April 23, 2019

Hey Marketers, I found your incremental lift!


In the ecommerce world, marketers spend a ton of money driving consumers to retailer websites. In 2017, the retail sector spent $107.3 billion on advertising, with $23.5 billion of that going to digital ads (emarketer). When shoppers don’t convert at the initial point of sale, even more is spent to retarget and drive them back to the product detail page they abandoned. The challenge this practices raises is how to drive incremental lift from retargeting a shopper who didn’t convert the first time?

Story Points Add to Cart | SellPoints

I spent eight years in the retargeting world, primarily at industry-leader Criteo. Our marketing responsibilities ended when the lead was qualified and passed off to sales to close the opportunity; in ecommerce that means driving a consumer with an intent to buy to the product detail page, then letting the ecommerce sales manager handle the conversion. You’re probably doing the same thing now.

If this is how your marketing plan works, you’re stuck living in the past. When a product detail page isn’t converting browsers into buyers, the resources you’re spending to drive them to that page are wasted.

In the retail world I saw marketers try again and again to justify their marketing programs with incremental lift data, but the funnel would stop at the product page because marketers didn’t have a way to tie conversions to the rest of the buying funnel.

Ecommerce optimization platforms like SellPoints are changing the landscape by making it easy for marketers to take control of their product detail pages and create an enhanced experience that aligns with a shopper’s interest. Insights from customer engagement with your product detail page can also be used to better inform bid strategies for programmatic marketing campaigns like retargeting and lookalike advertising, generating an even greater ROAS. This technique has been proven to substantially increase add-to-cart rates by an average of 24%.

At SellPoints we believe that marketing departments should take ownership of the entire ecommerce experience, including product page optimization. This synergy allows for greater conversions at a lower CPA. Marketers are already being held accountable for these product pages through incremental lift and conversion lift. The channel seller or ecommerce manager who is currently managing your product detail pages doesn’t understand your brand like a marketer; who painstakingly constructs individual campaigns across several channels for different audiences. Why outsource the conclusion to someone else who hasn’t read the story?

Marketers have the natural aptitude to take on responsibility for the product page: as expert storytellers, you already produce the kind of creative assets and great content that product pages need. What if that expertly produced rich media content was on the product page as well, unifying the product story and helping to close the sale?

The product page is often the only touchpoint where ecommerce consumers will hear your brand story: they are increasingly disconnected from other retail advertising channels like TV and radio commercials, and are blocking digital ads and cookies. The product page needs to tell the same brand story as these other channels; but in a way that replicates the in-store experience when customers are at the most critical moment in the buying funnel.

How do we encourage marketers and ecommerce managers to start speaking the same language?

There was a time, not so long ago, that a marketer’s responsibilities ended with driving shoppers to the product page. This mindset goes way back. In the past, CMOs thought they didn’t need to manage business and data intelligence, or user behavior and consumption. Now, those are core functions of any marketing department. Recognizing new areas to gain a competitive advantage is key for any forward-looking CMO. With the rise of A/B Testing, marketers can experiment with different messaging in their ad creatives. Testing and targeting has thus become one of the major core competencies in digital marketing.

Product page optimization is one of the simplest ways to increase conversion rates, and it shouldn’t be disconnected from the rest of the marketing funnel. By expanding ownership of the funnel to align product detail pages, marketers will finally have control over product content that actually converts consumers and positively impact their ROAS.

At the very least, there should be more understanding of the mutual challenges faced by marketing teams and ecommerce managers, and a greater coordination of their efforts. Marketers should assist with storytelling content and asset creation, and ecommerce managers can provide consumer and product category insights that inform campaign development.

What are the key challenges for brands who want to optimize their ecommerce experience on retailer sites?

Ecommerce managers can’t provide the best product page experience possible if they don’t know what kind of message you’re using to drive traffic to those pages. If you’re driving consumers to pages in the Sports & Fitness category with display ads about getting ready for football season, they don’t want product content of videos showing moms on ellipticals. This disconnect leaves both parties worse off and could be fixed by further integrating these two roles.

SellPoints’ is giving brands the tools and data they need to optimize the entire ecommerce marketing funnel in ways they never could. I look at the data we provide our brands constantly: small enhancements in product content can make a huge difference in add-to-cart rates. Brand insights from a CMO would provide tremendous value to further optimize these pages.

How does owning the product detail page help with my omnichannel strategy?

More than ever, ecommerce consumers expect an omnichannel experience. Omnichannel has become a buzzword in the ecommerce space as marketers are recognizing the value of a consistent experience across the digital and in-store footprint. Consumers show more loyalty to brands that provide a consistent experience.

The product detail page is an essential part of the consumer’s buying experience and you can get ahead of your competitors by aligning this channel with the rest of your marketing strategy. True omnichannel marketing means taking ownership of every part of the digital experience, including product pages.

Huge brands like Sephora are dominating ecommerce because of their shrewd investment in an omnichannel experience that consumers love. For example, their rewards program has a near-identical experience to their ecommerce site.

The technology today provides large and small brands with the intel to make more meaningful decisions with their marketing spend and delivery meaningful information throughout each touchpoint of the customer journey from display to the product detail page.

Sean Simon

Sean Simon is the SVP of SellPoints