In “Evaluating Site Search on Target, Walmart, and Amazon,” I reviewed site search for the three retailers using the term “ipad mini retina.” I went directly to those sites as I suspected they sold that device.
In this article, I’ll evaluate the results from search engines and comparison shopping engines on the same term, “ipad mini retina.”
Why is this important? If you are on an online retailer searching for traffic, search engines and comparison shopping engines are potential sources.
I was surprised not to see any Product Listing Ads for the term “ipad mini retina.” Instead, there were text ads presented along with organic links to informative content. The results were relevant. Advertisers included Apple, Verizon, Best Buy, and other larger online retailers. One retailer, Micro Center, I’ve never heard of, but it was in the top advertising position. Ironically, Micro Center does not have a store in Colorado, where I live, and all its iPads were available only for in-store pickup. (Its ad campaign was mismanaged, in other words.)
I have not used Google Shopping much, but I may in the future. It’s well designed, returned relevant results, and by clicking on any of the items I was able to view a detailed box with more content, ratings, and the prices from several sellers. There’s a “blue box” for a featured retailer — $309.99 from Focus Camera in the example below. Apparently, it’s available to the highest bidder — a good opportunity for sellers to stand out. Consumers, however, should be aware that it might not be the lowest price.
Google Shopping includes faceted and filter search choices to further narrow a search. It also includes a geographic filter for shoppers looking for a local store.
For merchants, Google Shopping is pay-per-click advertising and is managed in Google Merchant Center.
When I search “ipad mini retina” on Nextag, it returns over 7,000 products. The first results are truly for iPad Minis. Mingled with the results are many other accessories. The filtering is not impressive or relevant. Nextag does include a feature called “radar me” that allows shoppers to request notification when the price drops. Sellers should note that this is pay-per-click advertising and that for many product categories it is dominated by Amazon, Ebay, and other larger resellers. It’s likely expensive, in other words.
I found the Nextag search results page cluttered, with too many accessories and not enough priority for the actual product: ipad mini retina.
The results at Shopping.com were relevant, with a total of 240 products. The first page of results consisted entirely of iPad Minis. Included were ratings, as well as the number of stores selling the item, which requires another click to a more detailed page. Listed on that page are the stores selling the item with pricing listed for the top three stores.
This setup is similar to Google Shopping. The initial results are organized around a specific product. The more detailed page lists more relevant content and the stores selling that product for comparison as pictured below.
To be listed on Shopping.com requires pay-per-click advertising.
Apple and Walmart paid for the two top spots here. Available filters were focused on merchants, not the product. A retargeting ad (from KitchenAid, below) was presented more prominently than any relevant product. That’s annoying. It may also diminish the investment from merchants as the large ad could distract shoppers.
TheFind.com offers a free merchant program to submit a product feed at no charge. For many merchants, this is a good opportunity. But the search results for “ipad mini retina” were disappointing. The results are almost entirely accessories. Below the fold, I did find one model sold by Walmart.
TheFind’s search results are simplistic. The available filtering is on colors rather than model features. This is understandable since the search results are very broad.