September 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Rock Bottom Golf hits the green more often with comparison shopping service

The golf equipment e-retailer uses Channel Intelligence to send product data feeds to shopping engines and to fine tune the program. After two years, Rock Bottom reports a 45% year-over-year gain in sales, 39% in conversions and 33% in revenue per click.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

As it transitioned from selling golf equipment primarily on eBay to its own site, Rock Bottom Golf began placing its products on comparison shopping sites. But managing the program in-house quickly became too burdensome. And so, the retailer turned to Channel Intelligence’s SellCast service to handle outbound feeds and to help optimize the program. The results have been dramatic, the retailer says.

Over the two-year period from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2008, the retailer says it realized average annual gains of 45% in total sales, 39% in conversion rate and 33% in revenue per click. The number of orders also increased 51% each year and units per order grew by 61%.

Better reporting has been a big part of the success. The e-retailer accesses the Channel Intelligence reporting portal each day to look for unusual changes in conversion rates, ad spend, revenue and other key metrics. It then makes needed adjustments in listings and bids to maximize its return on ad spend, says Brian Schwank, directing of marketing for Rock Bottom Golf, No. 308 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

“Having the ability to accurately track our performance and make decisions, such as which products to suppress per engine, has been essential for us in keeping these channels profitable,” Schwank says. The retailer may decide to not promote an item on a site where it’s not doing well. Or it may suppress an item on all sites, except for Google Products, which does not charge anything for a click-through. “Why suppress an item on an engine when you’re not paying for the clicks?” Schwank says.

Channel Intelligence has been optimizing and delivering data feeds for Rock Bottom Golf to comparison shopping engines Nextag, Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, Google Products, Golf Review and Become.com. “We’re currently experimenting with other shopping engines to see if they can show us the kind of return on ad spend and revenue that would warrant an all-out campaign through Channel Intelligence,” Schwank says.

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