Comparison Shopping Engines: Five Success Tips for Merchants

This is the second article in our series about the wildly popular union of search engines and e-commerce: comparison shopping engines. Last month, we provided an analysis of the pricing policies of several major comparison engines (see “Comparison Shopping Engines Bring Customers Who Are Ready To Buy). This month, we provide five tips to help your online store get the most from this new medium.

    Tip #1 – Size up the competition

    Comparison shopping engines allow visitors to compare the product listings of multiple online stores from a single screen. Since your products are being directly compared (often side-by-side) with the products of your competitors, it is imperative that you do your homework and price products competitively! One of the benefits of the grid format used by many of these engines is that it makes finding out what your competitors are charging easy.

      Tip #2 -Write attractive product descriptions

      The way you word the descriptions of your products is second only to price in your quest to get visitors to click through to your site. Be clear and concise in describing product features. For highly competitive product categories, review competitor descriptions carefully and determine how you might set yourself apart. If you have the resources, consider outsourcing the writing task to a professional copy writer.

        Tip #3 – Link to the right place

        Many online storeowners make the mistake of directing the comparison shopping engine user to a suboptimal page in their website. Be warned: repeating this mistake is a surefire way to discourage visitors from buying your products. Visitors rely on comparison shopping searches to lead them directly or very close to the “buy now” page for products. Make sure you bring them there! A visitor looking to buy a particular widget wants to be take to a page where they can buy that widget-not to the site’s home page or “gateway” page in the site.

          Tip #4 – Perform web analytics for ongoing improvement.

          As with any properly executed online marketing strategy, you’ll need to stay on your toes and monitor the return on investment (ROI) of your comparison engine advertising regularly. Always keep tabs on the expenses and the income you received from each click-through from these shopping search engines and make adjustments accordingly. (For more information about web analytics, see “Importance of Customer Tracking: The Fine Art of Website Analytics“)

            Tip #5 – Follow the rules.

            Each shopping engine has its own rules and guidelines for submitting, processing and displaying your items in their catalog. Failure to adhere to these guidelines closely could result in you being penalized or wasting time performing manual submissions that could otherwise be automated. Pay special attention to guidelines for “product feeds;” properly configuration of the feeds will hasten the process of going live.

              The bottom line of any search engine marketing strategy is to increase qualified leads so that you can reap a solid return on your investment. However, continuous involvement and ongoing improvement are both essential in order for you to be successful. If you are a new to search engine marketing or lack the time required to effectively monitor and manage a comparison shopping initiative, we encourage you to seek advice of professional firms.

                Note: GoECart’s sister division, MachInteractive, provides professional search engine consulting services.

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