WalMart Canada's 'One Thing' Helps to Understand Customer Searches

Editor's Note: Kelly Hushin from The eTail Blog shares an interview with an executive from WalMart Canada. 

Drew Cashmore, Director of Digital Marketing and Customer Acquisition at Walmart Canada, (pictured) manages the team responsible for digital marketing, ad monetization, social commerce and omni-channel store integration initiatives. That's a whole lot of hefty responsibility for a global retail titan.

While doing this daily job, Drew finds that he can't live without a crucial Google tool. Read about why below. And if you're anything like me, start to feel a little guilty when you get to his bonus answer and realize you're still asleep by the time he's finished working out.

1. As an online marketer and retailer, what's something you can't live without?

Google Keyword tool.

2. Can you explain what that is?

It's a tool that matches a particular Google Search to related searches and helps us better understand the real search behaviors of our customers. For example, the industry term for "laptops" is "Notebook," but customers aren't searching for that. They're searching for "laptops," or, "laptop computer," or, "where to buy a laptop computer," and this tool gives you a list of related keywords.

3. Why can you not live without it?

This tool helps us reorganize our content on our site to rank higher in organic searches, manipulate our internal search on with synonyms, and create efficiencies in our paid search through exact match keywords (instead of broad). It also helps us understand trending keywords. In 2009, if you were looking to buy an appliance to make coffee, you would search for "coffee maker." Today, customers are searching for "Tassimo" and "Keurig" significantly more than the term "coffee maker." This tool, coupled with Google Trends, helps us to more accurately understand our potential customers, and even helps us make better merchandise decisions.

4. How often do you use it and how long have you been using it?

I've been using it for at least the last two years and I use it almost every day.

5. If lightning struck tomorrow and you suddenly didn't have this one thing, what would you do to improvise?

Our on-site search data is a great indicator of what the Walmart customer is expecting of us.

6. How can other people get this too?

Head over to Google and search "Keyword Tool."

BONUS: What's the non-work related thing that you couldn't live without?

Exercise. Retail is one of the fastest changing industries in the World and innovative shopping experiences are being born every day. That coupled with the constant shift in consumer behavior means I don't get to sleep a lot. My day starts at 4:30am and exercise helps me keep going throughout the day.

This article originally appeared on The eTail Blog on April 18, 2013.