Merchants have been asking me about the potential impact of the EU ruling on Google’s position in its own results and more specifically the requirement to open them up to other Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) such as Kelkoo and Connexity.
In this respect, the latter has recently (October 2017) issued an email to merchants infoming them that Google has now modified its current Shopping ads program in Europe to enable competing CSS to bid for placement in the shopping auction on behalf of merchants.
Since most merchants are already submitting products to Google Shopping, clearly an obvious question would be to ask whether there is any value at all in using CSS as well.
In answer to this, Connexity claim that “Google is taking significant steps to modify the current PLA auction in order to facilitate CSS participation in a way that will lead to a material redistribution of impressions and clicks. The details of the implementation are complex, but based on our understanding, it is clear that a material percentage of the clicks will shift from Google direct merchant accounts to CSS managed merchant accounts”
If this is the case, I would support their view that there could be a downward trend for merchants in terms of traffic gained from Shopping/PLA, since the prominence and sophistication of the typical major CSS would result in less prominence for smaller merchants within the results.
There is also a strong case for merchants to consider use of CSS to ensure that the loss of direct clicks can be compensated for by growth of other sourced traffic.
At first glance, the published rate cards of some CSS may seem high to merchants compared to their own paid cost per click (CPC).
However, the impact of extra costs needs to be weighed up against the return on investment from these new channels after taking into account the potential improvement
With all product marketing of this type, testing is key. We always recommend limiting the initial product inventory on a new channel to best selling, high volume and/or high margin items, where the profit on sale outweighs the apparent increase in average CPC costs. This limits the potential risk, and offers quick returns to a merchant experimenting on new CSS.
As ever we are here to help and advise. If you want to expand your channel reach get in touch as that can be arranged simply and easily.