A back-to-basics approach is taking hold of retailers looking to win online.
It might not be as sexy as social media, but paid search and e-mail marketing are garnering the lion’s share of digital investment. In “The State of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” a study to be released today by Shop.org and Forrester, research shows that e-mail and paid search across devices are the top priority, followed by personalization and bolstering digital marketing teams to support these efforts.
With over 40 percent of e-mails being opened by consumers on a smartphone or tablet, Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, contends that there is continued emphasis on making sure that retailers are not losing customers on mobile.
“Retailers aren’t really spending media dollars on social, except on Facebook. They interestingly are hiring people, which indicates that there are people focused on Pinterest and Instagram pages, but not necessarily buying ad units or optimizing those ad units,” she added, noting the three areas in which retailers are focusing their digital spend: e-mail, big data (including hires to concentrate on e-mail and marketing analytics) and mobile.
As organizations find that search engine marketing and e-mail are driving consumer acquisition — and social media less so — they are, on average, dedicating 55 percent of online marketing spend to this space. Almost nine of 10 retailers surveyed either already have mobile e-mail optimization functions in play or plan to roll them out later this year, and 71 and 73 percent will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets, respectively.
This comes as no surprise, as New York University think tank Luxury Lab, or L2, reported last week that search drives 45 percent of stores’ average Web traffic (including paid and organic searches).
Mulpuru also noted that Google’s product listing ads, or PLA’s — picture ads which were free until last year — can’t be ignored. Research reflects acceleration here — and search numbers become even more significant when taking PLA’s into account.
“It’s a controversial topic. The jury is still out — some people think PLA’s are amazing, others don’t — but it’s a pretty significant part of spend. People are a bit miffed because it’s something they used to get for free and now they have to pay for it,” Mulpuru said. “Google is not a nonprofit and the core search business is mature. That share of the marketing dollar that goes to Google continues to be very large.”
Brian Pitz, managing director of Jefferies & Co., told WWD that clothing and shoes has become the top PLA vertical for advertisers in the U.S., followed by home and garden, beauty and personal care, sports and recreation and food and restaurants, as well as the biggest growth category. From spring 2012 to June 2013, there has been a 410 percent increase in the number of advertisers in this space and 145 percent growth in the number of total ads.
Citing research conducted by the firm released Friday that tracked about 9,400 advertisers, PLA usage is up 54.7 percent from March of this year alone.
“The bottom line is that Google is spending more and more time on retail. Our view is that as more commercial queries [come about] — people looking to purchase — they are stating to monetize more of those commercial queries with these PLA’s,” said Pitz. It’s clear that these paid-for picture ads result in significantly higher conversion rates than just “blue links.”
Although the top three PLA advertisers were search engine marketers hired on behalf of smaller clients — Kenshoo’s xg4ken.com, Adobe Efficient Frontier’s eversttech.com and Rimm Kaufman Group’s rkdms.com — Pitz said that clothing and footwear verticals in particular have become more aggressive about PLA’s. Wal-Mart, eBay, Macy’s and Amazon were ranked four, five, eight and 11, respectively.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)