What to do if your Swiss online shop is under pressure?

2015 was a tough year for many Swiss online shops. First the 20% increase of the Swiss franc compared to the euro, with falling prices as a result. Then the Amazon decision to ship most packages to Switzerland without shipping fees.

2016 will probably not be better. So what to do? In addition to the normal productivity steps: save where you can, slimming the product offering, find new niche products etc, there is untapped potential in exports for most shops. Especially to markets outside Europe. And Swiss companies have several advantages, one being used to deal with customers in multiple languages.

In the November kickoff of the ExportDigital in Zürich, Google and Switzerland Global Enterprise, presented a great approach for Swiss companies to find export markets.

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Google presenting at the Export Digital kick-off in Zürich in November 2015.

Here is an overview of the tools available to make a first check of potential export markets.

Step 1: Find your export market:

  1. Exportdigital.ch
  2. Google Global Market Finder
  3. Market Navigator with export market facts


Step 2: Analyse the relevant trends: 

  1. Google Trends
  2. Consumer Barometer

Step 3: Make a detailed investigation of the target country and test

  1. When you found your potential target markets, it makes sense to get in touch with the consultants of Switzerland Global Enterprise to make a more thorough check of specific trading and legal challenges.
  2. If your products are not too expensive, the best way to learn is simply to make a couple of targeted campaigns and sell a few items to the target market and see where the challenges occur.


10 actions to be successful with Google Adwords

We have been working with Google Adwords since 2002. Over the years we condensed this list of actions in order to be successful with Google Adwords if you run an online shop.

More or less all of the Google Search Result page is paid Adwords ads if you look for a product.
  1. Make sure that the conversion tracking (e-commerce) including value really works. Preferably with Google Analytics. Make a couple of test orders in order to make sure that the tracking works, and the currency is correctly set. Without the conversion tracking you run blind. In the end you would like to focus on “return on ad spend” – ROAS. Many agencies use the Google language of “break even” when ROAS is 100%. This ignores your cost of goods sold and other costs. If you think that a sales cost of 20% of the turnover is acceptable, you must reach a ROAS of 500% (1/0.2 = 5).
  2. Work on your product detail pages. Make sure the product information is up to date and correct – in all your languages. You reach the best results with linking your ads directly to the product detail page – on these pages the customers have the least clicks to complete the order. Work on the direct product ads first, when these run well, you can create broader ads. For these very specific ads, start with high bids – try to be on position 1. You can always reduce later if the results do not come.
  3. Split up all your ads by language, and limit strictly by language. Make sure the ad is linked directly to the right language. This is a lot of work, but worth every minute.
  4. Strictly limit the ads to where you can deliver your products with profit. If you are located in Switzerland, limit the ads to “Switzerland” – at least to start off with. Google sometimes make changes to the location option in order to widen it. Make sure it is set as “in the user location”.
  5. Be very careful with display ads, video ads, etc. Many times the results – in terms of conversions – are bad. There is a trend to make the advertiser pay for clicks that occur inside the Google products. Here you can reach great click-thru-rates “CTR”, even if the customer is not even visiting your site.
  6. Use Google Shopping: but check the result of every product ad carefully. If your competition is cheaper, pause your ad, or put in very low bid. Otherwise customers will go to you for information and to your competitor for purchasing.
  7. Only run ads where products are available. If the product is not in stock, make sure that the ad or the Google shopping item is paused.
  8. Only use exact match keywords or broad match “+” keywords (combine at least 2 keywords here like “+Philips +lamp”. Avoid phrase matches and Googles proposed broad matches, since the latter include a lot of stuff that is not relevant to you.
  9. Work on your negative keyword list. These lists are available in the “shared library”, and you can save a lot of time by using one list for several campaigns.
  10. If a keyword, an ad, an adgroup, or a campaign perform well – let us say above 600% ROAS – just run with it. At least double the bids and see what happens. To compensate.