Merchants Find Creative Ways to Drive Conversion Rates

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NEW YORK -- Search engine marketing may be the new kid on the block, but driving conversion rates isn't too different from what retailers having been doing for a long time: finding the right sales proposition that will make consumers buy your products.


This similarity between online and offline retailing was abundantly clear during yesterday's retailer search engine marketing tactics seminar at the Search Engine Strategies conference.


Brian Mark, chief technology officer at Toolbarn.com, described several strategies his company employs to drive conversion rates, including using 682,000 very specific search terms instead of a smaller number of general terms. This strategy translates to a lot of ads for Toolbarn.com and converts "at an astonishing rate" for Toolbarn.com, he said.


Toolbarn.com increased the click-through rate on one campaign by moving the word "free" to the first line of the ad from the second line. And Toolbarn.com turned Gatorade mix into a top-selling product online by realizing that overseas troops were buying the product and putting language in subsequent ads that let them know Toolbarn.com would deliver to APO addresses.


Allan Dick, general manager of Vintage Tub & Bath, said his company experienced "an enormous change in conversion" by increasing efforts to highlight its free shipping offer.


In answer to a question about how multichannel merchants can track online to offline conversions, Dick explained that Vintage Tub & Bath's Web site displays a live four-digit code that customer service representatives ask for when they are talking to customers looking at the Web site.


"It works. You don't get a crystal clear picture, but you do get a clearer picture," Dick said.


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