Why Your Merchandising Team’s Effort is Lost on Your SEM Team, Part 2: Breaking Down Silos Between Merchandising and Marketing
Part one of this two-part series examined how to leverage your merchandising team's product catalog. This second and final installment will focus on how search engine marketers can coordinate with merchandising teams to synchronize paid search with on-site product search.
When consumers visit an e-commerce website, it's unlikely they find their desired product on the initial landing page. Chances are they use on-site search to find what they're looking for. Or they may not even care which retailer they buy from; they just enter a search term into Google and see which site has the best match at the lowest cost. Appropriately enough, online retailers have teams to address both of these consumer strategies — a merchandising team for on-site search and a SEM team for web search.
Unfortunately, merchandising and SEM teams commonly exist within silos that rarely communicate with each other. While some people hear this and worry about a human resources intervention, I hear it and worry about unrealized clicks and conversions.
Online merchandising teams spend considerable time grouping items together and deciding which products to display when consumers enter specific search terms. Likewise, SEM teams dedicate resources to identify the keywords and phrases that lead to the most relevant landing pages. What these teams rarely do is share how their efforts can be integrated to produce results. Remedying this situation and breaking down the silos will lead to more targeted web-search landing pages, more strategic keyword selection and bidding, and ultimately higher clickthrough and conversion rates.
For example, imagine your merchandising team has a page dedicated to women's sweaters. Predominately displayed on the women's sweater page are navigational facets that allow shoppers to narrow their search by specific colors, patterns and fabrics. If your SEM team knows this, it no longer has to place a high bid on the term "sweater." Instead, it could bid on less expensive, more targeted terms such as "red sweater" or "striped sweater" or "cotton sweater."