27 Jun 2012

Google Product Search Extinction

On May 31, 2012, Google announced a game changing move in how retailers will use the search engine giant to generate sales.

Here’s the lowdown: Free Google Product Search (the ability to list your products in shopping results you see listed in google through a data feed) will be no more. It will be renamed Google Shopping.
All Google Shopping traffic will now be purchased using Product Listing Ads, managed through AdWords.

Your Google Merchant Center account stays the same (but will soon only be used to push your shopping feed data to Product Listing Ads). The retailer shake-up is about to begin. According to Google’s official blog post on the subject, they assure retailers that “Google Shopping will empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively—and it will help shoppers turn their intentions into actions lightning fast.”

The outcome of this shift will be dependent on many factors.
Who knows… Google’s optimistic hopes just might be realized in the coming months.

This full Google Product Searh change over will not be completed until 15 August 2012 however so there's still time to get to grips and prepare for the change.  

Easitill are investigating if this will affect the data feed we currently allow you to export to upload to Google Product Search results our end through the Easitill EPoS Function "Google Export".

However your end you also need to be proactive in understanding the migration and how to get your products into Google still and the changes you will experience in your Google Merchant account because of this new paid ad only way of listing your products in google shopping search results.

We have found the following guide from ROI Revolution - http://www.roirevolution.com which explains all.

Click here to download the Guide from ROI. 

Having a Google Merchant Center feed is not going to be anything new to most retailers who were already enjoying the free results from Google Product Search. The main result for retailers is to make sure their feeds are cleaned up with current inventory, current and complete pricing, and accurate product data. By requiring a cleaner feed, Google will help increase search result relevance and reliability while weeding out unreliable retailers who are more focused on quick traffic than their customers’ satisfaction.
To stay relevant retailers must ensure their products, descriptions, and pricing in the feed is accurate and up-to-date if they want a chance to show in the results on Google Shopping. Retailers should take the time to examine their feed and make sure it is ready for implementation through Product Listing Ads on Google Shopping.

Tips to launching a new website

Your e-commerce website is your shop front so making sure it is relevant to your customers and updated with fresh content is crucial to your success. You need to sell as soon as people reach your landing page. If your shop is outdated it may be time to launch a new website. This can be a great way of refreshing your brand image, generating some buzz, increasing sales and driving more traffic to your site. 

Easitill are available to help with ecommerce quotes for projects and website design work or just a reworking of your existing Easitill website and graphics, but in the meantime here are our tops tips to help you plan your new website update/launch...

Set objectives - Before you start any planning set some realistic performance objectives of what you would like to achieve with the new site. An audit of your current site will help identify any problem areas that you can address with the new site or reworking of existing. This way it will be easier to track your ROI.
You can request bespoke software development quotes from Easitill by calling us on 01604 881881 for any additional features you wish to add to the standard website product separately or if you're a new customer it can be added onto the standard quote package.

Dont Run before you can walk -Starting off a website is daunting and very new to most. Easitill make our website packages scalable so that you can start with the standard or a basic site and features and after your website had been running a while and you understand things more and your needs and requirements and those of customers grow and change you can add additional features later. This also reduces initial quotations and up front costs.

Plan and develop a project team - A website launch is a big task for any business. To get it right you need to be organised. Assign a project manager to oversee the launch and assemble a project team. Have someone in charge of development, content, imagery, promotion, testing and ensure appropriate approval processes are put into place.

Get insider help - It is fair to say that you will have a good idea of what content and pages you would like to update for launch but is this a fair reflection on what your colleagues also would like? Capturing everyone’s requirements from the start will ensure it is easier to obtain organisational buy-in for launch and will limit any internal issues later on.

Optimise your site - In such a crowded market ensuring your new site is optimised for the search engines has never been so important. Check every page and make it includes keywords, phrases and titles. If you do not have a search function in-house it may be worthwhile getting professional help with this. If you are going to be spending a lot of time and money on your new site you will want it to rank well.
Easitill now offer add on SEO packages and contracts.

Remove any marketing jargon - The IMRG tells us that the UK e-commerce market is growing (13% predicted for 2012) and very competitive so you need to make sure that if you succeed in driving traffic to your site that once they arrive they are not put off. Get straight to the point and describe your products / services clearly. 

Focus groups - Sometimes you may be too close to your own business to give a subjective viewpoint. Running a focus group with a random selection of consumers can give you an invaluable perspective from the outside world. Getting your group to browse your site and test out its usability will highlight any issues. Concluding the session with a group discussion can also draw out further conclusions.

Get your tracking in place - How will you track the performance of your new website? Whether you will use Google Analytics or a specialist provider make sure you will easily be able to measure your website traffic and any important metrics that you will need to report on.

Don’t stop testing - Just because you have launched your website does not mean that the job is complete. On-going testing and evaluation of your website is critical in ensuring it is meeting its performance objectives. Make sure you ask for regular feedback from your customer facing functions, as well as having an external feedback channel in place.

Publicise & Market - We've mentioned this key item before in previous blogs, but it really is important. Make sure people know your website exists dont just rely on them stumbling across it in search results even with SEO in place. If you have an existing brand and shop cash in on this. Try and utilise any existing loyal customer base you have and expand on it with various media such as facebook, twitter, print and press etc. Engage existing customers, create a community surrounding your brand and expand on this for success. Promote with discounts/offers/featured products and newsletters in conjunction to drive traffic.

Customer Service - Ensure you have thought hard about how you are going to look after your customers. What are your policies? - Publiscise them on the website to reassure people about dealing with you. 
Have you set up proceedures and policies internally so as to make sure you ship promptly and look after your customers carefully. Ebay is a prime example of this as we've said before - the seller rating system forces people to think carefully about theirs customers and make sellers go to the extra mile to look after them. If they dont they get bad feedback and people wont want to deal with them. If people have a good experience with you then they are obviously more likely to retun to your site and purchase again and also recommend you to friends and family.
Advertise how quickly people can expect despatch and ensure you meet it. 

Dont cut corners -In general a website compaed with the running of a physical shop means reduced overheads (no rent, rates etc),  however it’s very important to recognise that making e-commerce work requires continuing investment . Cutting corners in may reduce your costs but may also reduce your level of success in the long run and ultimately contribute to your failure.

And Finally, if this all seems a bit daunting and your having second thoughts bear in mind the following stats which demonstrate how rewarding in the long run investment in being online really could be:
  • 77% of households have internet access
  • 42.6% of Britain’s shop online at least once a week
  •  Shoppers in the UK spent £5.3billion online during may 2011 
  • 2011 online sales in the UK were £50.34 billion (€59.4 billion) or 12.0% of UK retail trade. 
  • The average British spend online is £71 per month 
  • Only 78.7 per cent of businesses have a website, of which only 15.3 percent use their website for selling

If you would like any further information on bespoke features you wish to add to an existing Easitill website, Building a completely new website with Easitill or SEO Packages please call Easitill on 01604 881881 or email sales@easitill.co.uk.