Our beloved animal companions have always tugged at our heart strings, but pets can tug hard at the purse strings, too. The American Pet Products Association projects that U.S. pet owners will spend $39 billion on food and supplies for their furry friends in 2016.
With 60% of pet supplies expected to be purchased online by 2020, pet supply retailers who up their e-commerce games now are best positioned to reap the benefits. And Google Shopping is a great place to start.
Pet supply product catalogs are heavy on items that run out (or wear out) regularly, such as food, toys, and hygiene products. This leads to purchase patterns and buyer behaviors that are more cyclical than other industries. Follow these tips to capitalize on these cycles and become the top dog in Google Shopping…
1. Get re-acquainted with pet owners
Before diving into any tactical adjustments in Google Shopping, keep a few essential buyer characteristics in mind.
Pet owners buy food, treats, and toys often, so they are price savvy about these purchases. Because price is important, and comparisons are easily made, count on the price shown in a Google Shopping ad factoring prominently into a consumer’s decision to buy. If items aren’t priced competitively, their performance in Google Shopping will suffer.
Second, pet owners are emotionally driven to buy products that will keep their pets happy and healthy. They remain loyal to brands they trust and do exhaustive research on brands that are new to them. If you’ve ever had a pet yourself, you can probably relate to how much pet owners care about their animals’ well-being. This means…
2. Highest traffic items ≠ highest converters
With pet health and safety in mind, pet owners tend to diligently research product quality standards. For example, a conscientious dog owner might want to feed his pet food with little or no grain filler, or with organic ingredients—and Google is likely one the of first places he’ll turn to find foods that fit the bill.
Keep an eye out for items with high click-through rates and low conversions, since these can quickly drive up costs across your entire campaign.
In Google Shopping, this means the highest traffic items are not always the highest converters. While researching, customers often click on multiple PLAs, read the description and ingredients, and move onto the next.
Keep an eye out for those items with high click-through rates and low conversions, since these can quickly drive up costs across your entire campaign. And consider adding RLSA to your Shopping campaigns to keep engaging those heavy researchers after they leave your site.
3. Bigger isn’t always better
In the price-driven world of pet supplies, quantity counts. If you have products that appear in Google Shopping as a bulk quantity—say, a 100-pack of chews that costs $80 versus the 10-pack for $10—they could be getting passed over based on the price shown.
Prevent sticker shock by creating separate campaigns for different quantities of the same item at different prices. In other words, one chew stick at $3 is one campaign, the 10-pack for $10 is a second, the 100-pack for $80 is a third, and so on.
On your web site, equip your product landing pages with functionality that shoppers can use to adjust item quantity right on the page.
Setting up price tiers allows you to easily and quickly adjust your bids based on product price (and usually quantity, too, for bulk items). It also helps you keep your cost per click at an acceptable threshold based on the items’ expected conversion value.
This way, you won’t be bidding too high on low-priced items, or bidding your top-dollar products too low—and you can optimize based on performance. Maybe your low priced items convert efficiently, but the high-dollar items don’t. Segmenting will clearly show you how these differently priced items fare in Google Shopping.
Another pointer: On your web site, equip your product landing pages with functionality that shoppers can use to adjust item quantity right on the page. With this capability, the price for a single item is better positioned to compete with other single item listings, and consumers can bulk up to a larger quantity as they see fit.
4. Get more mileage out of promotions
Running a promotion on rope toys and tartar-fighting treats? Don’t forget to include the promotion in Google Shopping, too. Use Merchant Promotions to drive a higher click-through rate, more conversions, and lower cost per click.
Nudge that visitor closer to purchase by making sure your free shipping promotion, for example, shows up in your Shopping ads.
Historically, we’ve seen the path to conversion from an email campaign go something like this: Customer receives promotional email, searches the product of interest in Google, clicks the Google Shopping ad, and buys. Nudge that visitor closer to purchase by making sure your free shipping promotion, for example, shows up in your Shopping ads.
Bonus: Making your sale visible on Google helps you capture the attention of new customers.
5. Mark your territory: Lay claim to competitive advantages
Understanding your catalog and how it differs from competitors is crucial to setting the right bids. Keep a close eye on competitive advantages you have on price or selection, and spend more to highlight those advantages in Google Shopping.
Spend less to promote products when the competition has you beat on price or selection.
If you’ve built a strong house brand for a flea collar, for example, and offer a good price compared with your competitors, it’s worth it to spend a bit to enhance exposure and increase your chances of conversion. The same applies for well-known, national brands for which you have the best price.
On the flip side, consider spending less to promote products when the competition has you beat on price or selection. When your product is competing with mass merchant retailers selling at rock-bottom prices, it’s best to pump the brakes and reduce your bids.
Use these tips to unleash the full power of Google Shopping in your strategy and claim a bigger share of this fast-growing market.