Google Invites Merchants to Run Trackable Promotions
By Ina Steiner
Everybody loves a bargain, and retailers are quick to take advantage of the fact by running sales and promotions. Google announced Thursday it will allows merchants to add promotions to their product listings in Google Shopping to help them acquire new customers and increase order size.
In addition to Google Shopping, merchants can also choose to distribute their retail promotions across other Google properties such as Google Maps for Android and the Google Offers app. Google promotions supports user-specific redemption codes and associated reporting, enabling retailers to accurately measure the performance of each promotion.
Google Shopping has already offered the new feature to more than 25 brands and retailers including 1-800-flowers.com, OfficeMax, Tommy Hilfiger, Express, Chico's, Overstock, Guitar Center, Drugstore.com and Wayfair, and it will expand the program to include additional brands in the coming months.
Nitin Mangtani, Group Product Manager for Google Offers, said merchants pay for promotions on a CPC basis in Google Shopping just as they do for today when shoppers click on their product listings (Google Shopping moved to a paid model this week).
As for clicks on Google Maps and Google Offers, Google will not charge merchants this holiday shopping season, but Mangtani said it does plan to charge for all promotions next year.
The new feature helps consumers find promotions while shopping across Google properties, he said.
Google allow merchants to track promotions by offering unique redemption codes - a merchant can have one million unique codes, for example. The one-time use codes allow merchants to track campaigns and measure the impact on order size (or "basket" size, as Mangtani said).
For retailers who wish to capitalize on sites like Retail Me Not, where consumers share promotion and coupon codes, merchants can use the same code for each promotion - Google supports that strategy as well, Mangtani said.
Interested merchants can fill out a form on the Google website:
"Want to distribute your promotions on Google properties? Fill out the form below and someone from Google will review your submission. We are currently piloting the program and will contact you shortly if your business is a good fit at this time."
The form asks merchants how often they run promotions applied at checkout, whether they distribute promotion codes for online use - and for in-store use.
Mangtani said promotions are not limited to large brands - any size seller can participate, and he said Google has several small retailers in the pipeline.
What it is concerned about is high quality promotions (we don't want "spammy" promotions, he said) so consumers can trust them. Google has a review team to make sure the promotions are high quality.
The merchant must use a shopping cart or platform that allows promotions and integrates with Google, such as Mercent, which is already offering Google Shopping promotions to its clients.
Mercent Chairman and CEO Eric Best called the announcement timely given industry and retailer focus and investment in product merchandising and promotions for the holidays.
See more information about Google's announcement on this Google Commerce blog post.
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 email@example.com.
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