Last week John Readman, Commercial Director of Productcaster, took stage at the FUTR Europe 2019 event to launch FeedManager. Learn more about why feed management is so important, how you can plan effectively for your growth and begin making savings for your business.
“My name is John Readman, I represent a business called Summit, and we’ve been working in ecommerce and digital marketing for 18 years. And we’ve been developing software products for our clients such as Argos and Boohoo, to help them make more money out of the internet.
In the last 2 years we’ve been developing our tools and working out how we can help other clients use our tools to also make more profit out of ecommerce. And what we’re going to share with you now is a journey we’ve been on over the last 12 months and why we’re in this space. Some of you may recognise the name Productcaster from Google Shopping. This time last year Google got fined and the whole Google Shopping market in Europe opened up and it became the Comparison Shopping Service (CSS)
We are now the largest CSS by impression share, and that is maybe why you know Productcaster, but today we’re going to be talking about how you can distribute your products around the internet to increase your profit from your shopping feeds.
So why is feed management important today, but also why is it going to be important in the future? We believe from our research, and we’re going to share a bit of a story, that everyone is overpaying, if you’ve got a current provider. Just out of interest who is an ecommerce business and sells things online? Over half of you guys are. So, we’ll give you a bit of who we are and why we think we’re authorised to talk about this, and what it is we’re actually doing. Before that I’m just going to share a video from a friend of mine, Eric Coleman.
(ERIC COLEMAN VIDEO PLAYS)
(…)What that actually means is how do you actually do this as a retailer or ecommerce brand, because it is hard. Everyone is everywhere, all the time on multiple devices. So how do you actually target the right person, on the right device, with the right message, with the right product, in the right place. But also prices are changing, promotions are changing all the time, you might want to use your stock level. You want to make sure it appears at the right time, on the right platform, but also direct them to the right store. So, it might be you want to send them online, you might want to send them offline. So, this is all very difficult and hard and for those of you working in ecommerce this is part of your day to day challenge and job. And some of you may have limited resources and limited budgets to do this as well as tightening margins, so this is just getting harder and harder. CPCs on Google and on Google shopping are increasing every month ad this is getting more and more complicated.
A few stats. Ecommerce is growing. Those of you in ecommerce, you’re in the right place which is good news.
But it’s not just about the Google show. Who already sells on Amazon? Who advertises on Amazon but doesn’t sell on Amazon? Amazon is now becoming the 3rd largest advertising platform and are now making more money from selling ads than Bing do. So, if you don’t have an amazon marketing plan you need to have one.
What’s more interesting here is Google shopping spend was up 43% in last quarter. Either that’s we’re spending more or Google are charging more or a combination of something in the middle. But absolutely we believe this is hugely the winner here at the moment is Google, and actually there’s a lot of fat and wastage in the system and that ultimately is down to best practice that you can improve in-house.
So, we believe that Google Shopping is still, when you go back into the office tomorrow, the biggest place and area you need to look at, is your Shopping feed. Right, and you need to work out how we can optimise this to improve impression share and get better coverage, cheaper CPCs and ultimately CPAs for our products.
So, this isn’t just for today but who’s got a home speaker? Who’s got a home speaker? By the way they are listening to you. I’ve done a test on this. We were discussing buying some art, we’ve never done any searches for art in our house, and then suddenly on my feed on Facebook, things about art started appearing. They are listening.
Right, that’s all going to be feed driven. You’re going to be buying things. Has anyone used their speaker to buy anything yet? Soon you will start asking your speaker, ‘can I buy one of these?’ and you will get given some form of promoted ad. Google and Amazon aren’t giving you these subsidised products into your house, not to monetise them. This is going to come and happen very soon. That will all be feed driven. So, if you haven’t got your feed optimised for Google, it’s certainly not going to work when you need to advertise it on search. AV, VR, people are starting to develop retail experiences where you can start to advertise. You can already advertise on Google maps. You can advertise on map locations. Soon you’ll be able to advertise video into Google street view, to encourage people to visit your store or click on your products. And then how are you going to enter new markets? So, we did a load of research 2 years ago about how can we take our 18 years’ experience in ecommerce and building websites and optimising websites and go to China and show them how to do this. But China don’t use websites, they’re not that interested in SEO or PPC. Right, what they need is, how do you get your products into their marketplaces.
So, we’ve been doing this for 15 years and we decided, should we, as a CSS company, roll out our product, should we research other people’s products, how can we work this out? And we looked at over 250 feeds from our clients, we have 350 CSS clients all over Europe. Hundreds of thousands of impressions every day, and everybody’s feeds were terrible. Absolutely terrible. And, only one of our brands scored 90% in our feed check, and it’s a really basic feed check.
The average score across all 250 was 54%, right? So, everybody is half optimal. And I’m not going to name and shame them, but I think somebody from their brand is definitely at the show today, got 19% and they’re spending hundreds of thousands pounds a month on that, and it’s not even optimal.
And the biggest issues are really simple things to fix, really simple things to fix. This is not rocket science. So, we decided to go out, ‘right should we go out and build out software solution we developed 15 years ago’ ‘should we go buy something’ ‘should we go partner with something’ and actually when we started looking at the market we realised that everything out there was really complicated. It was a bit like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It involved to speaking to lots of people and loads of account management. Where as if I’m a marketeer, I want to take one feed, I want to manipulate it, and I want to publish it within my marketing department without speaking to IT or without speaking to ecommerce.
We also felt people were getting overcharged for pricing, because if you’re a retailer wanting to sell online with multiple feeds, into multiple platforms, in multiple countries. It shouldn’t really, it doesn’t cost me (feed management solution) anything extra to let you do that if you’re doing that as a software as a service. So why should you pay us anymore money? So, we felt everybody is getting overpriced/charged and we didn’t think that was fair.
So today at the show, and yesterday at the show, we are launching our software as a service proposition, Productcaster, to all the retailers out there. And what we’re saying is, currently if your product base is increasing, (most people are trying to increase how many things they sell online,) and you’re trying to increase the number of platforms and feeds your selling it on. You are trying to increase the territories you’re selling it on, if you’re paying a current provider, you would be increasing in a cost. What we’re proposing is there’s a little bit of set-up, to make sure it’s all working, and a little bit of training involved at the beginning. However, why should we benefit from your growth? We are just a software as a service provider.
We believe we can save anybody up to 75% what they’re currently doing if they wanted to try it out. Basically, we help you publish your products to the right place, on the right platform, to the right people, with the right promotion. We also help you optimise these, so you might have a product that doesn’t make any sense to put on Facebook as it doesn’t make enough margin. So, you can select that product and not push that to Facebook or not push it to eBay. We can also help you with enrichment, so if you wanted to target America, but all your content is ‘trousers’ and you want to turn it into ‘pants’, we can do that automatically for you.
Then it gives you a load of rules and diagnostics so you can actually see from the output what is publishing, what is working and how you can optimise that. So if you want to quickly change your pricing and promotion globally on all platforms, you could do that at a flick of a switch, rather than having to go get a new feed, scrape the site, get a new script, It enables you to put the marketers in control.
So, if you want we can do a live feed check, so if you can get a copy of your feed URL from your team. Pop by our stand upstairs on stand C25 and give it to one of our team and we can do a live feed check, and give your score, see if you score better than 54%, prizes for those who do. And then what we do is a 12-week safe launch, onboarding and training and then after that, everybody who comes onboard gets unlimited access and usage of our platform, at a very low monthly fee. Because we want to unlock the opportunity the internet presents to you, and we believe that feed management is how ecommerce is going to grow.
So that’s really all I’ve got to say, apart from these are some of our clients who trust us. This is obviously a lovely quote from some of our clients (…) And one thing we did for these guys, and one thing, who’s also got stores, as well as ecommerce? Right, so we’ve got several clients who had stores and ecommerce, but because of the legacy store system and new ecommerce systems, they didn’t have a single stock view. What you can do is put your store feed in, and your ecommerce feed in, and we can give you a single stock view which can then also empower and enable your local inventory ads on Google. Again, that’s just part of the service, and for some business’ that’s even more powerful than what we’re actually doing.
So, we’re on C25, that’s going to be it from me and I’m going to pass over to the meat and potatoes, the main part of this stream. So, thank you very much for listening. If anyone has got any questions, we have got some literature here or we’re upstairs and you can see the guys in their t-shirts. Thank you very much.”
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