The Ecommerce Secret Weapon You Haven’t Heard Of
by Chris Brubaker, Op-Ed Contributor, April 11, 2017
One of the biggest advantages retailers have online is access to shoppers’ expressed intent to purchase. Simply put, when anyone visits an ecommerce site, they can clearly indicate what they want by expressing intent via the search box, what they click on, or the way they navigate the site. Expressed intent is much easier to pin down online than it is in a physical store, and research shows that people doing searches have the highest intent to purchase. These shoppers are looking for something specific and are more likely to buy it if they come from search.
What if you could marry this super high-intent search behavior with your product catalog to automatically create customized landing pages that are very attractive to search engines? For ecommerce companies with tens of thousands of SKUs that could never all be manually optimized for SEO, this strategy can be very powerful, as it generates a lot of valuable traffic off of long-tail keywords that are just sitting there waiting to be captured.
Let’s say your ecommerce site is pulling in 30 searches a month for “floral silk scarf.” The system will notice this and also detect that your ecommerce store is not providing good results for this search because the individual product pages are not set up to capture this level of detail. But you actually have four scarves that are floral and silk. What this traffic generator does is to create a landing page with those four scarves on it so that when a user searches “floral silk scarf” they only see the actual items they are searching for. This is very appealing to search engines because the approach is reliably indicative of what the person is looking for.
Marrying site search results with this paid traffic source has been a huge advantage for retailers. According to a leading southern California-based furniture retailer, in 2017 alone, capturing these high-converting long-tail SEO targets in an automated way has already brought in thousands of clicks and tens of thousands of dollars in sales. What’s more, it’s a tenth of the cost of paying for the same clicks on Google’s Display Network, and brings in shoppers with a higher intent to purchase.
This strategy also gives retailers insight into optimizing other merchandising opportunities. For instance, the furniture retailer did not anticipate the popularity of the very specific search for “down and feather sofas,” which in fact became their #1 auto-created customized landing page. The company was able to use this valuable insight to inform additional omnichannel merchandising opportunities, such as product descriptions, email campaigns and brick-and-mortar store layouts, to meet shifts in demand.
As you continue to find the right balance between optimizing your paid and organic channels, consider how marrying the two can be your secret weapon to making the cost per action significantly lower and the purchase intent immeasurably higher.