After all, Designer Apparel aggregates designer merchandise from hundreds of clothing stores, such as Niemen Marcus, Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom's, among others, serving up shoppers categorized listings on one Web site.
And while the site aggregates queries across 30 stores for specific categories, it doesn't sell wedding gowns or bride apparel. Dominic Ang, marketing manager at Designer Apparel, San Francisco, wanted to launch a "mothers of the bride" category on DesignerApparel.com. "We built it on a lark, past the wedding season in 2008," he explains. "We had been using AdWords to drive traffic to the site. Doing a search on the popular keywords revealed the category had become a popular search term on designerapparel.com."
On average, Designer Apparel gets between 20,000 and 30,000 people to the site weekly. Most site visitors look at 140 items, but mothers of the bride who find the site through Google or AdWords view on average 15 pages, and each page lists 16 dresses. The mothers will spend between 10 and 15 minutes perusing 300 dresses. Any other tool used to market the category would have attracted a lot of brides who wouldn't have found what they need, Ang says. "AdWords let us build a niche category," he says.
One recent niche category includes "designer maternity," Ang says. There are plans to launch "stylish kids" and "street apparel." AdWords lets Ang introduce niche markets and drive traffic from search engines. "It's almost like just-in-time marketing," he says. "It's similar to just-in-time manufacturing, because I don't have to pay for marketing until I'm ready to take it on."
The wedding industry is a $60 billion-dollar business, according to Shane McMurray, CEO and founder of The Wedding Report. He says 81% of couples rely on the Internet to plan weddings, including research of products and services, and 63.7% use Internet search engines.
Although McMurray doesn't sell anything to brides and grooms, he uses AdWords to reach other businesses looking for research on weddings. "When you want to know what people search for, the AdWords search tools helps you find what other people look for," he says. "It's a good indicator of trends."
Across town from Google in Mountain View, Calif., Polly Liu, Beau-coup.com founder, sells wedding favors, gifts and accessories. The company has been using AdWords since 2001, growing the business more than 100% year-on-year.
Beau-coup.com's AdWords budget skyrocketed from $6,000 in November 2008 to $30,000 in July 2009. This year, sales are up 40%, and orders 50%, compared with the prior year, Liu says. "We'll probably see about $10 million in revenue this year," she says, attributing the uptick to AdWords.
From January 2008 to January 2009, the company has grown AdWords sales by 65% and traffic by 270%. Take that up a notch from January 2009 to July 2009, when AdWords sales grew by 200% and AdWords traffic by 300%, she says.
"Based on research in Google AdWords and Google Analytics, this week we changed our landing pages, and navigational and seasonal links to focus more on fall-related terms," she says. "We're just starting to bid on fall party favors because we see our traffic from organic searches rise, too."
Beau-coup.com has expanded into other markets, such as personalized aisle runners, relying on AdWords to drive people from Google's search engine to the site.
Liu has paid search campaigns on Bing, too, but 80% of the company's PPC budget goes to Google. "For every dollar spent, it's more ROI positive on Google," she says. "It also converts better."