At Google, while we intuitively know that good search is vital to website ROI, especially for eCommerce websites, to date we haven't found any quantifiable data surrounding online retail search. Until now, that is.

Market Strategy Group just published an important new white paper, full of data on how adding or improving search capability on eTail sites can significantly raise retail revenues. The study covers why site search is more important today than ever before, and delves into the potential ROI companies can achieve by having advanced search on their eCommerce sites.

We hope you'll join our hosts MultiChannel Merchant for an upcoming webinar entitled Search: Adding Real ROI to eCommerce Websites on Wednesday, February 3rd at 10:00 am PST.

During this hour-long webinar, you'll hear from:
  • Leslie Bacon, Group Publisher at Penton Marketing Media Group on the online channel and how Multichannel Merchant is addressing the shift towards online sales
  • Joyce Wu, Partner at Market Strategy Group, on their recently published whitepaper, Search for Revenue: Leveraging Powerful Search to Boost eTail Sales
  • Vijay Koduri, Product Marketing Manager at Google Enterprise, on how Google Commerce Search addresses the problems of e-commerce site search speed and relevancy
Register here. We hope you'll join us for this exciting event.

Vijay Koduri

In my earlier Valentine's Day post, I blogged about where and when Valentine's Day shoppers are looking. As we get closer to the day, we are seeing trends in users' searches that can help us think and make not only personal shopping decisions, but marketing or merchandising decisions as retailers. Typical Valentine's Day surveys provide insight into the categories of products consumers plan to purchase -- candy, flowers, clothing -- but if you are flying blindly into the gifts sphere as I often find myself, you might appreciate more guidance on what actual products to buy in each category. Or what actual products to stock and advertise.

Just as you can see specific image search queries and news search queries on Google Insights for Search, you can now also see specific Product Search queries when consumers are "searching for stuff to buy." Recent rising searches show that popular items include pandora jewelry, Timex I-Control watches, various e-book readers, and various smartphone models.

[1] Google Insights for Search, US product search in October & November 2009. 'Flowers, Gifts & Greetings' data based on US product search in January & February 2009.

The East Coast and much of Mid-West may have frigid temperatures this winter, but with Valentine's Day just a few weeks away, Google Insights for Search US trends reveal that 'Valentine's Day' searches for 2010 so far are much hotter in eastern states compared to the rest of the nation. If your retail business services any of the states below, consider creating or increasing your media focus on regional Valentine's Day ad campaigns to target shoppers in those areas where there's more interest:

By drilling down to a city level, we can see that those living in New York, Chicago, LA, or D.C., for example, may be better poised for Valentine's Day success as they have been researching more heavily than other cities:

On a national level, so far search intensity level is in line with trends seen in the previous years. However, as with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we have seen 'Valentine's Day' searches rising earlier than the year prior, indicating that consumers are shopping earlier online for this occasion.

With heightened search interest in the Super Bowl this year, what can be expected of complimentary categories such as electronics, sporting goods, apparel, and party supplies?

Across the board we find that online activity is up year-over year. In fact, compared to 2008:
With double digit category growth across the board, we took a look at average order sizes and found impressive results. Average online order sizes in the home video and audio equipment category peak in January and February, just in time for the big game.

With that, ensure that you promote your video and audio equipment as searchers seek out flat screens, sound systems, and related products in preparation for the game. And don't forget to promote your related products to capitalize on increased consumer interest in activities around the game.

To see what search interest looks like for your category, try the free Google Insights for Search tool.

[1] Nielsen Megaview, January 2010.

Are you ready for some football? With Super Bowl XLIV just around the corner, it's time to get your online marketing efforts ready if you sell related products - such as electronics, sporting goods, apparel items, and party supplies.

As we saw throughout the holiday shopping season, searchers and purchasers turn out for big "offline" days. In fact, Black Friday, the traditional start to the in-store shopping season, saw a 20% increase in search volume and an 11% increase in e-commerce sales.

Looking ahead to the Super Bowl, expect similar consumer behavior. Using Google Insights for Search we find that so far this season, searches for 'Super Bowl' are up by 40% year-over-year.

Likewise, Super Bowl traffic begins to uptick on 12/28, immediately following the holidays.

With strong growth and earlier-than-usual search activity, consumers aren't waiting for game day, and neither should you. Start to connect with them weeks in advance.

Tune in Thursday when we take a closer look at the electronics, sporting goods, apparel, and party supplies category.

Google will be at NRF 2010 [Monday and Tuesday] next week in New York City. For those of you who are attending, we would love to meet you! Hold a spot in your conference agenda for the following session on Tuesday to hear about Google tools that will allow you to put your best foot forward online.

Session: Helping Shoppers Find You

Description: Shoppers are increasingly turning to Internet services like Google to find, map, and get directions to retail locations. As a retailer, you have access to a variety of tools from Google to make sure your listings are complete and accurate and to leverage Google Maps in your online store locator. In this session, you’ll hear how leading retailers have successfully used these tools to establish a strong, accurate online presence.

Date: Tuesday, 1/12/2010
Time: 11:30am -12:00pm
Location: EXPO Hall, 3D04

In addition to this speaking session, we’ll have a booth in the Expo Hall (Booth #365) where we’ll be giving demos of tools such as Local Business Center (to maintain accurate store information on Google) and our Google Maps APIs (that can power your online store locator).

Drop by if you have any questions or just to say “hi”. See you there.