For Zappos – the world's largest online shoe retailer – Google Product Search™ delivered a 400% increase in traffic and an 11% ROI improvement.
For Zappos, Google Product Search delivers the most traffic, the most exposure, and the most conversions – for free. That combination has had a major impact not only on Zappos' traffic and aggregate ROI, but on their remarkable growth. After starting as a small online shoe retailer in 1999, Zappos.com now has sales that are expected to pass $1 billion in 2008. In recent years, Zappos (the name comes from zapatos, Spanish for shoes) has expanded far beyond shoes to include apparel and handbags. The company offers its 7 million customers a choice of over 1,000 brands with 160,000 styles, keeping more than 3 million items in stock.
Perhaps most important, the company's policy of stressing customer service is paying off handsomely. As proof, some 75% of the customers at Zappos.com are repeat customers. But like any business, Zappos needs a steady stream of new customers if it wants to keep growing.
Darrin Shamo, manager of SEM/SEO initiatives at Zappos.com, says the company's market is "everyone who needs shoes, handbags, apparel, and eventually much more." Simple enough to say, but "everyone" is not so simple to reach and to sell.
Shamo says Google Product Search is an increasingly important factor in the company's growth, driving both efficient traffic and sales. "We have worked with Froogle since 2004," he remembers, referring to the Product Search predecessor. "Our objective here is to lower marketing costs while hitting our target ROI across campaigns. Google Product Search is free, and that helps us accomplish this goal. By adding Product Search to our comparison shopping engine mix, we are able to boost our aggregate ROI by 11%."
Most important, Google Product Search turns out to be Zappos' most effective search engine in terms of delivering customers who actually buy something. "It's not just traffic, it's conversions," Shamo says. "And the fact that Product Search is free has helped lift the ROI of our marketing campaigns and activities."
Zappos depends on Google Product Search to produce increased traffic, greater product exposure, and increased conversions. Because Google is the web's largest search engine, it brings sellers together with an enormous number of buyers, making it an ideal vehicle to meet Zappos' objectives. To submit their products to Google Product Search, sellers first upload them through Google Merchant Center™, Google's central repository for structured data. When shoppers type in search words or terms, the name and products of merchants like Zappos are instantly shown, based on the products' relevance. The integration of Product Search with Google.com means that items can be displayed on search results on both Google Product Search and the main Google.com web search.
For Zappos, the payoff has been profound. According to Shamo, Product Search brought in "an average of 380,000 visitors a month" during the vital holiday shopping season of November/December 2007 – an increase of 400% over the year before. "And the conversation rate," he adds, "was higher than all other comparison shopping engines in our portfolio."
With success like that, it's not surprising that Darrin Shamo is planning to continue working with Google Product Search. "To keep growing, we need to increase traffic," he explains. "And Product Search increases traffic like no other shopping engine. Even more important, we need to continue to increase sales. That's where Product Search is really crucial – it delivers customers who actually buy."
Shamo wraps things up with one last comment: "The fact that Product Search is free has had a positive effect on our entire marketing mix , lifting our aggregate ROI and allowing us to experiment with other channels. For a business like ours, Product Search is simply the best tool I can think of to increase traffic to our site and increase conversions – all while lowering costs."