Small Sellers Can't Afford Google Shopping
By Ina Steiner
Online merchants must now pay for traffic from Google Shopping, but the majority of small sellers surveyed say they are unlikely to advertise on Google Shopping in 2013. The findings come from two surveys of 600 Vendio and Auctiva users conducted by their parent firm Alibaba in December 2012.
The surveys found that of sellers with revenue of less than $50,000, only 15% said they would be likely to pay for Google Shopping exposure in 2013. Of sellers with revenue greater than $50,000, 26% said they would be likely to pay for Google Shopping exposure in 2013.
Vendio CEO Mike Effle said small businesses want to develop a partnership with Google Shopping, but the survey found that resource limitations were primary considerations, with 38% of respondents stating they simply couldn't pay for Google traffic.
So if small sellers aren't using Google Product Listing Ads to advertise their products on Google Shopping, what marketing techniques are they using? Word of mouth (54%), social networking (37%) and online advertising (37%) were the top three answers. In addition, almost one-third use email marketing. Paid search was cited by only 6%.
Effle said small merchants could begin participating in Google Shopping by setting bids at a penny and capping their spend on a daily basis while they gear up expertise. "You can't win if you don't play," he said.
Mobile Initiatives and Other Key Findings
The surveys also found that over 80% of respondents had not yet optimized their websites for mobile sales, citing expertise and cost as key inhibitors to pursuing mobile initiatives.
The top concerns for small businesses this year are taxes (70%) government regulation (50%) and the Affordable Care Act (36%). And despite a conservative outlook on the economy, respondents remained generally optimistic about their own opportunities; nearly half of the respondents expected to grow their revenues this year.
Asked whether they offer free shipping to their customers whenever a purchase is made, 42% said yes; 31% said no; 14% said no, but plan to start offering free shipping; and 13% don't plan to offer free shipping.
Respondents are planning to do more with less: 78% of small business owners said one of their top tasks in 2013 would be to cut costs and streamline operations.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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