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Comparison Shopping Engines: goals, recommendations & opportunities to boost your ecommerce sales by 16%

09/21/2009 | In: Product Comparison Shopping Engines

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Why Shopping Search Engines?

According to Econsultancy.com Comparison Shopping Engines Survey, retailers spend approximatively 11% of their online marketing budget on shopbots while agencies say that on average their clients spend 14% of online budget on this channel respectively representing 10% and 16% of online sales.

Study from Forrester Research Brands Should Embrace Search Engines and Comparison Web Sites  showing that the average Comparison Search Engine user is a savvy and trusting buyer looking for complex products sold by either retailers or manufacturer.

The average Comparison Search Engine user is a savvy and trusting buyer looking for complex products sold by either retailers or manufacturer.

Top 3 reasons are:

1/ Place your products in front of browsing consumers during the exploratory phase, just before purchasing becomes intentional.
2/ Effectively present a unique value proposition (brand identity) to shoppers exploring buying options (pay per click based)
3/ Ensure consumers see your products on every available channel including Search Engines (SEM or SEO) or marketplaces (eBay, Amazon).

Who are the Comparison sites users?

According to a study from Forrester Research, they are savvy, trusting buyers. Search engines and Comparison Search Engines (CSE) users differ from the average consumer in behavior, spending more time online, sending and receiving more emails. These consumers trust their sources – both peer-generated content and commercial messages – more and are less price-sensitive.
They research complex products. Hardly any consumer used search engines or CSE as information sources for simple products like cosmetics – they just go to the store for those. The heavy traffic on these sites comes from consumers researching complex products like mobile phones, audio equipment, etc. Adding up the info sources, it is clear that consumers use multiple sources to research complex products.

Which Comparison Engines to consider?

According to a study published in May 2009 by the CPC Strategy LLC among Internet Retailer’s Top 500, Google Product Search leads in market penetration with 72.2%. Shopping.com and Pricegrabber follow with rates of 53.8% and 50.6% respectively with Microsoft’s snagging 30.2% of the top 500 market.

In US, 25% of internet audience (50 millions) passes through a shopping engine. Close to 75 % of traffic goes to the TOP 7 shopbots (please refer to the spreadsheet below). According to tailor-made data aggregation originated from Comscore, Nielsen and Google AdPlanner, the US Top 5 list considered among all sources of information is:
1/ Yahoo! Shopping
2/ Shopzilla / Bizrate
3/ Shopping.com
4/ Nextag
5/ Google Product Search

Top 10 Shopping Engines per audience - 25% of the US internet audience (nearly 50 millions) is passing through a shopping engine. 75% of the traffic goes to the top 7 shopbots.

Top 10 ranking per audience - 25% of the US internet audience (nearly 50 millions) is passing through a shopping engine. 75% of the traffic goes to the top 7 shopbots.

Amazon & bing.com opportunities

To drive traffic, we should use our XML feed for:
1/ Amazon.com – in December 2008, by surveying more than 500 online consumers, Channel Advisor found out that 93% of online shoppers are Amazon buyers; 80% of these buyers also use Amazon as their most trusted product research destination. There are 2 ways to integrate your products:
a) Marketplace: merchants list products with final checkout by Amazon (CPA: $0.99 + 6% sales net)
b) Product Ads: merchants list products on Amazon and drive consumers back to their sites as opposed to having to buy through Amazon (CPC: $0.7 – daily budget).

2/ Bing Shopping - allowing advertisers to sell on a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) basis and Cashback offers. Direct customers are rewarded by having a % amount of cash on every transaction & Microsoft is also keeping a fee on these sale. See example below with AT&T (35%), eBay/Paypal (8%), TigerDirect (7.3%), HP (3%), etc.

Microsofts Cashback Program through their Bing search engine allowing new AT&Ts customer to get 35% off the iphone 3GS in June 2009.

Microsoft's Cashback Program through their Bing search engine allowing new AT&T's customer to get 35% off the iphone 3GS in June 2009.

In Dec. 2008, out of the 100 online retailers ranked by Internet Retailer as the “Hot 100 Retail Web Sites”, 75 had an affiliate programs.

38% of the 75 top Internet retailers chose CJ, 23% went with Google Affiliate Network, 18% with LinkShare, 13% run their programs on in-house-based platforms and 3% market through ShareASale.

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2 Responses to Comparison Shopping Engines: goals, recommendations & opportunities to boost your ecommerce sales by 16%

Avatar

Nick

décembre 16th, 2009 at 22 h 54 min

There is a newer generation of price comparison search engines that are also proving to be very resourceful:
http://www.become.com
http://www.onewayshopping.com
http://www.pricescan.com

Avatar

Matthieu Dejardins

décembre 16th, 2009 at 23 h 34 min

Nick, agreed. Thanks for sharing these links!

Regarding the new generation CSEs, I would go for Retrevo.com (2.6 Million Unique Visitors/month – alliance w/ PriceGrabber) offering Social Media features & community evaluation for quality/pricing ratio. I would also mention PriceSpider.com providing Social Shopping services, price history graphs, personalized price alerts and a unique section of coupon/deal finders that you generally find on affiliate partners (supported by Digital River since 2009).

The problem for these new entrants is to reach a critical mass (i.e. minimum of 4 Million Unique Visitors/month) by making a partnership with an existing competitor, a leading portal or a Search Engine.

From a merchant perspective, it is already very costly & painful (even using ChannelAdvisor, Channel Intelligence, Singlefeed, etc.) to be integrated with the top 10 players. It is explaining why, they, including become.com, were regrouped in « others » category :)

To have more details about it, feel free to refer to the original presentation I quickly made on this subject available here: http://www.slideshare.net/MatthieuDejardins/comparison-shopping-engines-study-goals-recommendations-opportunities-to-boost-revenues-by-16-percents

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