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Work ‘N Gear Drives Awareness and 120% Revenue Growth with a Data-Driven Google Shopping Approach 

THE SCOOP

Work 'N Gear is the largest U.S. retailer specializing in workwear, healthcare apparel, and footwear. It offers popular brands, including Carhartt, Timberland Pro, and Grey’s Anatomy, through its e-commerce site and 41 brick-and-mortar stores. Like many retailers, Work 'N Gear's top marketing goals include growing revenue and return, as well as driving brand awareness in an increasingly competitive space online.

Prior to working with Sidecar, the retailer's agency managed Google Shopping—which saved time for the Work 'N Gear marketing team, but didn't achieve the goals set for the program. The team realized it needed specialists in Google Shopping and data-driven technology to get the most from the channel. That’s when the team turned to Sidecar. 

PROFILE

Retail Category
Specialty Apparel
Website
Headquarters
Quincy, MA

The Problem

the pursuit of brand awareness & greater return

“Why shop at Work ‘N Gear?” That’s the question Joan Connor, Executive Vice President of Marketing, wants to answer for her customers.

Many of the top workwear and healthcare brands require retailers to advertise products online at or above minimum advertised pricing (MAP). While MAP policies prevent price undercutting in the digital space, they can make it difficult for retailers to differentiate their products with competitive pricing. This left Work ‘N Gear looking for other ways to promote its competitive advantage.

“Everyone's competing with so much of the same product at the same price. If we don’t have a presence in Google Shopping, we have no shot at getting that business from people who are shopping online,” said Connor.

Connor was looking to increase revenue and return in Google Shopping, but she knew that neither would come without brand awareness. She saw increasing brand awareness and brand recognition of Work ‘N Gear among its target audience as a gateway to the retailer’s success online.

At the time, Work ‘N Gear partnered with an agency to manage Google Shopping and paid search. But the lack of return made the marketing team reconsider the relationship.

Tiffany Waterman, Digital Marketing Manager, said, “The agency wasn’t specialized. The account managers didn’t know a lot about Google Shopping. They just knew we needed to be there.”

That’s when Waterman decided that Work ‘N Gear needed a partner that specialized in Google Shopping. She opted to end the agency relationship, bring paid search campaigns in-house, and search for a partner to handle Google Shopping exclusively.

Waterman elaborated: “We needed someone who understood our business, how Google Shopping works, and how to manage it to get the best return at the most efficient cost. We needed someone who knew the ins and outs of feeds and bidding optimizations, and who was savvy about new features we could take advantage of.”

When Waterman and Connor discovered Sidecar, they saw opportunity in pairing strategic account management with machine learning technology to drive results in Google Shopping.

“Something we really liked about Sidecar was the algorithmic element—taking the human guesswork out of it and bidding based on what’s actually selling,” Waterman said. 

BY the Numbers

88k
SKUs
in catalog
81%
Sitewide Revenue Growth
YoY from Google Shopping in 6 months
117%
Impression Growth
YoY in 12 months
120%
Revenue Growth
YoY in 12 months

The solution

data-driven google shopping management

Sidecar’s implementation team set up fresh campaigns for Work ‘N Gear, and Sidecar for Google Shopping went to work on the account.

Sidecar’s machine learning algorithms continuously digest and analyze channel data specific to Work ‘N Gear, as well as product attributes, and consumer search behavior to gain the most precise picture of trends that influence campaign and individual product performance. This proprietary collection of data sources is called the Sidecar Retail Index.

As data changes each day, Sidecar for Google Shopping dynamically and immediately adjusts individual product bids to drive revenue.

Waterman was confident in this flexible, data-driven approach.

“It was a big weight off our shoulders to know that we had technology on our side. We didn't have to provide a whole list of things we thought might do well on Google Shopping. We could test a bunch of ideas, and the technology would start bidding up or down within that same day on the products that were converting well,” Waterman said.

By ingesting data from multiple sources over time, Sidecar’s technology and team pinpointed Work ‘N Gear’s top-performing products.

Seeing that a few brands, such as Carhartt and Timberland Pro, were strong performers, Sidecar’s customer strategy team isolated these brands into separate campaigns with higher bids to boost visibility and conversions on those popular products.

Waterman credits this strategy for the positive returns and greater efficiency she began to see. Within six months of launching Sidecar, the branded campaigns boosted conversion rate 3% and improved ROAS by 20%.

The bidding strategy includes a hallmark feature of Sidecar for Google Shopping: Search Query Management. This capability unlocks the most valuable search queries to Work ‘N Gear’s business and allocates corresponding spend to bids on those queries, while pulling back spend on the least valuable terms. This helped Work ‘N Gear maximize ROI in the channel, and cut wasted spend

Sidecar’s customer strategy team helped connect Work ‘N Gear’s Google Shopping strategy to larger marketing efforts by aligning product bids to promotions and advertising campaigns.

This alignment was particularly effective during seasonal peaks and on occasions when Work ‘N Gear was able to promote products below MAP. For instance, when a work boots manufacturer allowed the retailer to offer discounted prices on select styles, Work ‘N Gear saw an uptick in positive returns.

Waterman added, “It was nice to be able to compare what kind of promotions and advertising we were doing, and see if our targeted advertising was pulling in the customers we wanted.”

With the customer strategy team keeping Google Shopping campaigns in tune with cross-channel marketing efforts, Work ‘N Gear’s products were better positioned as busy seasons approached, especially on the workwear side of the business, which experiences greater demand in the winter.

As machine learning algorithms continuously adjusted product bids and the customer strategy team directed the logic behind them, day-to-day management of Google Shopping became low-touch for Waterman and Connor.

“I don’t have to give Google Shopping a ton of thought or energy. Day-to-day we let Sidecar handle the heavy lifting,” Waterman said. 
Sidecar elevated the importance of Google Shopping and the kind of results it can deliver. Google Shopping is a hidden gem we discovered. It has become one of our most profitable channels.
Tiffany Waterman
Digital Marketing Manager for Work 'N Gear

the results

a new performance marketing channel

One of the biggest early wins for Work ‘N Gear was the discovery of a new, critical marketing channel. Within six months, Google Shopping’s contribution to sitewide revenue grew by 81%.

Waterman said: “Google Shopping became a big channel for us when we began using Sidecar, because before our spend was grouped into paid search, and we couldn't really tell where our money was going. Was it text ads? Was it display ads or something else? Because of the revenue Google Shopping brought in, we could define a whole new revenue stream for Work ‘N Gear.”

By combining time-saving and smart automation with an account strategy designed to boost brand awareness, Sidecar catapulted impressions by 117% in the first year.

The increased visibility gave Work ‘N Gear’s products a chance to perform. Conversion rate increased 26%, orders surged 139%, and revenue grew 120% in the first 12 months with Sidecar.

“One of our larger business goals is to reach more of our target audience. Sidecar definitely put us in front of more people and got us to our ultimate revenue goal,” Waterman said.

Because Sidecar’s machine learning algorithms are built to find and root out wasted spend, the growth in revenue came with efficiency gains. Work ‘N Gear’s cost/sale dropped 62% in the first 12 months.

These results changed Waterman’s view of Google Shopping and how Work ‘N Gear invests in the channel.

“Sidecar elevated the importance of Google Shopping and the kind of results it can deliver,” Waterman said. “As long as we can keep getting that return, we can justify putting more money toward it. Google Shopping is a hidden gem we discovered. It has become one of our most profitable channels.” 

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