Plumbing fixtures website turns around conversion

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Client: FaucetDepot.com
Vendor: ChannelAdvisor
Objective:
To improve on-site conversions and streamline the plumbing distributor's search
marketing program.

FaucetDepot.com, a Commerce, Calif.-based distributor of brand name residential and commercial plumbing fixtures and accessories, has more than 42,000 products on its website and in parent company Hirsch Pipe & Supply's 17 retail locations. The company has been around since 1996, but it was struggling to master paid search and, more specifically, figure out how to drive commerce without paying extraordinary amounts for each customer click.

“We had a lot of broad [search] term campaigns,” says Colin Harbut, marketing manager at FaucetDepot.com. “That's not necessarily bad, but we were hitting shoppers too early in the buying process. They were searching by brand or product, but they didn't [yet] know what they wanted to buy.”

Faucet Depot was bidding too much for paid search terms (forty cents on average per term). For example: the word “faucet” is bid on by industry giants like The Home Depot and Kohler Co. Competing against companies with vast financial reach makes it expensive for the company to reach customers through search engines.

STRATEGY: Faucet Depot worked with its long-term e-commerce provider ChannelAdvisor last year to find a way to make paid search cheaper and more efficient. ChannelAdvisor recommended Faucet Depot implement its Inventory Driven Search feature onto its e-commerce portal. The feature allowed Faucet Depot to create and manage search keywords based on product titles in order to capture customers performing long tail searches. It also automatically generated product specific ad copy to provide additional relevance to customers. “As customers use search engines they can get specific to find exactly what they're looking for,” says Scot Wingo, cofounder and CEO at ChannelAdvisor.

Most companies like to bid on at least five keywords for each product in their inventory, says Wingo, which means a company like Faucet Depot, with more than 42,000 products, would have to manage, track and measure the performance of more than 200,000 keywords.

RESULTS: Faucet Depot was able to improve overall click-through rates to its site by 16% in 2010, compared with 2009. Inventory Driven Search accounted for 16% of Faucet Depot's total revenue, and 27% of its non-brand revenue. The company no longer wastes money bidding on clicks for terms that won't drive sales, and it doesn't have to spend on cost-per-click for prospects who aren't actually interested in buying a specific product.

“The conversion factor wasn't there before the implementation,” says Harbut. “When you narrow the search results down, conversion goes way up.”

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