Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Maximizing Comparison Shopping Site Marketing

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) have become increasingly important for merchants looking to increase sales, enhance exposure and build brand awareness online. They help attract more motivated buyers to their site and boost conversions through more targeted product advertising.

Whether you’re a shopping site veteran or just starting out, we at GoDataFeed put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of shopping site marketing:
  • Optimize Your Product Feeds- In a nutshell, to optimize your feed is to provide each engine-- and ultimately your target shopper-- with as much accurate, up-to-date and detailed product information as possible **before** they click over to your site- this includes product titles/descriptions, high quality images, complete price information, merchant profile, user reviews and relevant keywords/search terms
  • Maximize your Attributes- Include as many relevant required, optional and custom fields (i.e. color, gender, size, etc...) as possible about your products- merchants can even add seasonal, sale or coupon attributes to your data feeds, if they apply
  • Name Your Products Appropriately- use common search terms that shoppers are familiar with to find your products
  • Categorize your products in the most relevant location for each shopping site
  • Submit Fresh Feeds to ensure product data is accurate, in-stock and reflects correct pricing information
  • Customize Feeds to Each Engine- one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of shopping site marketing is that each shopping site is unique and you should tailor your feeds to meet each CSE's requirements.
  • Maximize Your Resources - Take advantage of each shopping sites' merchant resources. Some shopping sites, like PriceGrabber, have dedicated Account Managers for each merchant to help with the feed setup process; Become is a shopping engine that lets merchants post their store's logo at no cost.

Measure Results- then Modify

  • Begin with a Strategy- have specific, measurable sales goals to ensure your feed campaigns are effective and profitable
  • Monitor Listings- routinely review performance reports, looking at profit margins for each product to determine which products and engines are performing well and which products need to be tweaked or removed
  • Proactively manage bidding -review your products' performance and place higher bids on best sellers, place lower bids on average sellers, and place zero bids, if applicable, on the lowest sellers-- pay attention to peak sales and seasonal item trends
  • Manage your CPC budget- ideally, your best-selling, high-margin products should always be visible and you should aim to increase your budget during holiday and seasonal promotions
  • Minimize click costs by removing inactive, out-of-stock or unprofitable products- it may also help to manage bids on a product or category basis to reduce click costs
  • Spread your Eggs- you may want to test different feed campaigns, based on price, brand, sale campaign or category, for instance, to see which products and engines perform better

As comparison shopping online has grown, the number of shopping portals and shopping site models have also evolved:

CPCs, CPA & Free Models
Today, merchants can choose from the Cost-per-Click Model, offered by a majority of the shopping sites, as well as Cost-per-Action or Cost-per-Sale that charges merchants per sale (commission-based), such as Jellyfish, now known as CashBack, --a model that is becoming very popular with many merchants. And, of course, there are the free shopping sites, such as Google, TheFind and MSN Product Live-- which we recommend most merchants start out with.

Specialty CSEs
Shopping sites are also getting more specialized-- today, there are a number of niche sites dedicated to wine, electronics, books, baby products and those that target a specific demographic, like theFind, which is popular with the female demographic. These sites can increase product/store exposure through more targeted product placement.

Going Social
As shoppers surf for products online, they are also looking for user reviews and buying guides as well as positive feedback and ratings about the store they're shopping from. Merchants should take advantage of shopping portal "user review" programs, if available, because many times, a shopper will pay more to buy from a store that has higher merchant ratings.

For more information on effectively managing data feeds or outsourcing the entire data feed management process, visit http://www.godatafeed.com/.

About GoDataFeed
GoDataFeed is reshaping the delivery of product feeds to the major comparison shopping channels with an innovative solution that properly and effectively automates, optimizes and analyzes the data feed management process. GoDataFeed empowers online retailers and search engine marketers by providing an affordable, time-saving solution to increase traffic and visibility on more than 40 comparison shopping sites and affiliate networks.

Serving online retailers, hosting and search engine marketing firms, GoDataFeed strives to meet the individual needs of each merchant and exceed customer expectations. GoDataFeed’s staff provides one-on-one customer service to meet the unique demands of each company and works with each client- from setting up customized feeds to implementing tracking—to ensure feeds are delivered properly and are driving motivated buyers to their site. GoDataFeed also caters to companies who wish to delegate the entire data feed setup process through its fully-managed plan.

GoDataFeed’s software engineers and marketing specialists have developed ecommerce solutions for online businesses since 2000. Responding to the popularity of comparison shopping channels, GoDataFeed’s team combined its collective knowledge of best ecommerce and shopping channel marketing practices to create a single, user-friendly application to manage the product feed process. The GoDataFeed team has been quoted by retail industry sites including Practical eCommerce, Ecommerce-Guide.com and Small Business Informer.

Shopping Engines & Product Data Feeds