Consumer expectations are higher than ever. Today’s buyers expect to find their desired products on the ecommerce search engine of their choosing, and they expect accurate, consistent information at every touchpoint.
In fact, about 56% of customer interactions today take place in a multi-channel, multi-event journey. That means most customer experiences include an array of interactions, moments and channels.
Consumers visit an average of 14 different channels before they decide whether to make a purchase. To make this more complicated, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to account for 54% of all ecommerce sales by 2021.
This means that retailers need to create ecommerce strategies that are built around a mobile, multi-channel shopping experience.
One key step to success here will be driving visibility, which ensures you appear at the top of search results on desktop and mobile. And Google has just given you one more way to do just that.
Google unifies mobile search and products – and that’s good news for you
Google has the unique benefit of being the de facto search engine when it comes to general search – and that includes for products. Now, Google has unified their search on mobile by making products even more important.
Shoppers searching on mobile will be served both the Google Search results and products relevant to that search, organically. These aren’t ads, just a single unified search of both Google and available products.
Ultimately, Google’s unified mobile search saves online shoppers time by automating the task of searching for a specific item on dozens of individual storefronts.
But it’s more than just a customer-facing convenience. Retailers who can grasp the value of unified mobile search will be able to reach more customers, more efficiently. And those who can’t will lose out on a key touchpoint.
Being absent (or incoherent) in these results leads only to missed opportunities. Given that these could lead to an immediate sale, that’s a big waste.
Success and visibility will come from your product data feed
The Google Shopping feed acts as a spreadsheet that describes and organizes a retailer’s product catalog.
Note that shoppers on Google will be able to filter their product results by style, department and size, or view several images of a product – all of these data points correlate directly to your product feed. And that’s no accident.
The product feed in this scenario functions quite similarly to SEO. It allows you to supply relevant information (keywords and data specifications) in order to rank high when consumers make relevant queries on Google.
However, unlike your usual Shopping ads, businesses have no control over which search queries will trigger their products to appear. That decision is up to Google’s algorithms.
To determine which products are relevant for a given query, Google will scan retailers’ websites and product feeds and select the products that seem the most appropriate. Product relevance will also depend on how robust your Google Shopping feed is.
If you want to drive visibility and the likelihood that your products will surface, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible.
How to increase mobile search rank through product data optimization
Without high-quality product data, listings can easily fall to the bottom of the search engine results page. Fortunately, there are several tactics and best practices that will help improve product visibility.
Focus on the following:
- Product title: Your product title is analogous to a website page title in that it’s the first thing Google refers to when looking for relevant results. Avoid keyword stuffing and focus on one target keyword, and move that keyword as close to the beginning of the product title as possible.
- Product image: Attractive, eye-catching images of the product from various angles entice customers to click on your listing. But always omit watermarks, additional text and logos, or Google will likely reject the product.
- Product category: Product category isn’t immediately visible to prospective customers. However it is an attribute that Google considers when populating Shopping search results and is crucial to relevancy. The more narrow and targeted you are with your subcategories, the more relevant your product listing will be for customers.
- Product type: Product type is another backend attribute that helps determine relevance. It’s important that you are as descriptive as possible, especially if you sell niche products.
- Product description: Google scans product descriptions for relevant keywords. This means marketers have the opportunity to feature second-tier keywords in their product description that the system may have overlooked in the product title.
How to automate your product data edits
Google’s website crawl feature uses crawls of your website to read structured data and sitemap information, then extracts information about relevant products.
However, it’s best for retailers to use automated tools to submit their product data, which ensures the data is both up to date and completely accurate and optimized.
Automating product data feed management reduces the risk of errors, increases overall performance and empowers marketers to dedicate more time to optimizing campaigns and testing new channels.
In particular, consider automating these product data edits:
- Product availability: After customers purchase a product on one channel, its availability must be updated on all channels. Doing this manually or without automation increases the likelihood that you will list products that are unavailable or not list those that have become available.
- Change price formats: Manually aligning price formats with channel or country requirements wastes time and resources. Consider automating the process of replacing commas with periods or currency symbols with currency abbreviations like USD, GBP or EUR. Similarly, consider automating the process of conversions or adding tax values.
Consumers have more buying options than ever before, and the introduction of Google’s new Search functionality just reminds us how complex their journey can be.
It’s incumbent upon brands and retailers to keep up by broadening their ecommerce strategies (and product feed optimization) to account for new online shopping trends.
The retailers who successfully incorporate a mobile, multi-channel strategy will be the ones who are most visible to online shoppers today and tomorrow.