming challenge, and should instead, meet it head on.

Search is often the starting point for in-store mobile activity
While many marketers assume that smartphone shoppers use shopping apps or navigate directly to brand and retail websites while in a store, we found that 82% of smartphone shoppers use mobile search to help make purchase decisions. This represents a critical moment where businesses can win or lose customers - whether they’re navigating the aisle in your store or your competitor’s. Mobile shoppers are looking for information or savings in the key decision moments, so businesses should own the digital shelf by making sure they’re present when customers are searching and that relevant information is easy to find.

Understanding how mobile changes the retail game
For businesses, this new mobile behavior doesn’t just impact your marketing efforts, it also has clear implications for the entire business - from the products you stock on shelves to the way you train employees. For instance, 1 in 3 smartphone shoppers would rather find information using their smartphone than ask a store employee. In categories like electronics and appliances, this behavior occurs for close to 50% of smartphone shoppers.

However, understanding and embracing this new retail behavior can open up new opportunities for brands to connect with customers in key consideration moments. Some stores promote their expanded inventory online or implement a price match guarantee to retain savings-hungry shoppers. Others are putting smartphones to use with QR codes that share more information about products, or apps with store maps and real-time inventory. Whatever tactics marketers choose, it’s clear that smartphones are changing the in-store experience, and that winning the key decision moments at the physical shelves means owning the digital shelves too.

Check out the full research report to learn more or register now for a webinar on Thursday, May 16 where we’ll discuss the research and how businesses can take advantage of mobile use in stores.

Posted by Adam Grunewald, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads

Updated Google Shopping feed specification

5/08/2013 02:05:00 PM


(cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

Last year, we announced the rollout of the new Google Shopping commercial model built on Product Listing Ads both in the United States and globally. We believe these changes, and the improved user experience, will create new opportunities for merchants and help retailers of all sizes attract more customers to their stores.

The quality of data provided by merchants is critical for achieving these goals. Therefore, we're announcing some changes to the Google Shopping Feed Specification:

  • We are improving our support for merchant-defined multipacks. For example, many consumer products like toothpaste are sold in custom multipacks. The feed specification now clarifies how such products should be submitted
  • We are moving towards a world with high-resolution displays. Therefore, we are also starting to recommend higher-quality images with at least 800 pixels in height and width to give users a better visual representation of advertised products
  • Some products like custom goods, vintage items, or collectibles don't have unique product identifiers. For such products we are now introducing the 'identifier exists' attribute. Additionally, we have updated our requirements on unique product identifiers
  • We have updated our guidance for the description and color attributes to make them more precise and actionable
  • We now provide dedicated support for energy efficiency labels and unit pricing for merchants targeting countries in the European Union and Switzerland
  • Merchants promoting non-family safe items on family-safe websites can now tag individual items as non-family safe

Some of these changes won't be visible to Google Shopping users immediately. We want to give merchants enough time for preparation and adoption. We encourage merchants to use the test feeds feature or the feed debugger to ensure that their updated feeds can be processed correctly.

Merchants can review the new feed specifications and a summary of attribute requirements to help prepare for these changes. They should always make sure to comply with legal requirements while participating in the Google Shopping program.

Enforcement of new Google Shopping Feed Specifications

For accounts that are currently exempted from requiring unique product identifiers, Google Shopping will start enforcing these new requirements for unique product identifiers on July 15th, 2013 in the US, and September 16th, 2013 in all other target countries. Enforcement for all other accounts will start July 15th, 2013 for the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and September 16th, 2013 for all other target countries. Non-compliant items might then be disapproved and disappear from Google Shopping.

Account level exemptions for unique product identifiers won’t be supported after the above mentioned dates – the 'identifier exists' attribute should be used instead.

Posted by Angelika Rohrer, Program Manager, Google Shopping

New Learn with Google Webinars to Help you Become a Smarter Digital Marketer

5/02/2013 12:15:00 PM

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(cross-posted from the Inside AdWords Blog)

At Google, one of our goals is to help make the web work for you. Today we’re announcing a new series of Learn with Google webinars, which will teach you how to use digital to build brand awareness, and give you the tools you need to drive sales and grow loyalty and retention. Each of our sessions gives you deep-dive educational content, across a breadth of products and marketing objectives, in a format that’s convenient for you. Every webinar is led by Google product experts and includes time for audience Q&A. Sign up to start becoming a smarter digital marketer now.

Upcoming live webinars:

09 [Search] Enhanced Campaigns 206: Google+ and Enhanced Campaigns
14 [YouTube] Driving Direct Response with Video
15 [Shopping] Google Shopping 101: Google Shopping for Beginners
16 [Research] New Research: How US Shoppers use Smartphones in Stores
21 [Mobile] Driving Deeper Engagement with your App Users
23 [Search] Enhanced Campaigns 208: Offers and Enhanced Campaigns
29 [Mobile] Driving Brand Engagement with Mobile Rich Media
30 [Analytics] Measuring Success in a Multi-Device World

04 [Mobile] Understanding Mobile Ads Across Marketing Objectives
05 [Shopping] Google Shopping 201: Merchant Center Deep Dive
06 [YouTube] Building your Business with YouTube Video Ads
12 [Analytics] Metrics for the Mobile App Ecosystem
13 [Search] What's New & Next in AdWords
18 [Analytics] Unleashing the Combined Power of Google Analytics & AdWords
19 [Social] Growing your Business & Engaging your Audience with Google+
20 [Shopping] Google Shopping 301: Creating & Optimizing Product Listing Ads
25 [Social] Launching & Amplifying your Impact Across Social Channels
26 [Display] Remarketing Across Search & Display
27 [Research] Creating Custom Infographics with the New Google Databoard

Webinars are held Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern.

Visit our webinar site to register for any of the live sessions and to access our large library of recorded content. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

During our last series of webinars, attendees had the chance to win a Nexus 7. Clint Wilson was our lucky winner and he’ll soon be enjoying all of the tablet’s cool features. Check out our upcoming webinars for another chance to win!

Learn with Google is a program to help businesses succeed through winning moments that matter, enabling better decisions and constantly innovating. We hope that you’ll use these best practices and how-to’s to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming session!

Posted by Erin Molnar, The Learn with Google Team

Reaching the mobile phone shopper

4/16/2013 10:33:00 AM

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Demand for mobile phones shows no signs of slowing down - in fact, according to one study smartphone subscriptions in the US increased by 50% year over year in 2012*. There are many ways to purchase a phone today, and even more choices and options that come with it. To better understand how people shop for mobile phones, Google teamed up with Compete to look at shopping patterns for mobile phones and how they have changed over the past year.

Here are some highlights from our findings:

Devices drive more purchases; less buy to upgrade
Year over year, 25% more consumers purchased a phone to get the latest and greatest device while 9% less purchased because they were eligible for an upgrade. In fact, 1 in 3 smartphone buyers select a phone first, then a carrier.

More choices, more online research
The proliferation of non-exclusive devices at carriers has resulted in more switching, brand uncertainty and cross shopping. One in 3 shoppers switched carriers (up 39% YOY) and nearly half (47%) considered two or more carriers when shopping for a phone (up 193% YOY). In addition, most shoppers are undecided on a phone model with 66% considering 2 or more models.

With all the choices available to shoppers today, it’s no surprise that 80% of all mobile phone shoppers research online - in fact they use twice as many digital sources this year compared to last. Most shoppers take 2+ weeks to research, visit more than 3 brand websites while shopping, and conduct 7 searches on average while researching a phone.

Potential switchers research differently: They are far more likely to have a broader research process (eg. searching on non-brand terms like “best smartphone”).

More shopping for phones on phones
More shoppers are now researching across all screens - the number of people using mobile phones and tablets to research mobile phones has more than tripled over last year. A third of these shoppers said they use mobile devices to research online while they’re in a store - 47% of people using devices in a store viewed a product description, 39% checked the price at other locations, and 38% looked for discounts or offers. However, while the majority of shoppers research online, most people will still complete their purchase of a mobile phone in-store.

Test driving with video
Online video has grown to become an important source of information for people shopping for mobile phones. People in the market to purchase a mobile phone were 4X more likely to watch online videos about mobile phones than last year. And they’re spending a considerable amount of time watching videos. Thirty-four percent of those that watch videos about mobile phones spent 30+ minutes watching videos during the research process.

We also found that watching videos online drives action:

  • 4 out of 10 people who watched an online video about mobile phones visited a store to look at the product
  • 20% of people who watched a video shared that video with friends or family
  • 79% of shoppers who saw an online video ad about mobile phones looked up the advertiser for more information

Younger shoppers buy more expensive phones
Younger adults spend more money on mobile phones than any other age group - 62% of 18-34 year olds spend $100+ on phone purchases - making them a valuable consumer segment.

What does this mean for your brand?
Based on what we learned about the path to purchase for mobile phone shoppers, here are a few insights for wireless advertisers:

1) New devices seem to drive more purchases year over year so a strong product launch campaign is important to win and retain customers. Make the most of key launch periods by amplifying campaigns across the web - and on all screens.

2) The proliferation of non-exclusive devices seems to have resulted in more switching and cross-shopping, so engage shoppers when they research. Each time a consumer searches on a wireless term (eg. best smartphone) or views wireless content online (eg. cell phone review) is an opportunity to either retain or acquire a customer.

3) Focus on 18-34 year olds since they tend to spend more on phones. Younger consumers tend to be more likely to use digital for both entertainment and research so it’s important to reach them where they spend the most time.

4) Drive consideration and action with digital ads. As consumers spend more time with online video, it can be beneficial to generate demand for your brand with video ads. Consider capturing consumer interest with search ads. In our study, we found that exposure to search ads on category and OEM terms could triple brand consideration compared to those wireless searchers not exposed to ads.

5) Reach prospective customers with search ads on category terms. Potential new customers search differently than existing customers. Shoppers that search on category/non-brand terms are more likely to be prospects than those that search on brand terms.

To download the full research report, visit Think Insights.

Posted by Eva Barbier, The Google Technology Team

*Mary Meeker Internet Trends, Dec 2012