Practical Ecommerce

The PeC Review: Shopzilla Is a Good Site That Could Use Better Instructions

three and a half stars

Shopzilla.com is one of the Internet’s leading price comparison engines. The site can expose an online retailer’s products to more than 30 million price-conscience shoppers every month, making it a powerful marketing vehicle. But uploading products—particularly for smaller merchants—could be easier, and forms on the site lacked descriptions and basic instructions.

Registering as a merchant on Shopzilla and posting my first product took less than 20 minutes, which left me with a clear understanding of how the site worked. But some basic instructions, could have made the process even easier and saved some minor frustration. Overall, Shopzilla gets three and a half stars in this PeC Review.

It is important to note that we are not rating Shopzilla on whether or not a campaign was successful. There is a simple reason for that. A price comparison site is not responsible for your success. Remember they are allowing customers to compare similar or identical products head-to-head. If you charge twice as much as a competitor, you won’t see good results.

Screen capture of the Shopzilla homepage

Shopzilla’s Low Trial Price, Simple Design are Great

Just $50.00 gets a merchant up and running on Shopzilla.com, and the money is not a fee all of it applies to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. When a Shopzilla visitor clicks on a merchant’s listing, the cost of the click is subtracted from the $50. Plus, if you don’t like your results, the company promises a refund. I was also impressed with the site’s simple design.

Four Ways to Upload Products

Retailers can submit products to Shopzilla in four ways:

  1. Individually by filling out a form. Best for merchants with only a few dozen products or for those that only use Shopzilla to promote their most price competitive SKUs.

  2. Gang upload. This “FullList” feature uses a wizard to post hundreds or even thousands of products all at once. But keeping that list updated and assigning individual PPC bids will still be a challenge.

  3. Use a Yahoo! store feed. Ideal for Yahoo! store owners, but there could be better instructions regarding how to find Yahoo’s “Export of Store Contents” feature.

  4. Programmatic FTP. Great if you are accustomed to publishing your product catalog for search engines. But it’s overkill if you don’t update your catalog at least weekly.

Conversion Tracking

Shopzilla offers a simple to use conversion-tracking script. Similar to other tracking scripts, just place a short bit of code on your product pages to follow the success of your comparison shopping campaign.

A Personal Account Manager

Shopzilla assigned a personal account manager, providing the manager’s name and contact email. It was a nice personal invitation to communicate with the company if I had questions or concerns.

More Instructions and Descriptions Required

Perhaps it is a function of Shopzilla’s spare site design, but I found the general lack of information frustrating. For example, when it was time to decide how I would submit my products there were no instructions about what would be required for each submission type. A link to an explanation of how to use the Yahoo! store feed before I had to click “Go” would have been great.

I also had a hard time determining how to change my product submission method. And once I had submitted my products, I had trouble finding them in the search engine.
Finally, Shopzilla should have told me what format they required in its forms. I typed “Idaho” for my state, but got an error when I submitted the form. Shopzilla required a two-letter state code, but didn’t tell me until after the form failed. I had to resubmit my information. I suffered similar form errors four more times during the registration process.

Video Review

Conclusion

In the end, I am giving Shopzilla.com three and a half stars for merchant usability. The site does a lot of things very well, and I plan to use it for my own stores, but I still would have liked more descriptive forms and instructions.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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