More retailers are skipping storefronts in lieu of online-only shops, and a strong online presence continues to be essential for any brand. Technology companies have taken notice and are racing to help bridge the gap between search and purchasing for consumers.
Operating an online store is inexpensive, when compared with the costs of operating a storefront which often requires a larger selling team and significant overhead related to operating a bricks-and-motar facility. However, e.commerce retailers still have to break through the infinite choice online, and catch the consumers attention. Luckily, apparel is the fastest-growing shopping-search-volume-category for Google.
Driving New Traffic
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are one of Google's strongest and most effective tools for measuring ROI and driving new traffic. Etsy's Jay Bergensen indicated PLAs, since launching with them in September, have generated an average of 4 million monthly visits directly to product listings featured. To emphasize the PLA's significance, one third of those visitors were new to Etsy.
There are also a handful of new company's which are embracing product searches and are using them as a way to track consumer trends. Wantering.com is essentially a search tool, directing consumers to product pages of various online stores. The site also offers a preview of the seasons trends to appeal to consumers who are fashion-oriented. They are linking search and purchase for a consumer who is perhaps just browsing.
While search drives 45 percent of an online stores' average web traffic, only 5 percent of a users time is spent in a search box. PLAs, product images and a new generation of search/shopping sites like Wantering are changing the game and having a real impact on sales.