Projected that 15% of all e-commerce sales will be through CSEsWhy? Get products in front of browsing consumers during the exploratory phase before their purchase is intentional – they’ll remember youHelps ensure consumers see your products on every available channel including marketplaces, search and CSE.
55% of online shoppers are influenced by CSEs through price comparisons, reviews, social sites, coupons, etcTheir reach?Yahoo
Old school: product catalog driven, CPC, acquire traffic from paid search, focused on electronics. They were good, but they’re not changing with the times. Right now their traffic is either down or flat.New: focus is on reviews, social aspects, different CPAction models. Each of these are experiencing growth. Become: shopping/research; TheFind: coupons, reviews, local; smarter: thousands of user submitted videos about productsTraffic: Yahoo and shopzilla 20M UV – 75% of the traffic to CSEs goes to the top 7 sites.YahooShopzillaShopping.comGoogle Product searchProntoNextag – strong ability to drive quality traffic to merchants sites
Internet savvy buyers – they spend more time online. They trust the sources – both peer generated and commercial messages more – less price sensitive.Complex – for simple products, they just go to the store. For more involved purchases, they use CSEs. Audio equipment, cell phones. They use multiple sourcesSE and CSE will attract nearly as many consumers looking for cell phones as verizon.com or motorola.
Generate feed. Tweak the feed. Each CSE requires different data. Even the titles are different. Some data is required. Other data is optional but more data is usually better. Start with a google base feed and tweak it. Add tracking URLs for each CSE you use so you can track your progress and success.
One example is singlefeed.com; another is feedexact.com
Most sellers would rather have CP Action option but most of the CSEs offer CPC onlyAverage spend is 11% of their online marketing budget.
Key things to consider are: Does the CSE sell other products in your sector? Which CSE do your competitors sell on? Which CSEs attract your type of customer? What traffic levels are the CSEs likely to send you – is it worth the set-up cost and effort? Cost – commission or per click? Per click involves more risk. Cost – don’t forget the cost of building the feed and any integration required.
Once you’ve chosen your CSEs, optimizing the performance is very similar to optimizing pay-per-click activity. It’s all about how much you pay, the words or information you provide, and what you keep active. In order to optimize the performance of your CSEs therefore, you need to make sure you’ve got the tools in place to allow you to analyze the performance. First, check out the tools that come with the CSE; several have their own analytics packages so you can see where the traffic and sales are coming from. Some of them require you to add their tracking code to your website to enable all the reporting functionality. Next, check what information you’re getting from your sites own analytics data. Can you identify the traffic that’s coming in from each CSE? Can you see what part of your feed drove that traffic? You may well be able to add tracking information to the URLs in your product feed to enable that to work better (if you’re using Google Analytics, for instance).
There’s a lot you can do with your product feed before you even start submitting it to CSEs that will improve performance. Look carefully at the fields the CSE requests – the more of this information you can provide, the higher quality traffic it will be able to provide you with. For example, EAN and ISBN numbers can really benefit you if you’re selling CDs and Books. Make sure you’re providing accurate information, such as the correct postage charges, and as much product information as possible, such as technical specifications. And make sure you’re products will be in the right place on the site – so check the categories. Some comparison engines like you to flag bestsellers for special areas of the site, this can really help increase traffic levels for you. The information in your product feed Each CSE is in part a search engine, so think about your keywords. If you sell only petite clothing, your site’s product descriptions probably don’t include the word petite, but on a search engine (or CSE) you want traffic that specifically seeks petite . So build your feed to add any qualifying keywords into the product names. Send the right products; if something’s out of stock there’s no point in including it in your feed especially if you’re paying for each click! You may also want to exclude products that are due in soon. It’s critical to keep the feed up to date; I’d recommend updating it every 24 hours. If you’re going to do so, find out when the CSE picks up the feed and synchronize with it. There’s nothing worse than posting your feed at 2am on a Monday and the CSE not picking it up until 1am on Tuesday – you’re permanently a day out.
Collecting data Once your comparison-shopping engines are up and running you’ll start to see which categories and products are driving the sales, and which are costing you all the money – rather like PPC. This means you can start getting into the nitty gritty of feed optimization. If, say, on Engine A half your spend is on the earrings category, but you’re not getting a sale from it then stop providing earrings products to the CSE. Some CSEs will let you “bid” more by category; so, if on Engine 2 half your sales are coming from necklaces, but only 10 percent of your spend is on necklaces, a bid increase should bring you more traffic and sales. If your tracking is detailed enough you can break this down to a product-by-product basis. It’s worth noting at this point that constantly amending your feed can build up hefty bills from your web company. So it may be worth investing in a feed aggregation company – it will take one feed from you and amend it for everyone you want to send to. You can do this stage of optimization within it’s tool for no extra cost.
Pick up the phone and optimize It’s worth getting in contact with the CSEs, they want to keep you on board. They’re usually pretty good at helping you work out what is working and what isn’t, and often have plenty of options for getting a better position. Finally, always take a look at how your products look on the comparison-shopping engine. There’s a strong chance that it has a profile page for you, so make sure you’ve filled it with accurate and compelling information. Some CSEs give you a rating; it’s often pretty easy to improve your ranking – at the most basic level, even simply uploading your logo helps.
Get More Exposure: Using Comparison Shopping Engines
Get More Exposure: Using Comparison Shopping Engines<br />Patricia Pepe, Internet Merchants Association<br />
Keys to Success:<br />Optimize titles<br />Provide all required info, plus:<br />orig price and sale price<br /> material<br /> colors<br /> dimensions<br /> alt images<br /> high res images<br /> review info (both stars and text)<br />