Where do people go to compare prices online? Some people go to blogs and look at reviews. Others look at multiple online stores and check the prices manually. Soon, this can be quite bothersome as it will take time to look through different website just to look at prices.
Wouldn’t that be more convenient to see it in one location?
Yes. And that’s what comparison shopping engines are for.
What are Comparison Shopping Engines?
Comparison Shopping Engines or CSEs are websites that integrates multiple popular selling websites in one location. What they do is similar to what search engines do in websites. They crawl the website for products and prices and display everything side-by-side in their website. In doing this, their visitors will be able to see the prices conveniently in one location.
So let’s say that you are looking for a price of a particular brand of vacuum cleaner. You want to find the cheapest price for it online. The best way to do this is to visit some comparison shopping engines and input the name of the product in the search field. This will then return a list of results showing the price of the product in some of the most popular retail websites.
Because of this need, several comparison shopping engines are born. They are designed to help buyers in their purchasing decisions but they also help ecommerce website owners in getting exposure for their online shop.
Today, I’ll show you 10 of the most popular comparison shopping engines online.
If we are going to talk about comparison shopping engines, Nextag will definitely top our list. Operating since 1999, it is one of the most popular CSEs on the Internet. In fact, it is so good that it has been ranked on top of CPC Strategy’s quarterly review. Nextag has a wide variety of products in its database. In fact, it is not limited to retail products. It even has comparison for real estate property as well as travel or event tickets.
PriceGrabber is the only service out there that is directly integrated with Yahoo Shopping. This means that getting your product listed in it is like hitting two birds with one stone – you get to list yourself in a comparison shopping engine and get yourself listen in Yahoo Shopping at the same time. And that’s not all. The website also releases a market research report that tracks consumer trends. So it does more than just display prices. It also shows the trends in pricing for certain products.
Since we talked about getting listed in Yahoo Shopping, we should also talk about Google. The good news is that this CSE is integrated with its search result and its Pay-Per-Click advertising platform – Google Adwords. It is one of the largest CSEs on the Internet. So if you want your ecommerce products to be listed fast, you should definitely do it here.
Now that we have talked about Yahoo and Google, it is time to talk about Bing. It also has a a place for product price comparisons – Bing Shopping.
What makes Bing Shopping special is the free listing. Unlike other CSEs where you have to jump through hoops just to get listed, Bing Shopping will instant list you without asking for anything in return. However, please note that they don’t accept new merchant feeds at certain times of the year like the Christmas season. So be sure to get yourself listed early.
If you want to get listed in CSEs for more than just an extra link, you’ll be happy to know that there is such a CSE that drives traffic and sales to your website. In fact, Shopzilla is just like that. It has more than 40 million monthly visitors and has a proven track record since 1996. I personally think that it is the longest standing CSE on the Internet. With over 100 million products listed, Shopzilla continues to lead in the area of driving traffic and sales to ecommerce websites.
There’s a problem with most CSEs – And it is not because they fail to do their job. In fact, the problem is that most CSEs only focus on what they do – compare prices and nothing more.
It is such a breath of fresh air when you see a website that does more than that. The Find is such a website that gives more than just price comparisons. In fact, it shows related results so that shoppers can also uncover products using this CSE. And that’s not all. It even has a personalizes results based on the searcher. Pretty neat, right?
If you have heard of eBay, then you’ll love Shopping.com. Shopping.com is a CSE from the eBay group of companies. It partners with TheFind so that it can display accurate prices in the products in its database. It is another place that you should put your products in if you want to make some extra sales.
If you want to see the reviews and price comparisons in one location, Become is the website for you. It goes another mile by including user reviews in its listings. Although simple, this helps consumers a lot because they can instantly see the reviews and prices in one location. This will help them in finalizing their buying decisions.
With millions of monthly visitors and 70 million products in their database, Pronto is also considered as one of the top CSEs on the Internet. You will definitely miss out on the opportunity to promote to such a huge market if you will not list your product here. Listing is as easy as submitting your merchant feed.
Amazon Product Ads
Want to promote your website in Amazon? Of course you do. It is one of the top three online selling websites on the Internet with millions of users around the world.
How can you list your website? It’s simple. All you need to do is register for a Product Ads account and upload a database of your products via FTP. And voila! You are inside Amazon.
From here, all you need to do is set a budget. Like in PPC Marketing, you will need to set a daily budget and Amazon will display your ads based on that.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Get My Website Listed in Comparison Shopping Engines?
You may be required to submit a CSE-compatible product feed. This feed should contain all the information that the CSE requires so that they can list your product properly. Even though CSEs may look simple, they have their own algorithm that helps them crawl and display information from the CSE-compatible product feed. All of these are done automatically.
For some ecommerce platforms, they have apps that automatically generates product feeds based on the online stop. Take Shopify’s RetailTower for example. It is an app that allows Shopify website owners to instantly generate a CSE-compatible feed with a click of a button. But don’t just take whatever the app gives you. It is still better to optimize your product titles, descriptions and keywords if you want to get more sales for your online store.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Listed?
While some CSEs offer free listings, the price can also vary depending on the platform. Some platforms ask implement a pay-per-click system where you have to work around a particular budget. Also, you will not pay based on results or conversions but on clicks. This can be profitable or not depending on your niche and product pricing.
There is also a cost-per-action system where you only pay a CSE based on results. In my opinion, this is a better model for it will allow you to pay for conversions and not just clicks.
Other CSEs ask for payment after a sale. They simply take a percentage from the sale as long as it is done from their traffic. This is a good model for you only pay them when you make a sale.
How Long Will My Listing Last?
As I have shown you earlier, the pricing models for CSEs can vary. This factor can greatly affect how long your listing will last.
For some CSEs, listings are free. This means that you can expect your listings to be there permanently. For others, you may have to continuously replenish your ad budget to keep your products showing on the website. This varies depending on the pricing model of the CSE that you signed up for.
What Type of Product Can I List?
Most CSEs are general. This means that they will take just about any type of product that you throw at them.
However, some CSEs are very product-specific. This means that it only lists certain products. Be sure to only submit feeds that are compatible with that CSE’s niche or you’ll get rejected. Study the CSE that you are targeting before submitting anything.
Which Comparison Shopping Engines Should I Choose?
Sometimes, you don’t even need to submit to the CSE itself. You just have to get listed in the ecommerce websites that they support.
When you visit a particular CSE, you’ll notice that it only displays a handful of ecommerce websites. This means that you need to list your products in their supported websites. That is the only way for you to get listed.
Can Comparison Shopping Engines Help Drive Traffic to My Website?
Comparison shopping engines are a great source of traffic. If you have read the description of the websites that I presented here, you’ll see that these websites get as much as a million users to their website. This is a good number of people to expose your product to.
In fact, I think that CSEs can give you more than just traffic. Since the people that visits these websites are already interested in buying the products that they are looking for, I’d say that they have a higher likelihood of converting into a sale.
Can I Create my Own Comparison Shopping Engine?
It is a good idea. In fact, you can create a comparison shopping engine that only displays products from certain websites. Include yours and you will instantly seem like an authority in your niche.
However, this has its downsides. Remember that a comparison shopping engine has its own algorithm. This means that not only will you need to code a system from the ground up (or get a coder if you are too lazy), you’ll also need to constantly update the algorithm to keep up with the changing websites.
Are CSEs Better Than Researching User Reviews?
I don’t think so. While it is true that CSEs are great for researching product prices, you’ll still need to read reviews if you really want to get to know a particular product before buying it. After all, you are not buying the product just because of the price. You are buying it because of what it can do. You can only learn about what it can do and to what extent it is effective if you read user reviews.
As you can see, CSEs has its pros and cons. The good news is that it is a great technology to help you find the prices of your favorite products and you have plenty to choose from. The bad news is that its power is limited to price research. You may need to consult other websites if you need to know more details about the products that you want to buy.
While it is not perfect, I still think that CSEs are here to stay. With its power to search through multiple websites and harvest its prices, it still provides a way for buyers to compare products in one convenient location. Since it fills a need, it is here to stay – and ecommerce website owners can certainly benefit from it if they get their products listed.