Case Study: Venus Didn’t Skimp With Comparison Shopping Engines

Feb 16, 2012 4:32 AM  By

Women’s fashion and swimsuit retailer Venus prides itself on offering quality swimwear and fashion apparel at affordable prices while offering their customers the very best customer service in the industry.

In the competitive world of women’s fashion, these traits are essential for keeping customers happy. But how does Venus ensure that their latest styles are making their way in front of potential new customers?

Venus uses a combination of marketing channels, including comparison shopping engines. The comparison shopping program had been managed in-house, working to make the most out of Google Shopping and Bing Shopping, the largest “non-CPC” engines. In looking to wring more performance from the program, Venus approached Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG), who has been managing their paid search program since 2008.

Their goal was to grow the program on the existing engines, eventually expanding to the ‘paid’ engines while maintaining a desirable ad-cost-to-sales ratio.

The first order of business was to focus on improving Google performance. In order to increase traffic levels and sales volume, RKG’s first priority was to give the engines a better understanding of each product’s description and title. This would not only help with product relevance on the Comparison Engines, but this would also give the consumer a more clear understanding of each product by describing each one in greater detail.

At launch, RKG created specific titles for each product, highlighting the popular Venus brand, product name, size, and color from different columns that already existed in the Venus product feed; for example, “Venus Bikini Top Size S Brn”.
Unfortunately, the original feed had several color abbreviations that may or may not have been easily understood by the Comparison Engines and their shoppers. RKG knew that further enhancements would be necessary and created a system for changing color abbreviations (eg: Brn) to full color names (eg: Brown) for existing products, as well as future products that would enter the feed.

“With fashion- focused products like Venus apparel and swimwear, it’s important to make sure that the shopper sees the specific styles, sizes, colors and materials she’s looking for”, says Todd Bowman, Manager of Comparison Shopping at RKG.

As a result of the optimization efforts, click traffic increased 8%, while sales from Comparison Shopping increased over 44% through the first five weeks of RKG management, a clear indicator that the more specific titles were providing the additional information needed to make the products more relevant to the engines, as well as their shoppers. Even more dramatic was the increase that came from replacing the color abbreviations with full color names. Average sales over the subsequent four weeks increased a whopping 245% while click traffic increased by more than 44%.

Venus found the additional revenue they were searching for through the channel and continued to expanded their Comparison Shopping program to more engines, including several “paid” engines, where RKG’s continued optimization efforts efficiently drive incremental sales.