Welcome to another session of Expert Interviews!
Brian Roizen is the co-founder and Chief Architect at Feedonomics. Feedonomics is a leading product feed platform that allows you to easily optimize your products for hundreds of channels like Google Shopping, Amazon, Facebook, and Walmart. We asked him some questions about the eCommerce landscape and what advice he has for marketers.
What major changes have you seen across the eCommerce digital marketing landscape in the past 5 years?
In the last 5 years, I’ve seen three large transformative changes in the eCommerce digital marketing landscape.
The first change, although technically 6 years ago, was Froogle transitioning from a free standalone price comparison engine into Google Shopping, a paid channel with prominent placement on Google search results. This was also the beginning of the end of many US based price comparison channels like PriceGrabber and Shopzilla, which no longer got any free traffic.
The second major change was Facebook launching Dynamic Product Ads in 2015. Retailers could now remarket to Facebook users who displayed intent by adding a product to their shopping carts or even viewed a product landing page. This opened up the eCommerce remarketing landscape to all retailers large and small beyond what Criteo and Adroll could do.
The last change is more of an evolution than a sudden change, and it’s the explosive growth of Amazon. When over 55% of product searches start on Amazon, online retailers are realizing how powerful and effective of a sales channel it can be.
What advice do you have for brands thinking of selling on Amazon?
Amazon is a very interesting channel for brands because of the Brand Registry, which is only available to sellers who manufacture or sell their own branded products. Unlike dropshippers or resellers, brands can control the most important product attributes like title, description, features, and categorization in their Amazon listings. In Feedonomics you can A/B test titles and descriptions to get better performance.
Also critical for Amazon is winning the buy box. Over 90% of all Amazon purchases happen in the buy box, and one of the biggest factors to winning it is price.
To help win the buy box, tools like Feedonomics have the ability to create algorithmic rules to make sure you are always competitively priced. For example, if you aren’t in control of the buy box, you can keep lowering your price by a penny until you are. If you are already in control of the buy box, you can raise your price to increase profits until you’re not in control of the buy box. In a similar vein, it’s also important for brands to watch resellers of your products for MAP price violations.
What are some common pain points clients come to you with? How do you help them?
One of the most common issues we see is usually the result of a “set it and forget it approach” with Feeds. Often times feeds are being sent directly to channels like Google Shopping and Amazon without any optimization in between, and worse yet, nobody is periodically checking the feeds. So, what happens when new products are added or even to the existing products? The categorization could be incorrect, the titles could be poorly optimized, or key attributes could be missing. In some cases both old and new products could accrue errors or disapprovals.
Errors or disapprovals on Google Shopping cause product disapprovals that may result in thousands of dollars of lost revenue per day. One way to solve this is to manually check your Google Merchant Center daily to identify any errors, but that’s incredibly time-intensive and manual.
Learn how Feedonomics tackles this issue.
Another common issue we see is how to handle orders from multiple marketplaces. If you’re selling products on Amazon, Walmart, Jet, eBay, and your website, that’s 5 different places where orders can happen. Rather than fulfill orders in 5 different places, the ideal scenario is to fulfill in one place, which is usually your eCommerce platform, and send tracking numbers wherever the order took place.
Learn how you can easily automate order fullfillment when you are selling on multiple marketplaces.
What opportunities do you see for retail marketers in the near future?
Beyond Amazon, Walmart is an emerging marketplace that is taking serious market share. Walmart has made many acquisitions including online retailers and Jet.com, and is estimated to grow their eCommerce sales by 40% in 2019. For those reasons we’ve seen a lot of demand from our clients.
Google may be making one of the largest changes to eCommerce advertising with their launch of Shopping Actions, to compete with Amazon. Shopping Actions allow users to purchase through Google through a Buy Button without leaving Google.com.
Rather than charge a Cost Per Click, Google charges a percent of the transaction, just like on most marketplaces. We’ve been testing this with a few top retailers to great results, and it will be a very interesting opportunity as it becomes more broadly available.
What do retail marketers need to keep an eye out for in 2018 and beyond?
As the Google Shopping landscape becomes more saturated and competitive, it’s necessary to differentiate your strategy through either better campaigns or better-optimized product feeds.
Retail marketers also need to keep a close eye on Amazon, which has recently increased seller fees in many categories as well as started to advertise on Google Shopping directly.