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Google Shopping Insights and Assortment Report: Implications for Retailers

Steve Tutelman

Hold onto your hats, e-commerce retailers. Google just delivered us an early holiday gift with the introduction of two brand-new, shiny tools for Google Shopping: the beta of the Shopping Insights Tool and the Shopping Assortment Report.

These tools give retailers new metrics they can use to make better merchandising, promotion, and marketing decisions. They’re two steps forward in Google’s goal of helping e-commerce retailers run more sophisticated Google Shopping campaigns and take greater advantage of the increasing revenue opportunities from the channel.

However, like any data set, the insights from these tools are only valuable when you know how to make them actionable. Let’s take a closer look at how retailers can use the Google Shopping Insights Tool and Shopping Assortment Report to improve campaign performance.

Hypertarget Your Audiences

The Shopping Insights Tool gives retailers a granular look at products that consumers are searching across cities, time zones, and devices. Imagine the opportunities here. Retailers can use these insights to provide more relevant ad experiences to consumers — increasing the likelihood of conversion and engendering brand loyalty. This is the next generation of dayparting, mobile bid adjustment, and geotargeting — all combined into one tool.

Consider this hypothetical example. 123OnlineElectronics.com taps into the Shopping Insights Tool (hopefully this is available via API one day) and is able to see that Asus tablets generate high search volume on mobile devices in New York and Chicago from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (local time in each city).

With that data and the right Shopping campaign structure, 123OnlineElectronics.com could target Asus tablet searches on mobile devices in New York and Chicago with higher bids through a dayparting adjustment.

Retailers could also fine-tune personalized offers. For example, they could offer free overnight shipping through a personalized banner for consumers in New York and Chicago who are on their mobile devices at lunchtime.

Let’s look at another scenario. Shopping Insights lets retailers compare demand for particular search queries in a certain location and on a specific device type. For instance, you could compare the search interest in the Asus Zenbook to that of the Asus Transformer, in Chicago, on mobile devices.

Say Asus Transformers are more popular. As a result, an online retailer could bid higher on Asus Transformer searches and lower on Asus Zenbook searches that are happening in Chicago on mobile devices. If that retailer operates a brick-and-mortar store in Chicago, it might also decide to order more Asus Transformers and less Asus Zenbooks to optimize inventory.

Uncover Missed Opportunities

More of a merchandising tool than anything else, the Shopping Assortment Report provides insights into products that retailers don’t have in-stock (or in their catalog at all) and that have demand in Google Shopping. This tool offers an opportunity for retailers to understand demand for products similar to theirs on the single largest Shopping channel on the web.

Google has also brought benchmark pricing data back into the mix. Up until a couple years ago, third parties were able to grab competitive pricing data for free from Google’s Product API, but the company shut it down in 2013. The metrics are back now, and better than ever, as the Assortment Report. It displays benchmark prices from a handful of competitors that are selling a given product, which can help retailers research and set their own pricing.

As of now, the data only goes back 14 days, so a good practice would be to note interesting trends and store that data on your own so that you can keep an eye on how prices and other product demand trends are changing.

More Google Shopping Change to Come?

With Shopping Insights in beta and the Assortment Report just released, Google will be iterating these tools based on feedback and new initiatives. Beyond these tools, it’s very possible that Google will be releasing more data in the future to help retailers continue to capitalize on Google Shopping.

Even if your campaign performance has been “good enough” over the last year or two, be prepared for changes in 2016. As the early days of organic growth wear off, competition in the channel and the need to become more sophisticated with your approach and the data you use will be the difference between beating your goals in 2016 vs. holding steady or falling short.

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