Amazon and Walmart are two of the most searched e-commerce marketplaces for household products in the United States. Searches on these types of sites will only escalate with voice search and may give brands a competitive advantage using non-branded search terms when they understand how consumers search for products on individual sites.
Beginning in September, consumers will have the ability to buy Walmart products through their Google Home device, making its products available through Google Express, the company's ecommerce and delivery platform, wrote Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce at Google, in a blog post.
Brands and affiliate marketers selling products through distributors and marketplaces often struggle to optimize campaign performance. They have a much easier time optimizing campaigns running on search engines like Google and Bing, basically because they either get guidance and an education from the engines or find an agency to support their goals.
Tracking website search data also can help brands improve their competitive performance across different online marketplaces and strengthen partnerships with affiliates whose audiences favor their product and favor buying their products on specific websites.
For instance, when comparing the top-selling grocery-related products, Amazon and Walmart combined take about 91% market share for all coffee searches on their websites, according to data from Hitwise, a Connexity company.
Other sites like Kroger, Peapod, Meijer, Safeway, and ShopRite take a percent or two, or even a fraction of a percent.
The marketplace search data for variations on Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, Meijer and Peapod were pulled using Hitwise Intelligence during the nine weeks ending April 1, 2017.
Some of the most interesting data Hitwise pulled analyzes keywords that consumers use on specific sites. Amazon and Walmart consumers search for the same products very differently.
When searching for coffee on Amazon, consumers are much more specific in their searches, using keywords such as "k cups," "coffee beans," "k cup coffee," and starbucks k cups." Nearly one-quarter of searches on Walmart are for the term “coffee" and "folgers coffee" takes a tad more than 5%, according to Rochele Bailis, global director of content at Hitwise.
"A brand like Folgers pulls a much higher share of coffee searches on Walmart than Amazon, whereas a company selling whole coffee beans would fare better on Amazon," she explains.
Hitwise data found that snack chip brands have similar challenges. Chip brands trying to expand market share of online grocery shoppers need to pay close attention to the difference in keywords for each marketplace.
The data breaks down internal website searches for the five of the largest online grocery sites, giving chip brands a detailed look at how consumers search for their products, but the most interesting findings involve the fact that the brand is unspecified, giving all brands an equal shot at attracting consumers.
For instance, about 52% of searches for chips on Amazon do not specify a brand name and nearly 46% do not specify a brand name on Walmart. On Kroger that unspecified brand search drops to 26%, but it jumps to 70.5% on Meijer and about 72% on Peapod.
These unspecified searches refer to unbranded chip searches such as “chips,” “bbq chips,” or “potato chips."
"When Hitwise analyzed both search share and ranking, we see that sometimes the website where a chip brand has the greatest search share is not the same as the one where they have the biggest competitive advantage," Bailis said.
For example, Lay’s pulls a large percentage -- 11.1% -- of chip searches on Kroger.com, but ranks below competitive brands Frito Lay and Pop Chips. Lay’s is more competitive on Meijer, where it ranks No. 1 against all branded chip searches. Their search share on Meijer is relatively smaller than on Kroger -- nearly 9% of chip searches.