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Retail Marketers: Maximize Your 2008 Holiday Results From Online Marketplaces and Shopping Channels

November 11, 2008

The holiday shopping season is well recognized as the peak revenue-generating period for the retail industry. This year, however, the economic downturn has generated additional pressure on retail marketers to drive sales. For smart online retailers the current economic situation presents an opportunity as consumers look to the Internet for convenience and cost-savings to fulfill their holiday shopping needs.

Research firm Forrester expects online retail sales to reach $44 billion during the months of November and December 2008, a 12% lift over the previous year — a bright spot within overall retail holiday growth projections. A recent survey of more than 2,000 consumers by Harris Interactive found that 37% will shop online to save gas money or find better prices and 32% of those online shoppers indicated they intend to use comparison shopping engines to find the best deals. With challenging economic conditions during the holiday season, comparison shopping engines offer opportunities for online retailers to reach more buyers and extend their marketing budgets with higher return on ad spend.

To help retailers make the most of comparison shopping engines, the Performance Marketing Team at Mercent has published the 2008 Holiday Best Practices Guide for Comparison Shopping Engines, presenting specific techniques retailers can immediately apply to maximize advertising spend and drive more revenue.

The Mercent Guide presents specific tactics that retailers can immediately apply to:

 --  Confirm that product data is accurate, complete and timely --  Apply aggressive but flexible promotions to stay competitive with     offers --  Execute a bidding strategy that focuses on holiday-relevant products --  Track and analyze results consistently to quickly identify new revenue     opportunities      

The Mercent Guide helps retailers optimize holiday campaigns across Amazon.com, BizRate, Google Product Search, Microsoft Live Search Cashback, NexTag, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, Shopzilla, Yahoo! Search Submit Pro, Yahoo! Shopping, and many other online shopping destinations.

The Mercent Guide covers the essentials of effective product merchandising through online shopping channels. Successfully leveraging comparison shopping engines means effectively managing data feeds by confirming product data is accurate, complete and timely. Automated tracking and analysis of results can quickly identify opportunities to employ aggressive and smart promotions to drive sales and profits. For example, the keywords and content that drive conversion of top performing products provide insight into how to maximize sales through representative product feeds. Analyzing product margins relative to advertising costs allows retailers to increase the effectiveness of their bidding strategies, fine tune promotions such as free shipping, and customize channel-specific product assortments. Leveraging the right tools to report timely and actionable analytics and to implement marketing decisions based on those results is key to retail success on the comparison shopping engines. Retailers who are able to efficiently promote the right products in the right places with the right merchandising copy and promotional offers are those that stand to gain the most online this holiday season.

Mercent’s complete 2008 Holiday Best Practices Guide for Comparison Shopping Engines is available at www.mercent.com/holiday

About Mercent

Mercent provides online marketing technology and services to help retail merchants optimize performance across online marketing channels. Mercent’s on-demand platform, Mercent Retail, connects existing retail management systems and The Mercent Shopping Network, a network of more than 50 online shopping destinations including transactional marketplaces such as Amazon.com and SHOP.COM, comparison shopping engines (CSEs) such as Shopping.com and Shopzilla, paid inclusion programs like Yahoo! Search Submit Pro, and affiliate marketing programs such as LinkShare and the Google Affiliate Network. Mercent Retail makes it easy for merchants to increase revenue and gross margins by promoting the right products with the right merchandising offers and placement using optimized product data feeds to these key retail channels. Mercent customers include Bidz.com, 1-800-Flowers, Bass Pro Shops, Celebrate Express, GUESS?, Levenger, L’Occitane, Redcats USA, REI, and other leading retailers. Mercent is an Amazon.com Certified System Integrator, Buy.com Gold Certified Partner, SHOP.COM Certified Data Feed Provider, certified Google Product Search Partner and Yahoo! Search Submit Pro certified feed provider. Founded by veterans of Amazon.com, Mercent is a venture-funded company based in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit www.mercent.com.

SOURCE: Mercent




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