Your Strategy for Staying Competitive in Online Retail

I’m sure all of us have made a purchase of some kind online in the last month, and we’re not alone. According to Internet Retailer, US e-retail sales are expected to reach 259 billion in 2014, up 7% from 2013. And there are other predictions out there that web will account for 11% of all retail sales in 2015. Will your advertising be competitive enough to take a piece of that pie? Following these tips will help you get there.

Utilize Sitelinks for differentiators or promotions

Just as ads should be used to get key messages across to potential customers, Sitelinks should be used to share key differentiators from your competitors. Why should someone shop from you and not them? Include links to your pages about satisfaction guarantees, warranties, sales and promos. Do you offer more variations of a product than a competitor? Utilize adgroup level sitelinks rather than campaign level, and include these variations as sitelinks to get your customers to the most specific page possible. Take full advantage of the space with Enhanced Sitelinks and leverage even more text to get customers to your site. Don’t just set up your sitelinks and forget them. Give them a refresh periodically, just like you do your text or image ads.

Bid on competitive terms

While many advertisers have mixed emotions on bidding on competitive terms, there are many benefits to doing so, if it is done thoughtfully. Competitive campaigns are an excellent way to gain customers who are in the research phase, still considering their options. It’s also a great forward-thinking approach to product launches. If your brand is launching a product that directly competes with a competitor’s, a competitive campaign will help you gain some traction on the new product right out of the gate. When implementing a competitive campaign, bid on extended brand terms, rather than just a competitor’s name. This allows you to focus on terms that are relevant to your product offering, and helps avoid capturing searchers that might be looking for something that your competition offers and you don’t. Remember to never use the competitor’s branded terms in your ad copy, as this will likely cause your ads to be disapproved.

Utilize Display & Remarketing

Look-A-Like targeting is a great way to incrementally grow your customer base. Many platforms are now offering look-a-like or similar audience targeting allowing advertisers to show ads to users who have similar behavior and demographics as their current customer base. This type of display buy puts your products in front of ideal potential customers.

Remarketing is the best way to remain in front of customers when they leave your site. If someone visited your site and didn’t convert, show them an ad with that exact product to remind them of why they should buy from you. If someone did buy from you, show them similar products and help them become repeat buyers.

Online shopping isn’t going away any time soon. Be sure you are doing all you can to remain competitive in this ever-growing playground of Internet commerce.

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Prepare for the August 2014 shopping search transition with Google Shopping and data feed optimization:

Guide: The New Google Shopping

Ashley Long

About Ashley Long

Ashely Long is Manager of Digital Advertising for Fathom's consumer brands team. She has over 6 years of experience in digital marketing and specializes in paid search for enterprise e-commerce and retail accounts. She enjoys problem solving and working with clients to not only meet, but exceed their goals. Outside the office, Ashley enjoys scrapbooking, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

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