This is a guest post from Jess Simms. Jess has been writing business content for several years. Her first-hand experience in management, hospitality, and food service informs her writing. Jess currently contributes to the UpFlip blog and is a ghostwriter for several other sites. She holds an MFA from Chatham University.
Online shopping has become the norm. An eCommerce presence expands a company’s revenue potential beyond that of even the most successful brick-and-mortar storefront. In UpFlip’s interviews with business owners, retailers with high eCommerce sales consistently report higher overall revenue and faster growth.
Using Google Shopping is an easy way to expand your eCommerce reach, getting your products in front of customers who might not otherwise know about your brand.
Google Shopping campaigns are more effective than other ad strategies because they give you more control to target listings to specific customers and searches, and typically have a higher click-through rate than ads on Google Adwords.
Of course, how you use the platform makes a difference. If you’re looking for ways to optimize your Google Shopping strategy, these 11 tips will get you started on the right path.
How to boost your Google Shopping sales
1) Optimize product descriptions for Google’s algorithms
You’re not able to specify which keywords you want to target with a product listing on Google Shopping. Instead, Google’s algorithm checks for keyword matches in the product’s description when deciding if it’s a good result for a customer’s search.
Keep in mind that the main purpose of the description is to give buyers info on the product. Use the keywords as naturally as possible, and don’t over-do it. Descriptions that are over-loaded with keywords come across as inauthentic or “sales-ey” and can be a turnoff to buyers.
2) Use high-quality product images
In a 2018 survey of smartphone shoppers, 83% of respondents said product images were highly influential in their purchasing decisions, even more than were strongly influenced by product descriptions (82%) or customer reviews (75%).
Google Shopping pulls images straight from the product listing on your store, so you don’t need to do any extra work—just make sure your store’s product images are clear, detailed, and accurate. Multiple angles of the product are a plus, but the most important thing is that they look professional. This builds trust from your buyers that you’re a reputable seller.
3) Use of negative keywords to target high purchase intent
In Google Ads, you choose the keywords and search terms that are relevant. In Google Shopping, the algorithm makes that decision, and that sometimes leads to irrelevant products ending up in user searches.
Let’s say, for example, you run an art supply store, and have a number of paintbrushes in your inventory. Those will be irrelevant for someone who’s buying tools to paint their house, but Google Shopping’s algorithm doesn’t know that. Every time it shows your product to an uninterested buyer, that’s a wasted impression.
Negative keywords let you tell Google words that suggest someone’s not looking for your product. You can find this list in the “Keywords” tab of the dashboard. A free tool like WordStream can help you identify negative keywords to add to your list.
4) Use campaign priorities to fine-tune your ad strategy
Each product listing is a separate campaign on Google Shopping, with its own assigned priority. This is set to “low” by default. If you change the campaign to “High” priority, Google Shopping will choose that listing over other options, regardless of how much you’ve bid for each.
Priority can be especially helpful for stores with a lot of similar products, allowing you to better control which of those options is seen first by Google Shopping customers.
5) Specificity is key with categories and titles
The category and title are the first things the Google Shopping algorithm checks when choosing and ranking results.
Using broader terms might get your product included in more searches, but it increases the chance of irrelevance—in other words, customers will be more likely to see your product but less likely to buy it.
Choose the narrowest category you can for your products. You can always broaden it later if you don’t get enough hits, but you’ll avoid wasting ad money on unrelated or irrelevant searches.
A straightforward, descriptive title will yield the best results. Keywords matter here, too. You want to target the best-performing search results in the title since that’s the first place Google checks for matches.
6) Set up custom filters and labels
Along with organizing products by category and type, Google Shopping gives you the option to add custom labels to listings. You can use this to identify seasonal items, highlight products on sale, or target high-profit items.
Pair your product labels with keywords in the description. For example, if you offer next-day shipping on certain products, include those in a custom label and add a fast shipping tag to the listing.
Similarly, inventory filters are an easy way to manage your product feeds. Filtering out under-performing SKUs or limiting the inventory to your most popular brands can improve your returns on your ad budget since you’ll spend less on items that are less successful.
7) Track the right performance indicators
There are three key indicators (KPIs) you want to pay attention to when tracking your Google Shopping sales: impressions, click-through rate, and conversions.
Impressions tell you how many people see your listing. If these are low, your product is ranking low in searches, and you likely need to improve your title or description.
The click-through rate tracks what percentage of customers who see your listing click on it. The product’s catching Google’s attention but not reeling in users. Better product images or a more engaging description could be the answer, or you may need to refine your ad strategy to target different buyers.
Finally, the conversion rate tells you how many people buy the product—basically, it separates the browsers from the buyers. A low conversion rate often indicates there’s a deeper issue with the product or eCommerce site, though it could also be improved by altering your ad strategy to target more active buyers.
8) Target your bidding to your customers
The reports available on Google Ads can give you valuable information on how people engage with your listings, like their location, what kind of device they’re using, and what days and times they search for products.
Look for patterns when you’re analyzing this data and adjust your bidding strategy accordingly, increasing your bid during high-engagement periods or in areas with high demand.
9) Offer free 2-day and 1-day delivery
When you offer free and fast delivery, your listings get a fast shipping tag that can attract more buyers and increase conversions. Merchants can use Deliverr to provide fast and free shipping with our custom integration, and turn on fast shipping tags with a click of a button.
Deliverr merchants can get these shipping tags through their own website (that offers fast shipping with Deliverr), or through Buy on Google.
10) Use remarketing to re-engage potential customers
There are two approaches to remarketing on Google Shopping. In display remarketing, your products will be shown in Google Ads to users who have engaged with your listings on Google Shopping before.
Recent stats show visitors targeted with display ads are 10 times more likely to click through, and 70% more likely to convert, so this can be an excellent way to increase engagement.
The other option is audience remarketing. You create a target audience, say cart abandoners or users who have clicked on a product listing, then increase your bid for these specific customers so your products rank higher in their future searches.
In either case, the end goal is the same: target potential buyers who have already shown an interest in your brand, and are statistically more likely to buy.
11) Encourage buyers to leave Google Shopping reviews
Data shows that many buyers use online reviews to guide their purchase decisions, and they can be just as influential as recommendations from family and friends.
You can set up reviews through your Merchant Center dashboard, but they won’t show up right away. To activate customer reviews on your Google Shopping listings, you’ll need to receive at least 150 reviews with a composite rating of 3.5 stars or higher. For most sellers, that won’t happen by accident.
Google will also pull reviews from your store if you use one of their approved reviewing platforms. Even with this, though, you’ll probably need to prompt customers to leave reviews to reach the 150 benchmark. Post-sale emails are a great option, especially if you offer an incentive like a discount on their next purchase.
Google Shopping gives sellers a lot of tools that can increase their revenue—if you know how to use them effectively. A few small tweaks to your ad strategy and product listings can make a big difference in the success of your Google Shopping campaign.