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Productcaster has onboarded 20 new merchants in the first quarter of 2024.

Our new merchants have helped to generate 344m clicks from its product listing ads over the period, which is up 10% compared to 2023 and 15% on 2022. Some of the new merchants enjoying this success include Get Laid Beds, The Paint Shed, Trade-Mart, Rapha, Appliance Electronics, Alepoc and Craftine.

Over the course of 2023, our merchants achieved a record breaking £1.1bn in sales and we onboarded 1,026 merchants.

Some of our global brands include Silentnight, Quatropi and Kurt Geiger, who benefit from a suite of performance marketing tools built by marketers for marketers and designed to increase ROI, simplify campaign management, and improve efficiency.

We will shortly be launching Product Maximiser, a data-driven analysis system to spot trendy products, boost performance and make merchant centre management easier. It will also support client delivery teams with proprietary technology, Compass, which is designed to streamline paid search account management and ensure best practice is implemented.

Martin Corcoran, CEO of Productcaster, said: “For the remainder of 2024, Productcaster has set new targets to ensure delivery of a premium service to all merchants, driving even greater opportunity for ecommerce performance during 2024. With Google trialling new formats across the SERP, and shopping becoming ever more dominant, the industry is always changing and support will be key, and with 24 years’ experience in retail, the team at Productcaster are well placed to offer this service.”

As the Easter holidays approach, retailers are gearing up to leverage the unique consumer mindsets and behaviours that accompany this season. Understanding these insights is crucial for crafting effective marketing strategies that resonate with consumers. Let's delve into three key consumer mindsets that drive Easter spending and the strategies retailers can adopt to make the most of this season.

Buying to Refresh: With Easter marking the onset of Spring, consumers are eager to refresh various aspects of their lives. From revamping their homes with vibrant decorations to updating their wardrobes with fresh fashion trends,

Choosing Easter Gifts: Easter gifts should give a sense of a special treat, whether it's decadent chocolate eggs or unique presents. Consumers are willing to splurge on items that make this occasion truly special.

Celebrating Together: As the holiday unfolds, families and friends come together to celebrate. Whether it's a cosy meal indoors or a barbecue outdoors, retailers can align their marketing efforts with this sense of togetherness by offering products and promotions that facilitate these gatherings.

In the UK, Easter festivities often revolve around gatherings, with a significant portion of Brits opting to celebrate either at home or by dining out. Moreover, there's a notable correlation between rising temperatures and increased search trends across outdoor categories. This indicates that consumers are not only anticipating the change in weather but also adjusting their purchasing behaviours accordingly.

As retailers gear up for the Easter period, there are three essential tasks to focus on:

Show Your Range: Start preparing early to capture the demand for Easter-themed products. Utilise various channels, including video content, to inspire and inform consumers about your offers.

Match Consumer Ambition: Tailor your marketing to cater to different segments, whether it's those seeking something unique or those looking to save money. This will capture a broader audience and drive brand consideration.

Nudge to You: Adapt marketing creatives to appeal to a broader audience, focusing on outdoor living and celebrating the arrival of Spring. By positioning your brand as a partner in their celebrations, you can strengthen brand awareness and build deeper connections with your audience.

Easter offers retailers a golden chance to build genuine connections with consumers. By grasping and utilising consumer mindsets and behaviours, you can tailor your marketing strategies adeptly to boost sales and increase engagement during this season.

If you’re concerned about any of these areas or want support in driving success through our CSS and FeedManager tools, don't hesitate to reach out to us at info@productcaster.com and let our expert team take a look.

Source: Google – Easter, Micropeak 2024

Retail Overview
It remains hard yards in retail with volumes slowing -3.2% in December, significantly more than expected according to CBI and the ONS. It’s been a slow start to 2024 with Watches of Switzerland, JD Sports and Burberry all issuing profit warnings as UK inflation dampens demands as well as international price wars and a less engaged Chinese market.

Unfortunately, more of the same is forecast for non-food retailers through Q1, although GFK are reporting improved consumer confidence in the UK, with the index edging up three points to -19 in January, reaching a two year high. No doubt this improvement will take a few months to work through the system and translate to sales but maybe a chink of light on the horizon in an otherwise bleak retail environment.

Retailers and brands should undoubtedly protect their margins, minimise holding too much stock, closely measure any investment and find as many efficiencies as possible BUT not pull back on marketing. In the short-term performance marketing can help the sell through of stock, improve cash liquidity and acquire new customers but long term it drives market share and delivers the best ROI of any business function. Marketing investments made now will mature later when the retail markets is in growth again, delivering more sales and better margins.

Retailers should have a diversified multi-channel plan but specifically in Comparison Shopping - without the right technology stack, some brands are paying 20% extra on Google Shopping Cost Per Click. Productcaster can make marketing budgets work even harder by providing 20% reductions in CPC's. As Google Premium CSS Partner, we’re always up to speed with the latest developments, advice and guidance, which we pass straight to our clients.

Jillian Anderson, Product Development Director at Productcaster reviews Google’s latest changes and the impact this is set to have on marketing strategies in Q1 

Following significant pressure from the EU to be more transparent and open up competition to other media providers, Google has started to roll out significant changes to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), changing the way customers search for their favourite products and brands. 

According to Google, these experience ‘tweaks’ have been robustly tested across key European markets, including UK, DE, FR, and CZ, and early experimental results demonstrate improvements to consumer engagement and uptake. So what does it mean for consumers and brand advertisers in the coming months?  

Firstly, this is a clear statement of intent from Google to increase the competition and transparency of Comparison Shopping, increasing the value and importance of partner Comparison Shopping Services. Quite rightly, Google should not be a poacher and gamekeeper being responsible for both advertising revenues and price comparison services.  As deemed by the EU, this is a recipe for ‘self-preference’ with the possibility of Google favouring the products and prices that deliver the most advertising revenues.  

Secondly, the new changes highlight the importance and need for brands and agencies to have an informed and considered performance marketing strategy to maximise all channel and advertising platforms. Brands should have a diversified multi-channel plan but specifically in Comparison Shopping - without the right technology stack, some brands are paying 20% extra on Google Shopping Cost Per Click costs, while at the same time seeing 20% fewer conversions and lower ROI.   

It is also commonplace for brands to unwittingly enable technology and partners that actually increase the journey length and reduce their own ability to manage customers and products.  The risk of great inefficiency in this space is large and getting larger.  Placing the right products, in the right channel, at the right advertising ‘Cost Per Click’ price, with the right information for consumers to make purchase decisions is key; thus a Comparison Shopping Premium Partner that provides expertise to better clients campaigns as well as the CPC saving, complemented by a feed management solution, can drive efficiency in the channel by up to 50%. 

Lastly, we’re witnessing the end game for one of the original and oldest digital advertising channels within retail, the text ad. With the meteoric rise of Product Listing Ads (Shopping) and the associated product images, buying information and enhanced creative, we have seen proportional decreases to the value and ad share of text ads. There is better performing, more cost effective media at play and this has resulted in text ads being pushed further and further down the page. This channel within Google is literally already on the floor, down and out within retail.  Hopefully, this won’t happen to the Organic page listings so that there is still real estate on Google that can be won through experience and content, rather than just the biggest media budgets. 

There is definitely more change and disruption to come in this space with friction between the EU, Google and competing media partners. But there are also gains to be had and market share to be won for those agencies and brands who have a clearer view of how to drive retail performance on Google. Inevitably, more substantial changes and Google concessions are to follow with the EU ‘Digital markets Act’ commission set to make further competitive rulings on the Shopping channel in Spring 2024. 

When investigating the right CSS solution for your business, there are going to be specific criteria that you need to tick off before making a decision. One of which is going to be the cost – cost of service, cost of switching, cost of support. Recent research from Google shows that retail customers look for greater value for money, not just the cheapest choice and our experience is that this attitude is also translating into B2B spending decision.   

There are cheap options for a CSS partner that will suit some types of businesses, and there are options which on face value cost more but offer immense value. At Productcaster, we know that we fall into the second category. Which is why we often hear the question...  

"But if I can get the same service cheaper elsewhere, why would I choose Productcaster?”  

And it is a valid question. Why should you choose a Premium CSS partner over a more budget option, particularly in this era of price sensitivity, cost of living pressures and the subsequent budget squeezing.  

For us, it’s very clear. Premium partners like Productcaster CSS offer a level of service that you’re just not going to get from companies at the bottom end of the cost scale.  

We have had customers leave us, only to return with stories such as  

“We waited 4 days for a return email on a service critical issue.” 

“We emailed and were told to contact Google as it wasn’t covered in our service plan.” 

“It felt like <previous provider> just didn’t care about our business.” 

And that’s the real difference. At Productcaster, our Client Success Team is dedicated to supporting clients with their issues, understanding their business goals and being a true partner for success. We act as a true partner for our clients. We delve into their business objectives and make sure that we identify the right campaign bidding strategy to meet these goals. Our team respond to client queries quickly and efficiently so that they don’t have to waste time waiting for a response to business impacting issues. And we use every tool at our disposal to optimise client campaigns, so they don’t have to.  

Case in point, Client G who said 

“After trialling other cheaper partners, we ultimately chose to go with Productcaster. Not only did our campaigns perform better with Productcaster CSS, but the support and advice has been invaluable. Coupled with the simple migration and transparency of our monthly cost, the decision was an easy one to make.” 

Premium* Productcaster Package Benefits 

To book your demo and free trial, drop us an email today.  

*Other CSS packages are available 

 

Productcaster helped a leading UK eCommerce brand achieve remarkable cost savings while increasing their online traffic by 45%. 
 

The Challenge 

Our client, a prominent retailer in the UK, was on a mission to enhance their omnichannel strategy. Their primary objectives were to drive sales and reduce operational costs.

The client partnered with us to understand if they could make these cost savings by using Productcaster Comparison Shopping Service. They were also intrigued to see if this could improve their Comparison Shopping Ads performance. 

The Approach 

The approach we took was simple, yet effective. We wanted to fairly test the financial impact of switching to Productcaster’s CSS, and therefore captured data on the following metrics:  

This data was then compared to the previous four weeks to observe the key differences and provide sound results. In addition, to ensure we removed the effect of seasonality, we also compared this eight-week data period with the same period from the previous year. 

The Results 

The outcomes of our collaboration with Productcaster exceeded all expectations, delivering substantial benefits to our client: 

35% Reduction in CPCs: Our client achieved their primary goal of reducing costs significantly, with CPCs slashed by an impressive 35%. 

44% Increase in Clicks: The transition to Productcaster led to a remarkable 44% surge in clicks, highlighting the positive impact on traffic generation. 

31% Increase in CTR: The enhanced performance also resulted in a 31% increase in Click Through Rate, demonstrating improved engagement with potential customers.

To explore how Productcaster can help your business achieve similar tangible results, just drop us an email atinfo@productcaster.com.