January 4, 2024
In the whirlwind of Google November 2023 update, the familiar terrain has morphed into a surreal landscape. It's no longer just pianos when you search for a piano; it's an eclectic mix of shoes, helmets, and tech. In this bizarre bazaar, how do sellers adapt to the change, find their footing and stay competitive? Let's unravel the strategies.
Google introduced a significant search results update in November 2023. Its revamped algorithm, promising “more relevant and valuable search results”, has broadened the meaning of relevance to an almost unrecognisable extent. A search for a specific product like "Yamaha p45 piano" now yields a bewildering array of items, from the related to (seemingly?) random: helmets, frying pans, bikes, other piano models from Yamaha brand, other piano models from other brands, etc. Apparently, Google believes that these products might also be relevant to shoppers. They may have data showing that people who buy a Yamaha P45 piano also purchase sports helmets, frying pans, bikes, and other pianos. This new approach to search results can be confusing for shoppers in some cases. However, it poses even greater challenges for sellers, forcing them to completely rethink their strategies.
The upside? There's potential for broader audience exposure (maybe people who are looking for a frying pan will also see your Yamaha piano and decide to buy it on a whim — after all Google, apparently has data that proves that such things have happened).
The downside? It dilutes the effectiveness of targeted searches, making it harder for sellers to reach customers who are explicitly looking for their products.
New approach dilutes the effectiveness of targeted searches, making it harder for sellers to reach customers who are explicitly looking for their products.
Another significant change brought by Google’s new approach to search — automated price monitoring systems, reliant on precise matches, are now grappling with the unpredictability of search results. The reliability of using markers that used to be unique, like EAN/GTIN or titles, for accurate product matching has diminished, leaving a gap in market intelligence.
The consequence? Sellers may miss crucial price trends, affecting their competitiveness. However, this also opens avenues for more nuanced, multi-faceted approaches to price monitoring.
Moving away from competition-based pricing is a viable option, especially for niche or strong brand products with less price sensitivity. This approach allows sellers to focus on brand value and quality, potentially attracting a more loyal customer base. However, for products in highly competitive markets, this could mean losing out to competitors who continue to aggressively price their products. The key lies in understanding your product's position in the market, price elasticity of demand for every product’s category and the price sensitivity of your target audience.
Opting out of monitoring prices on Google Shopping might seem an attractive escape from the new complexities. By focusing on other platforms like Amazon, Idealo, Asos, eBay and others sellers can regain control over how their products are presented and discovered.
However, this strategy risks losing out the diverse market insights that Google Shopping provides. Google Shopping is the only platform that allows to see all the sellers in one place and get insights on actual competition.
To answer all these questions a seller needs Google Shopping, not selected websites.
The Comeback of Manual Price Monitoring
There’s definitely a renewed value in manual price monitoring. This labor-intensive approach involves personally scouring Google Shopping for competitor prices and product placements. The advantage? Accurate, real-time market insights that automated systems might miss in the current scenario. The downside is the significant time and effort required, making it impractical for sellers with extensive product lists.
AI stands out as a sophisticated tool in this new challenge. By analysing complex patterns and consumer behaviours, AI can predict likely product matches and market trends with a degree of sophistication that manual methods can't match. This approach offers a dynamic, adaptive way to understand the marketplace. However, it requires investment in technology and advanced solutions such as Aimondo Data & Intelligence.
In this new era of Google Shopping, sellers are navigating uncharted waters. Each strategy, from shifting away from competition-based pricing to leveraging AI, carries its unique set of challenges and opportunities. The key lies in understanding your market position, being flexible, and choosing the approach that aligns best with your business goals. In this ever-evolving digital marketplace, adaptability isn’t just a strategy; it’s a necessity.
Ana is a rare breed: T-shaped marketer with a wide experience in eCommerce, B2B, B2C and B2B2B marketing. Writes about unconventional strategies for exceptional growth.
Step-by-step guide on maintaining high profitability in retail.