A Retailer’s Guide to Comparison Shopping Sites
Comparison shopping sites are nothing new to the e-commerce industry, the first ones having appeared on the scene several years ago. What is relatively new is the rapidly growing number of consumers that rely on these sites today, requiring merchants to implement them into their business strategies as soon as possible.
Online shoppers are becoming savvier and more social by the minute, using every tool at their disposal to seek out the best bargains and to vigilantly compare prices and products by every means possible. It is imperative that e-commerce merchants give their products as much visibility as they can throughout this research process, and knowing your way around the comparison shopping space is a significant part of that effort.
Plenty of these sites let you submit your products for free, but many others charge merchants on a modest cost-per-click (CPC) basis – meaning that you pay only when a shopper clicks on a link to your site. Paid or free, the service is a valuable one to merchants who will benefit from increased traffic, better search results and a quick and easy way to monitor the competition.
In today’s E-commerce Express newsletter, we will examine some of the most important comparison search engines to have on your radar, and how to go about submitting your product catalogs to each. In the next newsletter, we will add some helpful tips about how to maximize your use of these and other comparison shopping sites.
Google, Bing and Yahoo!
Each of the three major search engines now have comparison shopping functionalities, and at this point it appears that Bing and Yahoo! will keep theirs operating independently after the two companies’ search alliance is implemented. Google Product Search is, not surprisingly, the most heavily-trafficked comparison shopping site at the moment. It is also free for merchants to submit their product catalogs, with no charges for uploading your items or for the additional traffic that you stand to gain by participating in the program.
Bing Shopping, which used to be MSN Shopping, is also a free service for merchants that are located in the U.S. and who deal with U.S. currency. Bing also has a list of restricted items on its merchants information page.
Yahoo! Shopping is Yahoo’s comparison search engine, and merchants submit their products through Yahoo! Product Submit. Yahoo charges CPC fees to participating merchants, but retailers with Yahoo! Store or Merchant Solutions accounts can save 20 percent.
With those three out of the way, let’s take a look at the best of the rest:
With nearly 8 million unique monthly visitors in July, TheFind is the fastest-growing site in the comparison shopping space. The company, which has exhibited 175-percent growth in the past year, claims that merchants submitting their products to the site saw between 2.3 and 2.7 average visits per visitor, compared to a 1.9 average from their closest competitor. TheFind is free for merchants to submit product listings, with an additional service called UpFront that has a $299 value but is being offered for a free trial.
NexTag saw more than 15 million unique visitors in July, making it one of the most sought-out comparison shopping sites on the Web. NexTag charges CPC fees to merchants, sorting their fees by product category, but to list items is free. NexTag routinely gets criticized for its simple design, but it hasn’t managed to keep consumers from flocking to the site looking for bargains.
BizRate is one of several comparison shopping sites owned and managed by online shopping network Shopzilla http://www.shopzilla.com but attracts more than 13 million unique monthly visitors on its own accord. Merchants sign up through Shopzilla Business Services, and will pay CPC fees which are initially taken out of a $50 fully refundable deposit.
A relative newcomer to the comparison shopping field, Become.com had about 3.5 million unique monthly visitors in July and continues to grow. The site recently added a mobile shopping component that contains editorial reviews of each participating merchant’s mobile compliance, a valuable tool for retailers already on board with the mobile commerce movement. The Merchant Account Center provides information on how to sign up, including a rate card for itemized CPC fees for participating retailers.
Pronto’s traffic numbers in July were close to 8 million unique monthly visitors, and the site prides itself on its social shopping focus. Merchants who enroll in the program will pay a CPC fee on leads sent to their sites from Pronto, which also includes an exclusive partnership with search engine Ask.com and a local search deal with Citysearch.