ShopLocal Makes Retailer Data More ‘Searchable’

sl-logojpgShopLocal has introduced a new way to distribute retailer content: search. Wait, haven’t retailers have been advertising in search for several years? Yes, but ShopLocal’s new “SmartDelivery” capability takes retailer data and offers and turns that content into dynamically generated search ads. Compare a hypothetical current retailer ad on the left with what ShopLocal is now capable of:

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Anecdotal and empirical evidence shows that the specificity of the ad on the right (sale data, location, date) will generate much higher response. The ads also click through to specialized landing pages that correspond to the content of the ads, rather than a “generic” retailer home page.

When I first encountered ShopLocal, the company was putting newspaper circulars — as they appeared in print  — online. (It still does that but has “diversified” greatly.) ShopLocal became  a shopping comparison engine and online shopping destination. More recently the company has integrated more deeply with PointRoll (also owned by Gannett) to feed its retailer data and offers into graphical ad units from PointRoll that appear on third party sites and portals.

ShopLocal is also working with Yahoo! to deliver different versions of retailer content to users based on Yahoo!’s targeting capabilities.

In some ways, this new offering is the most compelling. Search is used very heavily throughout the consumer product research process. Yet there’s a disconnect between consumer and advertiser behavior. Etailers are aggressive search marketers, but consumers primarily buy things offline. And traditional retailers are not well represented in search results. If they’re there it’s generally in some more “generic” form, as the ad on the upper left indicates.

On an example search for, say, “plasma TV” only Sears (second position, right column) is present among traditional retailers:

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The Sears ad copy reads: “Save on Plasma Televisions and More Online Now at Sears.com.” In ShopLocal’s SmartDelivery ads offering that ad could show specific deals on flat panel TVs and be geotargeted. The greater effectiveness of this is almost self-evident. This would also likely be true for product-category searches (as above) as well as specific brand/product searches (e.g., 42″ Sony flat panel TV).

Using that specific example, we again see relatively generic ads and only one more traditional retailer (Target), though 80%+ of TVs will be researched online and 98% of TV purchases will be made offline.

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The greater specificity of the ShopLocal ads (deals + local) and the fact that they’re more aligned with actual consumer behavior (research online, buy offline) should make those ads much more effective than any/all of the e-commerce vendors that right now dominate product query advertising in search results.

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6 Responses to “ShopLocal Makes Retailer Data More ‘Searchable’”

  1. ShopLocal Now a Search Agency (Sort Of) « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] ad copy can get even more specific, but the point is that the JCPenney ad is the one that “pops” in the Yahoo! example. [...]

  2. Una McKinley Says:

    I am a shopper. I clicked on Kohl’s Ad for today & instead of asking my zip code (as in the past – so that I would get the ad for my area) I was wisked to an ad in Kentucky ! I’m in northern IN. – so I looked for a place to change the location & I found one ! Alas ! it was only to change the location in Kentucky.

    Obviously when U call yourself: ‘ShopLocal’ – a shopper browsing the net will expect to be offered ‘Local’ stores. As I read about the changes U would make to improve ads, which are actually good ideas – I’m told about an Ad in Indianapolis ! I never drive that far to shop.

    So I suggest that U research some way to target your Ad Locally even if U have to start by asking for ‘Local Zip Code’. I am able to shop at 5 different Kohl’s in a little less than a 50 mi. radius. 3 of them I visit pretty regular – often because of ‘mailings’ or just to look. I usually don’t make it to Kohl’s more than once a week (less in winter if weather is bad) so I do a lot of looking on line.

    Looking forward to your ‘improvments’. Una

  3. Una McKinley Says:

    Our son said he would buy us a TV for Christmas (but give it to us early as ours was dying right before our eyes) – however no one suggested looking on line. We looked in Consumer Reports, then ads in papers & he said he would go to Best Buy to start & then WalMart.

  4. Erik Roza Says:

    Hi, I’ve just stumbled upon your website whilst searching around online as I am searching for some information on LCD TVs!. It is a good site so I bookmarked you and intend to come back soon to enjoy a more detailed look when I’ll more free time.

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