|Shopping PPC Conversions in the Gutter|
I run an eCommerce site that sells themed home decor and furniture items.
The majority of my traffic comes from Comparison Shopping Engines. I have an optimized feed submitted to most of the big players (Shopping.com, Shopzilla, etc).
The month of September, we achieved a 0.5% conversion rate. (ROI positive)
This month, we're experiencing a 0.1% conversion rate. (ROI very negative)
There have been very minor changes to the feed and the site between Sept-Oct. This drop in conversions is across every CSE engine in the channel.
All signs point to some kind of error on the site. I've checked, checked, and checked again. Everything is in working order.
Any experienced marketers have any idea what may be going on?
Your input is much appreciated!
[edited by: lorax at 1:22 pm (utc) on Oct. 17, 2006]
[edit reason] no URLs please [/edit]
Welcome to WebmasterWorld
When a user clicks on the PPC link, where do they land?
There's a lot of posts on these forums that talk about how the Shopping.com/Bizrate.com listing provide really low conversion rates. I've been hesitant to even begin experimenting with them. I think Lorax is on the right path.. Describe your landing pages.
When the user clicks the link, they end up at the typical product info page, which contains a 2-3 paragraph description, price, several pictures, cross-sells at the bottom of the page, and an add to cart button.
Free Shipping and a 5% coupon is prominently displayed on the page as incentives for the user to buy.
I was actually fairly pleased with the conversions they were giving me. With each optimization round, my profit margin would get better. NexTag, however, was the only CSE I was unable to turn a decent profit on.
I started off with about 1/3 of my products that I knew were good sellers. I then removed products from the feed as they surpassed my 25% marketing cost goal.
I'm not sure if this goes for other etailers, but I find that landing people on product detail pages doesn't get as good a conversion if you land them a layer higher with a few simular choices.
Actually a client of mine tested landing pages that were designed as self-contained shopping carts. The page had the product and form for completing the sale (ship to, bill to, cc info) all on the same page. All they had to do was to fill it in and click buy. No next page - the order was placed. 200%+ increase (actually I think it was closer to 300%) in sales.
Their products were in the $25-$50 range. Consumables - roughly every 3 months customers returned to buy more.
For you though, I'd get 3-5 people who don't know your products to sit down and click through to your pages and ask them for first impressions.
I'd also look at the keywords that generated the click throughs (if you have that data). Do the KWs closely match the products?
I'd also look at your competitors sites - did they drop their pricing or shipping rates?
|I'm not sure if this goes for other etailers, but I find that landing people on product detail pages doesn't get as good a conversion if you land them a layer higher with a few simular choices. |
This is what we have found to be true also. And it also applies to PPC ads like Google and Yahoo.
We sell big batteries, among other things. We have many models, types and sizes.
So whenever possible, if someone clicks on the "Acme green battery with polka dots", it does not take him to there - takes him to the level higher, which lists ALL of the Acme green batteries. Quite often what he was searching for is not what he is really "looking" for, and that gives them choices.
Another interesting fact that I have noticed. On landing pages, we've tested placing coupons prominently as an incentive to buy. These pages interestingly enough had higher bounce rates than the product landing pages without the predominent coupons. I surmise that the coupon actually acts as a deterrent due to customer perception (why are they offering a coupon, is it to make up for something else?). I suggest trying changing the price for testing with and without the coupons. For instance, lower the price 5% and remove the coupon to see if your conversion goes up.
Here's another way to look at this...
Perhaps the SCEs are no longer bidding up keywords that might drive traffic into their sites which in turn hits a category that your products fall into.
Not sure if this fits in your situation, but if you bidding on accessories keywords hoping the user will purchase the main product along with the accessory, you might want to anaylise the roi.
Online furniture sales are down... way down. I am in the online furniture biz as well and we are finding conversion rates down across the board. Read the trade rags and you'll see plenty of articles about the suffering furniture industry as a whole.
I have tried shopzilla and wasn't impressed. My sales come from organic search.
RE: Online Furniturte Sales
That's some good info. CSE's do well in normalized categories like consumer electronics and computers where a consumer is provided with multiple retailers, product specs, buying guides, user reviews, etc.
CSE's do a fair job with Non-Nomralized goods, such as furniture as they don't provide as much up-front qualification. I would suspect the quality of a CSE's traffic is more volatile in these non-normalized segments.
Remember the CSE's organic base comes back for the digital goods. They rely heavily on SEM and SEO for the non-digital items.