Our timing was perfect when entering the Google Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) world. We were initially made aware of the opportunity due to our pedigree in developing best of breed technology solution, our knowledge as Google shopping experts and our singular focus on the retail vertical.

As an early CSS partner adopter, we learnt fast, setting up a dedicated team, who worked closely with Google in understanding the nuances that CSS brought to the table.

With 100+ partners now active and the CSS market continuing to grow, this early adopter status has been significantly important in ensuring that the technology we provide and the service levels that this brings are truly premium.

With this many partners across the EU, we appreciate how challenging finding the right partner is, which has only been exacerbated by the myths that have been communicated in the market. Taking this into account, here are our top five tips for choosing the right CSS partner maximising the benefits.


1) Select a proven CSS partner

With over 25 agency and more than 100 clients across Europe, we are one of only a handful of partners who are classified as a Google Premium Partner. This recognises that you are working with a partner who your peers trust, have confidence in and have realised the value of CSS.

Agencies and retailers who choose to work with Premium Partners can benefit from the provider’s in-depth knowledgeable and training, as well as a range of exclusive credit incentives that are currently being offered by Google to only Premium Partners.


2) Don’t take improved performance for granted

We have seen many retailers reap the rewards of the lower CPCs that can be gained from entering the shopping auction with a CSS partner. However, one myth in the market is that you can purely move to a CSS partner and reap the efficiency savings or additional sales and revenue straight away, without daily monitoring and changes to your campaigns.

Our performance measurement framework developed by our data science team, along with the consultative approach from our expert onboarding team, has ensured that our clients have realised the benefits aligned to their objectives at pace, with no false starts and full migration complete within one to two weeks.


3) Understand the CSS partner’s technology capability

Although the number of customers clicking through on the link promoting the CSS brand is low, this does happen and there is some incremental free traffic to benefit from.

Many providers in the market have developed a simple solution that is just good enough to meet CSS requirements and does not facilitate the basics, such as returning the product a user has clicked through on. Many of the sites also fail to deliver on the site speed benchmark of 3 seconds set by the industry.

As a marketing technology growth partner, our approach is to continuously invest in our roadmap for change, with weekly site releases. When you are next speaking to your existing or new CSS partner, ask what their plan for future development is, and how this will benefit your business. We actively involve our agency partners and retailers in our roadmap.

We have two options for agencies to take advantage of our market leading platform. We can either create your own branded comparison shopping site and become a CSS partner, or integrate your clients directly into the Productcaster comparison shopping site, which our agency partners are favouring to realise the benefits for their retail clients before peak.


4) Rest assured there are no new merchant centre or Google Ads accounts required

As seasoned experts in Google Shopping, we realised the need to have a solution which reduced the points of failure for migrating to CSS and reduced the setup and ongoing management of the campaigns.

We worked closely with the team at Google to recognise the most efficient and effective setup when testing and migrating to our Productcaster solution. We are surprised to still see CSS partners talking about the need to duplicate merchant centre or Google Ads accounts (or both); this is simply not the case.


5) Work with a partner with a sustainable charging approach

Our approach is to charge on a fixed fee basis to create certainty to the client on how much they will be invoiced each month. With peak around the corner, if you have signed up or are considering a partner who works on a percentage of media spend, consider what this actually means for the monthly payments that you will have to pay. If you are not careful, these may skyrocket out of control across October through to December.

Also be aware of partners who are offering a CSS solution at a low fixed monthly fee. Questions we recommend you ask include:

  • How many and which brands do they have live?
  • What is their onboarding process?
  • What is their technology capability and commitment?

Contact our team today to find out how Productcaster can help your business.