The Ultimate Guide to Retail PPC

Retailers Guide to PPC Success

Attracting ready-to-buy customers to your business can be overwhelming. But you know there are highly grossing marketing channels you can exploit. Today, over 80% of shoppers start their purchasing journey online. A majority of them rely on search engines when they want to know more about your products and services

So what platform do you leverage to draw these prospects to your retail website? Although there are numerous options including organic SEO strategies, time is an essential consideration. This is where retailers like you need to consider PPC as their ideal marketing channel.

The pay per click model guarantees an amazing inflow of leads within a short time. Whether yours is a retail start-up or an established company, PPC can help you hit your conversion goals faster than you thought. 

In short, strategic PPC campaign for your retail venture can get you the visibility you need. Combined with the right ad copy and the “money” keywords, it’s easy to win a click and turn your prospect into converting customers for keeps.

What Is PPC Marketing?

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PPC or pay-per-click is an advertising campaign where you pay for the clicks instead of the impressions. They offer your retail business paid listings that are positioned above organic search results. There are prominent platforms that facilitate PPC campaigns including Google Adwords, Facebook and Bing Ads

Retail PPC campaigns aren’t complex to run. It’s getting the best results that matter. If you’re not well versed with PPC campaigns, it can lead to poor results and a loss of resources.

Fortunately, the PPC ads you select give your website instant visibility as soon as they go live. You need to go for the best practices, optimise and manage your campaign professionally. You don’t want to miss updates on the google Adwords or Facebook platform you’ve chosen. You might end up falling behind the competition.

Remember, succeeding with retail PPC requires a discreet roadmap. You need to know where you’re directing your prospects. Too, you need to optimise the journey to score the highest number of conversions in the end.

finding success with PPC ads is all about knowing where you are taking prospective customers and then optimizing the consumer journey in such a way that the maximum number of people convert in the end.

Should My Business Invest in Retail PPC Marketing?

If your website targets customers online, PPC advertising is for you. But there’s a catch, not every retailer will succeed with PPC. Why so? You bet that before you kick-start the campaign, there’s a budget to weigh, advertising goal risks and the competition to consider. You’ll need to consider the following too.

  1. Are you working with a clear-cut conversion goal? Always note, PPC campaign turns in the best results if you can afford every dollar spent for conversion or sign-up form completion.
  2. What are your retail objectives-PPC enhances responsive and agile advertising. If you stop pumping in the resources, the PPC juice pipeline is bound to dry up. The only way to sustain it is to incorporate SEO tactics moving forward.
  3. What can you spend before PPC returns expected ROI?-You should know that the PPC ads you choose won’t work instant magic. You need to expend your budget from the onset without expecting returns. Get a reality check on what you can spend first.

The takeaway here-you don’t need exact answers for the above but it pays if you can assess them before you take the plunge.

PPC Benefits for Retail Businesses

Since PPC generates results faster than organic campaigns, you understand that there are benefits that come with it for your retail venture. Here are some:

Wins More Qualified Leads

PPC generates qualified leads than any other advertising method. You’re targeting conversion-ready prospects who are already; looking for keywords related to your brand. Eventually, you enjoy a large pool of customers who are likely to make a sale. PPC help you to capture leads with high intent to buy from you and not your competitors.

You Control Your Budget

The budget you’ve set for your digital marketing camping matter a lot. When you go for PPC, you have control over the amount you wish to spend. Remember, the amount you allocate will have a direct impact on the result. For instance, you won’t generate more leads with $500 the way you will with $5000. But since you want exceptional results, you don’t want to allocate a peanut budget and expect great ROI.

Target Leads Accurately

PPC lets you speak to specific leads. It lets your retail venture to laser-target prospects that are already willing to “talk” to your brand. In fact, PPC lets you pick a timeline for when you want to run your ads. You can run for a day, weeks or months. Equally, you target leads at a particular time when you know they’re available. It’s the perfect way to drive up the preferred results. Don’t forget, you have control over the appearance of the ads meaning you can customise your PPC ads for maximum appeal.

Get Immediate Results

I’ll bet that you’re always looking for digital marketing methods that work magic. The retail PPC strategy that you use gives you an instant overview as soon as you launch it. Once you track the campaign, you have the insider information regarding its performance. It’s easy to track your clicks, impressions, conversions and lead volume. Also, you can assess how your prospects interact with your ads. You can fix specific areas where performance is lacking and maximise your retail PPC results.

Enhances Brand Exposure

PPC ads enable your retail business to gain more exposure in front of your target audience. In fact, its boosts brand recognition which is crucial from a conversions point of view. When your PPC ads go live, not every prospect will click. Relax, your prospects are in the process of internalising your brand’s values. Thereafter, they’ll remember your ads and convert.

A Retailers Guide to PPC Success

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 If your retail outfit isn’t endowed with a crazy budget, you’ll be looking for ways to keep up with the competition. But before you launch your PPC campaign, what else do you need to do? Other than approximating your budget and evaluating your customer’s worth, here are some guiding steps to take.

Provide Competitive Prices

The online marketing sound for retail PPC is always on an upward trend. Brands are always investing in search and shopping ads. If you want to win the clicks and conversion battle, always offer competitive pricing. When your ads go live on Google, for instance, they are pitted against your competitor’s together with price details. Consumers will identify affordable options even without clicking your ad. Yes, some shoppers will question quality but they’ll primarily buy based on price.

Leverage reviews

In the retail PPC arena, reviews have a heavy impact regarding the click and convert decisions that shoppers make. Stats show that over 85% of customers believe in reviews the same way they do with recommendations from trusted sources. 

Your retail venture needs to invest in asking customers to leave behind reviews. A customer satisfaction survey can be handy. Remember, you need to make use of the bad reviews. They tell your prospects that you’re ever ready to improve their happiness.

Integrate Remarketing Ads

Whereas customers search online for desired products, cart abandonment isn’t uncommon. In fact, only a handful of prospects are likely to convert on their first interaction. This is where a remarketing plan comes in handy.

Showing dynamic ads to consumers who took some action on your site can sway them into returning with an intent. You can customise site content to favour their shopping experience. You can win them for the long term.

Filter Your Audience

Your retail venture enjoys customers who impact the bottom line more than others. You need to weigh them based on their lifestyle, factors that affect their purchasing decision and the like. You’ll need to segment and filter your audience. It works for every retail PPC effort. You can mark them out based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geolocation
  • Language preference
  • Career 

By filtering your audience, it becomes easy to craft focused ad groups or campaigns. A clustered audience is more likely to convert and you can maximise your PPC budget.

Use Best Ad Copy to Drive Ad Performance

Your segmented audience responds well to specified ads. But you can do well with multiple ads for these segments. Then, do you know the impact that the words, headers or CTAs on the ad can do to your audience? 

The ad copy you intend to use requires testing. By that I mean you’ll need to test several variations to identify one with the right impact.

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Some takeaways with the ad copy:

  • Always test each variation at a time. Testing multiple elements won’t give you clear impressions.
  • Mark out different copy elements and features in the variations to find one that guarantees the most clicks.
  • Leverage tailored calls to action and be precise about what you want the audience to do.
  • Use A/B testing since it provides succinct results if you’re testing multiple ad copy variations

Enhance Ad Performance with Ad Extensions

Search engines like google provide ad extensions on their search networks to make your ads appear professional while capturing audience attention. What you don’t know is that such extensions serve to provide more ad info in a crisp format. Some extensions that favour retail PPC optimisations include:

  • Callout extensions
  • Site link extensions
  • Price extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Review extensions

With such a range of extensions, you can boost ad efficacy and performance. Remember, all you need is to pick the ideal extensions and settings for your ad campaign.

Do you want to run a killer PPC campaign for your retail venture? Then the secret is in the campaign settings. Steps that guarantee you success include: avoid automatic bidding for starters. Automating doesn’t give you control and you cannot create and leverage keyword-based bid strategies. Go for manual bidding though it’s quite demanding.

Use Bid Modifiers to Support Your Budget 

You can use modifiers for days of the week, devices, time and geographic location among others.

Time your ads to run at specific hours or days when they promise the best engagement and high conversions. You can leverage customer data to provide such insights. If you don’t have such data, run your ads 24-7. From here, you can use PPC campaign data to filter ads to run at the most opportune times. It helps to control your budget.

What if you’re running local PPC ads for your retail shop? Here, you need to display the ads to prospects right outside your geographic location. If you’re operating ad variations, consider rotating them evenly. In fact, it’s another way of evaluating your ad variations.

Retail Marketing: PPC Tips to Increase Your Ad Conversion

Not long ago, you heard that PPC teams can drive conversions up with minimal sweat. Being the most scalable advertising method, its essay to rake in qualified leads and high conversion rates. Here’s how:

Know Your Demand Curve

In the recent past, platforms such as Bing Ads, Analytics, or Adwords display trackable changes regarding behavioural changes within your target audience. What you should be looking for is how these changes took place. You need to capture sequential changes that might have occurred annually. For instance, seasonal changes that occur around holidays are easy to note. Check how the curve changes and prepare for the next demand change with the upcoming season.

Display Ads at Opportune Times

Really, the secret with PPC ads is to show them to the right prospects at the right time. You only need to research and know when your target audience is active on specified channels. You’ll score highly if you show the most compelling ads that resonate with them.

Use Long-Tail Keywords

What ad keywords have you leveraged for your campaign? The rules are easy here. Always pick low competition but high volume keywords. You’ll be safe if you keep off broad tail keywords that return indefinite results. 

Avoid keywords that are used by prospects when they start their journey. Instead, go for a long-tail keyword that consumers use when they’re in the decision making stage of the journey.

Negative Keyword List

Negative keywords tell search engines that you don’t want to associate your site with them. You can search for a list of site favourable keywords that relate to your favoured keywords. If they’re not motivating visitors to convert, add them to the negative keyword’s list.

Change Geolocation Settings

If you’re looking for prospects in a given area, you can adjust your geo-location. Then, your ads will only be displayed exclusively in that area. For instance, Google Adwords relies on the GPS location or customers IP address to check whether a prospect qualifies to see your ads. In fact, it’s highly recommended that physical stores should adjust their geo-location details for ads to be seen by immediate audiences.

Consider Mobile Devices

There’s no second-guessing with this one given the power of Google’s mobile targeting. If your ads are highly responsive to mobile users than desktop, you’re better off creating mobile-only ads. You should ensure that your ads and web design come with the mobile shopper in mind.

Innovative Marketing Strategies That Maximise Your PPC ROI

Since you’ve decided to invest in a retail PPC campaign, I’m pretty sure that you’re not aiming for below-par results. The following are some retail PPC strategies you can adopt to improve your PPC ROI.

PPC on Multiple Platforms

Like many other retailers online, you’re bound to select Google Ads as you primary PPC platform. It’s a smart move. But don’t you think you need to diversify. You can leverage Facebook ads or other social media platforms to gain a wider reach. Take time and evaluate other ad networks that align with your retail PPC strategy and ideals. It will inch your ROI higher.

Use Mobile-First Landing Pages

Today, over 50% of ad clicks are happening VIA MOBILE DEVICES. In fact, over 40% of retail transactions are also happening on mobile screens. What does that mean for your retail PPC campaign? That you’ll need to embrace mobile-friendliness before launching the PPC campaign. 

One area you need to be cautious about is your landing page(s) this is where your click-happy prospects are directed. It pays to design a mobile-friendly, fast and intuitive landing page. It’s a sure-fire way of maximising your PPC ROI.

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Lookalike and Similar Audiences

This is one innovative retail PPC strategies. You can experiment with lookalike audiences on Facebook or comparable audiences on Google Ads. They’re active on different channels but they help your retail outfit in appealing to prospects that mimic your existing website users or visitors.

Lookalike or similar audiences enables you to leverage audience targeting exponentially. Plus you only need to provide customer data. Google and Facebook can automate the audience creation process.

Work With Realistic Ads Budget

Online retailers approach their advertising efforts with unreasonable budgets. That’s a mistake. Yes, you control the budget but underspending hardly gets you dream results. You know that you don’t need a multimillion-dollar budget to ace your PPC campaign. You only need to factor in aspects such as cost per clicks or what the competition is spending to get it right.

Use Appropriate Search and Display Ads

If your ads are showing on google ads, you can choose responsive display and search ads. This facilitates PPC strategy automation. What’s more, you exploit Google Ads machine learning capabilities. 

It becomes easy to craft multiple ad combinations, track them and measure their engagement quotient as google displays them to your prospects. Remember, Google offers the chance to A/B test your ad copy, titles, descriptions and images.

Effective Retail PPC Strategies to Increase Holiday Sales

By now I know you don’t need to be reminded that PPC advertising is a highly measurable advertising channel. As a retailer, you that holidays seasons present some of the lucrative seasons with high ROI. 

Even though holidays come with busy trading blasts, not many retailers have an idea of how to boost season sales by channelling qualified leads to their retail stores. Here are some tactics you can leverage.

Dynamic Re-Marketing

Have you been creating your re-marketing ads manually? You’ll agree it’s quite hectic. But there’s a way out. When you leverage dynamic remarketing, it takes away the manual workload involved when creating product ads. 

The best part is that Google can create automatic ads every time searchers hover over specific products on relevant product information and photos. These are sourced from the data in your product feeds.

With dynamic re-marketing tags fixed on your web, it’s easy to craft remarketing lists for actions such as:

  • Search results
  • Item lists
  • Item
  • Add-to-cart
  • Purchase

These actions help you to provide dynamic remarketing to visitors looking for specific products, those who check your product categories or those who add items to cart but abandon them later. In fact, you can remarket to visitors who made a sale and encourage them to shop from you in the future.

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Optimise Your Product Feed

The success of your retail PPC campaigns during the holiday season is in part determined by data quality and accuracy. It’s thus crucial that you optimise and update the product feed. When you do, make your ads as captivating and information-packed. Also, verify how the data is displayed on the shopping ads. You’ll need to take caution with your unique selling points and make them visible.

After optimising your listing, add customised labels to the product feeds. It facilitates smooth campaign structuring and optimisation of single or batch product bids. It makes it easy to set high bids for high profit or best-selling products.

Set local inventory ads

The best thing with local inventory ads is that they’re designed to transform local search into actual store visits. Physical stores benefit from such during the holiday sales season. When you target prospects in your locality, local inventory ads tell them that you got them covered and all they need is to visit your store to pick them. You can reinforce the same using the following steps:

  • Promote in-store listings- inform local consumers that you’ve stocked the product they’re searching for when they hit search engines
  • Expose your local store online- leverage Google’s local storefront as a solid web-based storefront experience
  • Track performance keep checking the impact of your PPC ads and the local retail listings have on online and in-store sales

This format always wins during the holiday rush when consumers want to grab physical products. It’s better when you stock in-demand items that shoppers want to assess physically before they make a purchase decision.

Target Last-Minute Shoppers

In the rundown to the holiday season, customers tend to make purchases at least 10 days to the D-day. What you don’t know is that many will interact with your retail venture at such a time to leverage discounts.

What you can do is to amp up your retail PPC efforts to capture last-minute buyers. For instance, you can optimise keywords with “last minute deals” in the ad copy. You can highlight these short-lived offers with promotion extensions and drive your SERP ranking as well.

Creatively, you can craft landing pages that hammer on the urgency to buy specific products. Go ahead and create urgency using countdown timers to push a shopper to make a sale before the deadline. Remember, you can bait consumers with guaranteed shipping promises. For instance, you can offer guaranteed same-day delivery if they purchase on a particular day or time.

Tactics That Help To Dominate Local PPC

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Local brick-and-mortar stores count on foot traffic to realise their conversion goals. But the competition is never relenting ad your retail venture should come with a competitive edge. Yes, you can leverage paid search ads but it’s never that easy to convince prospects to walk through your door after checking your ads online.

However, with the following tactics, it’s easy to translate your PPC efforts into actual in-store conversion.

Local retail PPC for Local Business

An established e-retailer with the capacity to ship its products nationally can go ahead and launch PPC ads comfortably. However, the local retail shop that targets local prospects cannot afford such. After all, nobody is likely to travel miles to visit your store. The truth is that retail PPC is perfect for local retailers. You only need to implement a different strategy. If you’re targeting local customers, a local paid search strategy will work for you.

Other prevailing local paid search strategies include:

Hyper-Local Campaign Targeting

You must implement hyper-local geographic targeting if you rely on foot traffic fortunately, google offers smart geo-targeting for local PPC. Here, you can control display ads in sanctioned areas. For instance, if you’re in town X, you can run PPC campaign targeting prospects in location X.

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You can leverage google radius based parameters to target other areas central to your store address. The only thing you’ll need is to verify that ad delivery settings resonate with the locations you’ve targeted. This reduces fake clicks and drives up your ad relevance.

Location Extensions

Location extensions are handy when you want to increase foot traffic via the PPC campaign. In fact, they are extensions that incorporate Google My Business info to show your location on google maps on top of the SERPs. 

Even though they’ll show instances when impressions are created, there no guarantee that it’s a must.TO activate location extensions for your Google ad campaign, you’ll need the google my business list. You only need to sync the GMB account with your Google ads account.

Call Extensions

Customers who are looking for fast information will find Call extensions important. These extensions show your telephone number below the text ad on the SERP. Your users can contact you directly instead of clicking on your site.

In other situations, Google Ads provides hyper generated forwarding numbers that allow you to see the number of calls generated form your ads. It’s easy to track such metrics on the user interface. Call extensions are a favourite with your prospects. In fact, they’ll tell you which campaign is performing and show you the ones that flop.

Google Local Campaigns

Since inception awhile back, local campaigns leverage Google’s AI capacity to boost in-store visits while categorising them as conversions. They can appear on GMB, google maps or googles display network. Local campaign ads act like the ad unit google will automate them on compatible networks although you’ll need to set their budget first.

Google Local Service Ads

Some service providers have different objectives compared to product retailers. Since they offer services, all they target is appointments and bookings to drive conversions. Such outfits can leverage Google Local Service Ads. These ads will score the required bookings from the SERP. Even though they suit select businesses, they’re are highly impacting when implemented as part of your retail PPC campaign.

Common Mistakes to Avoid With Retail PPC Advertising

For a majority of retail businesses, their PPC efforts really don’t pan out the way they expect them to. You know the reason why? PPC is fraught with mistakes if you start your campaign on the wrong footing. And remember, it’s not a set and forget process. There are mistakes, yes, but you can prevent and fix them. Here are some retail PPC mistakes to avoid.

Incorrect Targeting

Inaccurate targeting with your PPC ads means you’re showing them to the wrong prospects. It can hurt your marketing strategy. It’s wise to start by defining your user personas so that you work with the right strategy and landing pages. The equation is simple, when you address the right demographics, driving your conversion rates becomes easy.

On the same note, you’ll need to take care such that you don’t target too broadly. Instead, consider a specific audience that finds your ads relevant and engaging.

Inconsistent Messaging

Your retail PPC strategy works well with a relevant landing page. Designing one that doesn’t align with your PPC ads can lead to inconsistent copy, design, goals and mixed up user personas. To succeed, make your landing page an extension of your PPC ads. There needs to be a harmony between the design, UX, brand, ad copy and the KPIs. You can avoid the discrepancies by creating landing pages that facilitate quick conversions.

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Also, you’ll need to check your demographics and test the landing pages on all devices. Notably, don’t use misleading ad copy. Your priority had better be about creating a value sequence that lads the user deeper into the conversion funnel. 


When running you run PPC ads for your small retail outfit, you need to watch your budget. Here, bigger isn’t always the biter option. You can avoid burning your budget by setting campaign limits by the day or per campaign.

Ignoring Geographic Targeting

Your retail venture needs to target a given geographical area if you want to maximise PPC ROI. You cannot afford to launch a PPC campaign for Asian customers while your business is located halfway across the globe. Don’t spread yourself too thin or you risk failure. 

Disregarding Calls to Action

Calls to action fuel your retail PPC campaigns in ways you cannot fathom. You can do wonders with “apply now”, “buy now” or “subscribe here” kind of CTAs.

Prioritise Negative Keywords

If you’re on the Google Adwords platform, the keywords you love are as important as the bad ones. Leverage negative keywords to ensure that your ads are not placed before the wrong eyes.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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