Practical Ecommerce

Shopping Search Engines: Six To Consider

If you consider yourself an online retailer, you most likely are familiar with the major pay-per-click (PPC) search-advertising providers: Google, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN. Advertising on these search engines can bring sales to your site. However, you may be missing out on a lot of sales if you have not considered getting listed in the shopping search engines. Let’s take a look at shopping search engines and see what each of them has to offer.

NexTag

NexTag is a comparison-shopping site. Sellers can “pay-per-performance,” meaning that you will pay-per-click depending on how much you bid for each click. Minimum bid prices are already set, and there is a rather large minimum CPC (cost per click) by category chart on the site. The minimum CPCs range anywhere from $.15 per click (books, movies and music) to $1 per click (printer supplies, plasma and LCD TVs). The homes and real estate category is currently set at $.01 per click for a minimum bid. Based on my organic SEO experience, I have learned that NexTag is one of those sites that ranks very well in the organic search results for many specific products. This can be helpful, as being listed in NexTag can bring visitors to your site who have already done their homework and are ready to buy, as they know the product make and model number for the specific product they’re looking to buy.

Registering on NexTag is free and offers several benefits, including tracking your price alerts, the ability to save your shopping list, view your product reviews, post seller reviews, get leads to your store and the ability to advertise your store.

Shopzilla

Shopzilla is also a comparison shopping site that really is comprised of four different sites – Shopzilla.com, Shopzilla.co.uk, Shopzilla.fr, and Shopzilla.de. As a merchant registered with Shopzilla, you get several benefits, including being listed in its directory of online stores and being able to participate in its “Customer Certified Ratings and Review Program.” You also get access to its merchant services website and the opportunity to participate in the CPC program.

PriceGrabber

PriceGrabber has the motto of “Comparison Shopping Beyond Compare.” PriceGrabber also lists products on a CPC basis, where the rates run from $.15 for the auto parts category to $.80 for the jewelry and watches category. PriceGrabber has an option to add your logo for an additional $.10. There is a separate link if you are selling products in the books and magazines, movies, music, technology, video games, office products or adult products categories.

Shopping.com

Shopping.com is owned by eBay and claims to have an average of 20 million unique visitors per month. CPC rates depend on the category and range anywhere from $.05 for sports and outdoors to $1.00 for certain electronics categories. The merchant reviews come from Epinions.com.

Yahoo! Shopping

Yahoo! Shopping is different than the Yahoo! Search Marketing program. If you have a Yahoo! Store or Merchant Solutions account, you’ll save 20 percent. The minimum prices also vary, just like the other shopping sites. Prices range from $.15 for books to $1.00 minimum for jewelry and the gifts and occasions category. The main Yahoo! Shopping portal is at Shopping.yahoo.com and is accessible from the home page of Yahoo! Yahoo! Shopping has a deal with Consumer Reports to provide results based on the best product reviews from Consumer Reports.

MSN Shopping

The MSN network is a great place to test. You can start with Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, which combines all of its advertising options into one place. So, everything from autos, the MSN home page, Windows Messenger, Live Search, MSN Money, Yellow Pages and the online shopping category is all in one place. This also includes advertising on Windows Mobile and on Facebook, a social networking site. More information is available at Advertising.microsoft.com/home/home. There also is a specific area for MSN Shopping at Advertising.microsoft.com/shopping. Microsoft goes a little further than a lot of the networks and allows you to have your ad show up based on demographic data. More information about the demographic of MSN Shopping is at Advertising.microsoft.com/shopping?tab=profile. One interesting fact is that MSN Shopping’s visitors are 70 percent female. So, if your ideal customer is female you might want to take a look at MSN Shopping.

These six shopping search engines are just the beginning. There are others, including Amazon.com’s Clickriver, Dealtime (part of the Shopping.com network), Kelkoo, MySimon (part of the CNET Networks), and Google Base (formerly the Froogle product search). By testing each of these networks with your highest-margin items and a basic budget, you’ll soon learn which of them produce the most return.

Bill Hartzer

Bill Hartzer

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Comments ( 16 )

  1. Legacy User May 8, 2008 Reply

    I do want to add that Shopping.com is the most difficult to work with from my experience. They lack technical support, do not get back to you after submitting tickets and performs the weakest out of the top five. Maybe it is because it is owned by eBay…not sure. Nextag, on the other hand has been the top perfomer. One that is not mentioned is Google Product Submit. It is free (no CPC) and performs pretty well.

    — *NateAgencySide*

  2. Legacy User May 8, 2008 Reply

    I am very curious about the targeted advertising, I have been trying develop my traffic into conversions, i am fairly new at the ecommerce business and have been working on my site for over a year and finally got it launched. lots of traffic but no purchases. If anyone has an idea on how i can incorporate nextag into my site that would be great. My site is trucetalk.com

    — *Charles L*

  3. Legacy User May 8, 2008 Reply

    Other added benefits to shopping comparison site listings are customer feedback and positive reviews,. End of purchase surveys allow you ask your customer probing questions about your products, delivery, and customer support. My business, (Batteries4less.com) has developed very high ratings rotating these surveys which increases our click thru and conversion rates. When we recently joined Google products we found that all of our hard work paid off. Google has created a customer review page created from several shopping sites. We also promote the best responses as testimonials our our site.

    — *Coryon Redd*

  4. Legacy User May 8, 2008 Reply

    We've been in the comparison engines a long time. PG charges a stiff sign up fee. Most of them raise their clickthru minimums 20-40% during "holiday" seasons. Each one tends to have a different market segment where they excell in so be sure your product fits their market. Nextag is more electronics than Shopping or MSN, (per their merchant service rep) so I probably wouldn't try to sell handbags there. You also need to have your items for sale in a well defined database upload file and must update them regularly or you will be delisted, so plan on giving them part of your day each week.

    — *OldHat-SEO*

  5. Legacy User May 9, 2008 Reply

    I started online a short while back. I placed my store (www.thenamehut.com) on Nextag, and it was an easy and cordial approach. Shopping.com, on the other hand, has a steep prepaid of $700.00 to start, no support phone number and, when I tried their forum to contact them (as per their instructions) I read the horror stories from many stores trying to get service or someone to just answer their multiple requests. Of course, Shopping.com went out of my list. Shopzilla has easy approach even if unflexible in the product list to submit: 1 format only (tab) with 15 specific columns. My advice: create one prodct table with all columns required (Nexttag, for instance) Create other tables for other sites as per their reqs, an copy-paste form the original table, column by column unto the new ones. You must create a directory in your web page for your images and upload them, so that you may include the URL in the corresponding column; and this should work for all te stores you subscribe.

    — *Julian E. Ortiz*

  6. Legacy User May 10, 2008 Reply

    I am in agreement with the shopping.com experience (or shall we say bad experience) as mentioned above. I found that as much as I tried, I could not get my listings placed in "sub categories" and they have been lost in the sea of other products. Tech requests are no help as they don't respond and modifying the sub categories through their site interface does not seem to solve the problem. About the $700 initial deposit, as of April 2008, I could not find anywhere in their online documentation that states it has to be a minimum amount and certainly not $700 minimum. I set up my account with $100 to start and when I called to activate, I told the rep this and they said, fine and set up the account. You might try this, if you really want to be listed on this not so good site, until they post their official policy in words. Their explanation for requiring the $700?…. they said it is required to cover their costs for initiating a new account… uhhh isn't that a bit steep? I think they need to perform a Six Sigma process on that to improve efficiency of employee usage.
    Just my 2 cents. Good luck to all who want to list with Shopping.com and I hope my comments help out.

    — *Paul Wesson*

  7. Legacy User May 14, 2008 Reply

    We have had good support from Shopzilla. We see much increased traffic but not a proportionate amount of sales. I would like to hear more about the pay Per Order companies. Besides Amazon and Shop.com who else is there?

    — *Devon Krusich*

  8. Legacy User May 14, 2008 Reply

    I have heard good things about Jellyfish.com (pay-per-order), but have not tried it yet. They were recently bought by Microsoft, so they think it's a good site and concept.

    — *Wes customer-e-service.com*

  9. Legacy User May 14, 2008 Reply

    I second the mention of Google Base, which is free and incredibly simple to use. It sure is nice to see your store's products at the top of the search results without having to spend a penny.

    — *Kristen*

  10. Legacy User May 15, 2008 Reply

    Best I have found is shopzilla, I had to chargeback my money on shopping.com because of the poor service not to mention they require like 1k just to start.

    — *richard*

  11. Legacy User May 18, 2008 Reply

    We use all of these comparison sites and the best for us is Shopzilla. If you are looking to feed your products to as many comparison sites as possible check out Merchant Advantage. They provide feeds to over 100 comparison sites including Amazon. They also offer a feature that tracks your performance on each site to determine the best ROI for your products. This allows you to determine which comparison sites and products work best for you

    — *Joe – Biggsports.com*

  12. Legacy User May 20, 2008 Reply

    I have been managing various feeds for other companies and have found that Shopping Engines that offer a lot of control return the best revenue. I have found that:

    Shopzilla has an excellent support team and offers a wide range of categories to participate in. Bidding at the product level avoids out of control spending.

    Pricegrabber is another good shopping engine with great service, as it started out as an electronics engine it has maintained a very strong following in the is area. You can do bidding in this enigine as well if you participate in the Featured Merchant Program (this is quite costly and may not be good for most small businesses)

    Google Base is a shopping engine I would encourage everyone to get into. It's free and it can help you figure out what your customers may be looking for. You can experiment with your titles and descriptions at no loss in sales to you.

    Those are the ones I have worked closely with but there are others out there that offer as much bidding control as Shopzilla. Those are Nextag, Smarter.com, and Pronto to name a few.

    — *Os – CSE Manager*

  13. Legacy User May 30, 2008 Reply

    I have to admit that I left out Google Base because it's not really a CPC engine, it's free. But, that doesn't mean that it's not great to use. I have had great success with Google base, as well.

    — *Bill Hartzer*

  14. Legacy User July 9, 2008 Reply

    I've used all of the services mentioned and found they work pretty good at Xmas but ROI seldom meets expectations the rest of the year. Be very careful on the shopping engines with affiliates or "small time partners" the questionable clicks and ROI on these are often below average even when compared to other shopping engines.

    — *Terry Van Horne*

  15. Steve Johnson December 18, 2008 Reply

    I was very pleased to see the article on shopping search engines; particularly, after I realized that 5 of the 6 were already on my (take a look) to do list. Google base is fantastic. It is easy to use and free. I absolutely love it when I enter a search term, like sectional door, in the Google search box. Bam! There is cabotcomponents.com on the first page in the natural listings. As far as traffic, I have also had good experience with Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Product Submit. My company name, Cabot Components Corporation, does not include key words (in the name) for the products that I sell. That is a negative from a search engine perspective. Therefore, it is even more important for us to generate leads from other venues like Google Base.

  16. parforbob December 18, 2008 Reply

    I’m another one who just loves Google Base. It’s so easy to upload your products and it is wonderful to have your store listed on the first page without the additional cost as I’ve done with readybuiltsteelbuildings.com
    If anyone knows of any other free shopping carts please feel free to post them or e-mail a link to sales@readybuiltsteelbuildings.com.