Google Partners Connect for Retail & eCommerce

Cassandra Schooley, Content Coordinator at Ontario SEO
Cassandra Schooley
September 5, 2017
Google Partners Connect for Retail & eCommerce

On Wednesday, August 16th 2017, Ontario SEO hosted an informative Google Partners Connect Event on retail and ecommerce and the growing shift in consumer behaviour. In this presentation, Kristen Johanson, the head of Industry and Retail at Google and Alex Chen, product Marketing Manager at Google discuss how to adjust your marketing strategy in preparation for Black Friday. They provide some great recommendations for using Google Shopping to help increase your sales this holiday season.

The Role of The Store Is Changing

Kirsten, who is experienced in working with retail businesses both big and small, suggests asking a few questions about last year’s holiday marketing success. “Did your website crash? Did your mobile website crash? How were your conversions on mobile?”

These are great questions to ask when evaluating the success of last year’s holiday marketing initiatives. Shopping trends have changed drastically within the last 5 years; shoppers are using mobile more than ever to make informed and educated shopping decisions.

The role of the store is changing

In-store traffic trends show a significant decrease over the past 5 years; customers are no longer casually browsing in stores. They’re now coming into stores more educated and more purposefully than they have in the past. Customers are not waiting to be educated in store, they want to come in with the knowledge they need to make an informed and purposeful purchase.

Shoppers are 25% more likely to make an in-store purchase if they’ve clicked on a retailer’s Google Search Ad. Additionally, there is evidence that when shoppers are finally getting to stores after viewing an online ad, they are spending more, about 10% more on average.

The role of the store is changing

Increase in Mobile Queries & Transactions

Customers are moving fluidly between online and offline and are performing more research online before actively visiting a store offline.

Online searches

Mobile Search Took Off on Black Friday

Mobile searches on Black Friday

In 2016, we saw an increase of mobile inquiries go up by a staggering 25% compared to 2015. That trend is expected to continue into 2017 with an anticipated growth of 35% this holiday season.

Mobile searches on holidays

Three Trends That Drive the Behaviour of Today’s Consumer:


In other words, helpfulness. In previous years, consumers grew loyal to brands and maintained that loyalty for years. Now, shoppers are more likely to shift that brand loyalty to whatever brand is proving to fulfill their needs directly. Google Search is becoming increasingly more important to reach shoppers directly in their purchasing path.

Shopper loyalty Search helps drive discovery and offer assistance

Mass Messages are Meaningless

The “One-Size-Fits-All” approach to marketing that was common in the past is no longer relevant. Today, customers expect business to deliver personalized and customized solutions.

Today's shoppers expect personalization, relevancy

Friction Means Failure

Customers are looking for a frictionless shopping experience. They expect every point of their journey to be seamless, and mobile speed is extremely important and is directly related to conversion rates. Customers want the option to check out right away and also expect automatic payments.

Conversion RatesThese expectations go beyond site speed

How Can Retailers use Google Shopping to meet these challenged?

Alex Chen, a product Marketing Manager at Google, discussed the power of Google Shopping and provided recommendations for Google partners and retail outlets to implement.

Be Present to Drive Discoverability

Shopping clicks

Plan Ahead and Anticipate Traffic

Customers are starting to shop earlier, some as soon as the day after Halloween in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. Be prepared to reach these customers by having a plan in place to target them earlier in the holiday season.

Identify When Your Customers Are Ready to Buy

Perform research and determine when customers are searching for your brand and products in order to maximize your marketing strategy. Use Google Trends Data to determine those key timeframes for searches.

Google Trends data

Plan Ahead and Anticipate Holiday Traffic

Key Dates to Consider:

  • November 24th: Black Friday
  • November 27th: Cyber Monday
  • December 16th : Free Shipping Day – This is the last day for retailers to offer free 7 day shipping, after that date it will be harder to promote and offer free shipping.
  • December 22nd : 2 day shipping cut-off – Important date, as you will get lots of last minute shopping traffic.
  • December 26-31st – Boxing Week

Peak Holiday Traffic

Online and Instore peak times can differ, be prepared for a surge of traffic to your online store as well as an increase in foot traffic in-store.

Holiday peaksHoliday sales

Create Tiered Campaigns Based on the Profit Impact

Creating layered campaigns allows for budget flexibility and the opportunity to prioritize your top products. Set your core campaigns, the campaigns that you may be running year-long, to low priority during the holiday season.


Make Your Inventory Available

  • Ensure your inventory levels are up to date and contain accurate and up-to-date product information so that you don’t miss out on top holiday gift searches.
  • Google Sheets is a great way to manage, update and edit your inventory information quickly and efficiently.
  • Automatic Inventory Updates is a great new tool that works with the products HTML to provide current inventory info.

Use the Diagnostics in Merchant Centre to Fix Issues

If Inventory issues appear in your Google Merchant Centre, ensure you have a plan to monitor these disapprovals during the holiday season so that your inventory is always visible within results. Create a policy so that a designated team or team member can monitor any disapprovals that might come in during the busy holiday season.

Diagnostics tab

Stand Out with Free Shipping & Promotions

Promotions are important during the holiday season, 7 out of 10 Google now offers Merchant Promotions on Google Shopping. Retailers can set their own start and end time and customize the promotions. This is a great way to stand out against competitors offering the same products.

Develop A Comprehensive Audience Strategy

There are three ways you can target customers using Google Ads

Remarketing Lists


Reaching out and targeting customers who search for you or your products, but who get busy and leave your website without purchasing. This allows you and your products to reappear to the searcher at a more convenient time.

Customer Match

You can upload your own data and build a custom target list. Google will then match your data and recommend customers who are already familiar with your brand.

Similar Audience

A great tool that allows you to find customers similar to your current list. You can set different bid adjustments in order to locate different customers who may be at different stages of your customer funnel. Some retailers using Similar Audiences, saw a 30% increase in conversion rates.

Remarketing Lists

Match Shopping Intent with Smart Bidding Strategies

In certain cases, you might not want your ad to appear in results. Depending on the searchers query or their intent, it might result in a wasted click. Be sure that you are following a smart bidding strategy so that you are only targeting customers who are ready to buy.

Reach shoppers when they're ready to buy

Meet Customers everywhere, at Anytime

You can upload your local inventory to Google Shopping and show product details specifically to local shoppers, showing them the distance to your store. You can also bid by location, creating a targeting bid adjustment to only target local customers. Time of day bid adjustments will also allow you to target customers specifically during your operating hours so that your ad doesn’t show up when you are not open, resulting in a lost sale.

Reach your audience

Do You Have a Seamless Experience Across Devices?

As mobile continues to grow, it’s especially important to be sure that your site speed is optimized in order to avoid customers clicked back from your mobile site.

Use to check your site speed.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated Mobile Pages load faster and will improve your site speed, helping customers get through the shopping process on your mobile site more quickly.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Plan Ahead and Make the Most Out of Your Holiday Marketing Strategy This Season.

Plan to win this holiday season

Get the Help You Need From A Google Partner

Are you interested in learning more about Google Shopping? Talk to the team of professionals at Ontario SEO about our Adwords Management Services and how to implement these great strategies to help increase momentum for your business this holiday season.

Watch the full presentation: