When it comes to marketing, it’s generally a good idea not to put all your eggs in one basket. This is certainly true for retailers, who face a number of questions about how online consumers seek and find new products—via Amazon, or through Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The answer, of course, is a little bit of both, but really understanding it requires a nuanced perception of the consumer journey.
In this post, we’ll consider that journey through the lens of three questions. First, where do consumers generally look for products? Second, how do consumers behave differently depending on whether they are on Amazon or a search engine? And third, how can retailers use Amazon and Google harmoniously?
The answers to all three questions may surprise you—and they definitely have implications for your retail marketing.
Where do consumers generally look for products?
First, there’s the basic question of how consumers do their online shopping. Do they go straight to Amazon to search for the product they are after, or do they instead seek answers via Google, Bing, and Yahoo?
You may think you know the answer, as there is a common and persistent myth that most retail searches happen on Amazon. This isn’t exactly true, however. Consumers do turn to Amazon for their search needs, but only sometimes, and for a particular kind of search. Mostly, Amazon is used for lower-funnel product searches, but there are other types of searches where consumers actually favor Google.
Consider this scenario: You’re looking to purchase a new power drill, but aren’t sure which kind you want. You might do a search for something like best power drill or which power drill should I buy—and more likely than not, you’re conducting those queries on a search engine. Amazon simply isn’t made to handle these kinds of questions.
Using Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you might narrow down your search; you might find out that Black & Decker is the brand you’re after. From there, it’s natural to go to a site like Amazon to search for that specific product, and then to check out pricing, reviews, etc.
Notice that different channels are used to field different types of questions, and these different search queries reflect different stages of the consumer journey.
The implication for retailers? Amazon is definitely an important channel, but it’s not the primary or even the main source of online traffic. Pay attention to Amazon, but don’t favor it at the expense of more general SEO/SEM.
How do users behave?
Our second question pertains to the way consumers conduct themselves when they are on Amazon versus Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Here there are a few valuable points to be made. The first is that many users never visit Amazon, even after using Google to identify the product they’re after. Instead, they use the search engine to glean the necessary information, then buy that product either from a brick and mortar store or from another online retailer.
Another important point is that even among users who go to the search engine and to Amazon, they don’t always use these channels for the same purpose. For example, a customer might use Google for the power drill query we mentioned above, then ultimately buy the tool in question from Lowes or Home Depot. In that same shopping session, the consumer might go to Amazon to search for a book, a child’s toy, or something else.
Consumers use different channels for different categories or purchases, and it’s important to use internal analytics to understand where your brand fits.
The bottom line, again, is that search engines represent important information sources for consumers—and retailers neglect the search engines at their own peril.
How can you use search and Amazon together?
Our final question: How can retailers sync their search and Amazon marketing efforts?
Research shows again and again that when a consumer is exposed to product brands in a Google search he or she is much more likely to check out that same product on Amazon, where the final sale might be made. Everything we’ve said so far about search engines being vital to the customer journey are true, then, but remember that Amazon is often the lynchpin—the final stop at the bottom of the funnel.
Invest in ads to make your products more visible to online search engine users, understanding that this can help direct them to search for your products, or visit a branded storefront page, on Amazon.
Both channels are integral to the sales funnel, and to the journey of the average consumer—which is why we say again that retailers can’t put all their eggs in one basket. A holistic, multi-faceted marketing strategy is a must.
That’s something we can help you develop. To talk with the enCOMPASS team about marketing your retail product effectively, reach out to us any time.
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