5/25/06

Mercent Introduces the Retail Industry’s First Search Engine Marketing Service to Quantify Keyword Performance by Key...

Paul Demery , Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Mercent Retail Analytics Tracks Per-SKU Profitability and Inventory Impact of Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter Campaigns

SEATTLE - May 24, 2006 - Mercent, a provider of online marketing technology and services for retail merchants, today announced the availability and free inclusion of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) analytics tools with the company’ s flagship software service, Mercent Retail. The expanded service, Mercent Retail Analytics, quantifies keyword performance in terms of critical retail business metrics including per-product revenue, profitability, inventory velocity, and return on inventory investment. Mercent Retail Analytics is offered at no additional cost to subscribers of Mercent Retail.

“The ability to link keyword performance to retail merchandising metrics is an important step in search marketing optimization,” said Matt Lydon, senior director of sales at MSN. “We appreciate the value that Mercent creates for merchant advertisers by integrating directly with the Microsoft adCenter APIs.”

Mercent Retail allows e-tailers and multi-channel retailers to effectively promote and sell products to hundreds of millions of shoppers across leading online marketing channels through one low-cost, single point of integration.

"Mercent Retail makes it possible to measure and improve the profitability and inventory impact of every paid search keyword for every product SKU in our catalog," said Brady Miller, VP of Retail at ExOfficio, a K2 company. "With Mercent Retail, we are able to measure the gross margin and inventory velocity potential of every keyword on Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft adCenter against every product in our e-commerce catalog, and optimize our keyword bids accordingly."

Retail Metrics Applied to Search Engine Marketing

Retailers recognize that de facto standards for measuring Search Engine Marketing performance such as Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) fall short of providing the most important measures of retail success. To make informed advertising decisions, retailers must know how a given product promoted through a given online channel contributes to Gross Profit (GP), customer Life Time Value (LTV), and even Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment (GMROII).

To calculate these retail metrics for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns, Mercent Retail collects sales, conversion and ad spend information from Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter, and rationalizes these with merchandising data found in back-end retail systems including per-product cost of goods sold, gross profit, average inventory value, and impact on inventory velocity.

Mercent Retail Analytics for Search Engine Marketing allows online merchants to:
-- Automatically track and report all traffic, conversions, and orders across leading Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platforms including Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter
-- Automatically calculate and report return on investment for every keyword in terms of contribution margin (profitability), inventory impact and return on inventory investment in addition to sales and Average Order Volume (AOV)
-- Track and report keyword performance to individual product SKUs
-- Issue persistent, first-party, P3P-compliant cookies to support browser security best-practices and measure customer lifetime value (LTV)
-- Capture direct and deferred shopping conversions, and the per-channel latency (time, clicks, visits, page views) of each conversion (average sales cycle)
-- Capture published offer and ad content for every referral and conversion event to inform the optimization of advertising offers
-- Track and report ad spend and cost-to-acquire transactions and customers from performance reports collected through Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter Web Services APIs
-- Ensure tracking and referral reliability with software distributed through Akamai Technologies’ application performance services
-- Support third-party tracking tags required by Web analytics packages including CoreMetrics, Omniture, WebTrends, and WebSideStory -- Integrate directly with existing e-commerce and retail management systems; there is no redundant shopping cart or order pipeline to adopt.

About Mercent
Founded by veterans of Amazon.com, Mercent provides on-demand marketing technology and services to help retail merchants optimize performance across online channels. Mercent’s on-demand platform, Mercent Retail, helps merchants increase revenue and gross margins by promoting the right products with the right offers in the right online marketing channels. Mercent Retail provides a single point of integration between existing retail management systems and 24 leading online merchandising channels including transactional marketplaces such as Amazon.com and SHOP.COM, shopping portals such as Shopping.com and Shopzilla, and affiliate marketing programs such as LinkShare – making it easy for merchants to automate, measure, and optimize online product merchandising campaigns through these channels. Mercent customers include GUESS? (NYSE:GES), Lucky Brand Jeans (NYSE:LIZ), Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSLA), Celebrate Express (NASDAQ:BDAY), SmartBargains, Crabtree & Evelyn, Car Toys, Fortunoff, Limoges Jewelry, and other leading retailers. Mercent is an Amazon.com Certified System Integrator and SHOP.COM Certified Data Feed Provider. Mercent is a venture-funded company based in Seattle, WA. For more information, please visit www.mercent.com.

Contact:
Deanna Leung
Principal
Buzz Builders

(p): 206.285.0502
(c): 206.915.0512
(e): deanna@buzzbuilders.net

Topics:

Microsoft, Microsoft adCenter, Pay per click search engines, search engine marketing, web analytics

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