Do you understand comparison shopping engines?

Are you considering putting your ecommerce products into a comparison shopping engine?

If so, you might be interested in what Jody Hartwig, our internet consultant and senior account executive at Acumium has to say.

In a recent article for Practical eCommerce, Jody shares her expertise on the value of marketplaces and ecommerce comparison shopping engines as online marketing channels. Here is a snippet of Jody’s insights:

Two common marketing channels for online merchants are:

  • ecommerce comparison shopping engines (CSEs)
  • Online marketplaces

Both help drive more business for the online merchants, but the main distinction between the two is where the transaction takes place.

ExamplesGoogle Products Search, Bing Shopping, NexTag and PriceGrabberAmazon or eBay
What they doAllow comparison shopping by showing products from various merchants. Merchants can have products link back to the merchant’s own website for purchase.Allow for browsing and purchase to both take place on the marketplace website.
BenefitsCSEs drive more traffic to your website and allow for more flexibility in how you market to consumers. These sites allow you to expose your
brand to new customers and for customers to see the price and/or quality benefits of your products when shown head-to-head with your competitors.
Marketplaces expose your products to millions of people. They allow you to have a secondary store to generate revenue separate from your existing eCommerce website. Sites like Amazon and eBay are trusted and make shopping easy for buyers.

Successful CSE Management

In order to be successful and rank highly within a CSE, you have to keep up-to-date on product data guidelines and optimize your data. One way to do well when using Google Product Search is to display accurate “real time” pricing and availability, since Google will downgrade those who don’t take time to do this. It may be necessary to utilize a web developer or someone else outside of your company to do this for you, depending on availability of your resources.

Note that paid CSEs require close management because of their corresponding costs. When choosing whether to use a CSE and which CSE that may be, it is important to look at ROI of both direct and indirect costs. Besides the CSE fees and ad spending, costs associated with time and organization resources should not be overlooked.

Note: Google recently announced that free clicks on Google Product Search would be phased out and a new program called “Google Shopping” will roll out in Fall of 2012. The new program will be based on a bid system for product placements.

More on Comparison Shopping Engines

View Jody Hartwig’s article which includes a list of steps for CSE success:

Understanding Comparison Shopping Engines – Practical Ecommerce (June 6, 2012)