Shopping will not be complete without the act of comparing prices. You may have seen people do this in shopping malls where they hop from shop to shop not buying anything. What they are doing in that process is more than window shopping. It is often because they are comparing prices.
Online, it is quite common for customers to ‘shop around’ by looking for the same product in different websites and comparing prices. And even if the product is unique to one brand, they would often look for similar products from different brands and compare. Why do they do this? Well, it is obvious that customers want to get the most out of their money.
Comparers are usually careful shoppers who doesn’t want to buy anything that they’ll regret afterwards. With careful planning, they scour the Internet for websites, coupons and deals that will help them get the item that they want for a lower price. Of course, it is not entirely about price but on quality as well. But they will usually go for products with great reviews and an affordable price tag.
What are Comparison Shopping Engines?
Comparison shopping engines also known as CSEs are websites that scrape the prices, images and details of products in reputable shopping retailers and display all the information that it has collected it in one webpage. This is often done when the searcher has inputted the product name or has done a search query. With it, shoppers can compare prices, shipping rates and reviews of services in one page.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you visit a comparison shopping site like Nextag. If you input an item like ‘Samsung Galaxy S8’, it will give you the following results.
As you can see, it allows you to see the product’s price and details in different retailers. In the side, it also allows you to choose the category, limit the price and choose the brand of the products that you like.
Comparison shopping sites are inspired by the human behavior of constantly comparing prices before buying. With CSEs, the act of ‘comparing’ is done for the customer. Instead of the customer scanning the Internet for shopping websites and listing the prices one-by-one, this website crawls and indexes product links and prices in one convenient URL. The result is go-to website for hundreds and thousands of comparison shoppers around the world.
Why Get Listed?
The tremendous amount of traffic alone is enough of a reason for eCommerce websites to tap these platforms if they want to increase their sales.
But it can do more than that. Here are three reasons why getting listed in comparison shopping engines is a must.
Comparison Shopping Engines Can Drive Traffic to Your Website
First, it can help them get more traffic to their website. After all, there is nothing better than a recommendation from another reputable website. A simple listing is often enough to get people to click on your website link to know more and this can result to a boost of traffic in your website.
Comparison Shopping Engines Can Help with SEO
Also, since you’ll be getting a link from a reputable website, it can also do wonders for your search engine ranking. Search engine optimization is all about getting quality backlinks to your website. The higher the quality and amount of backlinks, the higher your ranking will be. Since most of the popular comparison shopping engines are reputable and has tons of traffic, the link that they can give you is often very high quality.
Comparison Shopping Engines Can Strengthen your Brand
Third, it strengthens your brand. Think about it. How will you view a brand if it is placed alongside some of the leading brands in the industry? Wouldn’t you instantly view the brand as reputable as well? It is the science of correlation. It is when one brand is viewed as good when it is put alongside a similar yet more popular brand that it gains instant credibility.
That is what comparison shopping engines can do for you when they feature you.
Now that you know how important comparison shopping engines are for eCommerce businesses, it is time to do some exploring. Let us take a closer look at some of the most popular comparison shopping websites that you can use for your business.
Looking for a product? I think that there is no better comparison shopping tool than NexTag. I love it for its easy search and filter feature.
Operating since 1999, Nextag is one of the most popular comparison shopping websites on the Internet. With over 30 million visitors per month, it is a website that is worth listing your eCommerce website on. In fact, it is considered as a top performing comparison shopping website according to CPC Strategy’s quarterly review. The best part is that it doesn’t end with just products. Nextag can also compare event ticket, real estate and travel prices.
Searching a product on the website is really straightforward. When you visit its link, you’ll see a page that has a search bar.
Upon searching, you’ll see that it will instanty display items that are relevant to the keyword you entered.
As you can see, it displays the name of the retailers (Amazon, eBay, etc.), its price and the product name.
But there’s one problem. It seems that the search feature is not yet as refined. As you can see, I have searched for Samsung S8 but the returned results at the top is not relevant to what I have searched for. So that is something that they can improve on.
Then, you can also sort products according to the left sidebar. You can choose the price and the brand.
And it doesn’t stop there. You can also filter through items right to their free shipping discounts. Pretty neat, huh?
True to its name, price grabber ‘grabs’ the price of various items and puts them in one webpage. More than serving customers, it has a feature that makes it just all-too-enticing for eCommerce website owners to get listed.
What does Price Grabber has that others don’t? Well, it looks just like any other shopping comparison website on the surface. Again, the main page is straightforward with a search bar.
Then, it will give you the results that are relevant to the search query.
What I noticed is that it indexes really low priced deals from Groupon. This makes it a good tool if your goal is to find the lowest priced items.
However, it seems that the search feature could also use some improvement. Like Nextag, it only seems to display accessories than the actual item. I have tried adding some quotation marks but it still did not help refine the search.
Instead, I think that the sidebar will be more helpful in refining your search. You can click on the brand or choose the keywords that you want to refine the search
But there is more to Price Grabber than meets the eye. It seems to be geared towards sellers because it has a Market Report that let retailers track customer purchases. Aside from this, it also grants an instant Yahoo Shopping listing if you choose it as your Comparison Shopping site.
Google Merchant Center
Google is for more than just search. It can also be used for shopping. Google has a merchant center that allows users to upload products so that it can be seen by the wide Google market.
Google used to have a shopping app called Google Shopping and what this app does is that it compares product prices. Like Nextag and Price Grabber, it has a sorting menu at the left hand side to help with the filtering of products.
But if you will visit it today, you’ll find some non-clickable categories. I have tried visiting the website and found that it is no longer working.
It seems that Google shopping has now shifted to Google Merchant Center – a place where sellers can post their retail products on sale.
What this does it that it let you create a shopping campaign. This will give your product exposure in all Google platforms – Google.com search, Google Image search and Youtube. From here, you can see how much traffic it can give you because of its wide reach.
Setting up is easy. Just click on the green Get Started Button and you’ll reach a page that will give you instructions on how to set up an account.
First, you’ll need a merchant center account. You need to tweak this so that it is consistent in all platforms on the web.
Next, you can now upload your products. You don’t have to do these manually. You can just upload your products using your product feed and it will immediately scrape your products’ brands, prices and availability.
Then, you will be asked to create a shopping campaign on Adwords. This will require some payment but it is well worth the price considering that you’ll get to tap the wide Google market in the process.
Google will even help you if you feel like you are stuck. You can call them in their hotline: 1-866-246-5453 if you encounter some problems.
Google Shopping used to be the largest shopping comparison engine on the Internet. However, they have to change the model. Maybe it has something to do with it not giving them enough money. So they decided to change it to Google Merchant Center instead. It’s still good if not better because it is now also integrated with Youtube than the usual Google Adwords and Google search results.
If you ever wanted to make the online shopping experience easier, Shopping.com can assist you. The main page may seem a bit old but it is a go-to website for most online shoppers. Part of eBay’s group of companies and partnering with TheFind, it is able to go through some of the top retailers online and display the results in one powerful comparison shopping engine.
Visiting Shopping.com, you’ll see two things. First, you’ll see a search bar on top. Then you’ll also see a dropdown menu for categories on the upper left hand side corner. You can now input a keyword to search for a specific product or click on a category to shop around.
Once you start your search, you’ll find some items that are relevant to your search term. There is a sidebar menu that can help you filter through your products so that can find the most relevant products for your search term.
Notice how each product has its store at the bottom, this shows that Shopping.com sources its results from different websites. Other CSEs only display items from a handful of popular websites but Shopping.com sources its results everywhere.
Clicking on the item will also let you see other stores selling the product. More than the item description, you have the option to compare prices so that you can see all the prices of the product in one convenient location.
Clean and with an airy feel, Become is an online shopping comparison website that allows you to search for products and compare them. It has a neat search feature and blocks of categories right from its homepage.
Clicking on a category will lead you to page that displays the products according to the image below. First, it has a bar of products that displays their prices and store. Then, it lists the other products below that.
Clicking on the item will instantly take you to the store. So if I click on HP Pavilion 23-q113w for instance, it will instantly take me to the product page on Walmart.
Become is a popular CSE because it allows comparison of prices and reviews. Aside from that, it also allows consumers to find the best possible deals for the products that they are interested in buying.
At first glance, you’ll think that ShopZilla is more like an eCommerce store than a shopping comparison website. But it just has that feel. Like the others, it has the search bar and categories right in its homepage.
One of the things I love about Shopzilla is its search results. Searching for a simple keyword like ‘camera’ has managed to give me these results.
As you can see, the selection is diverse for it comes from different shops. Unlike other CSEs that seem to favor some shops more than others, Shopzilla doesn’t seem to do that. Plus, you can see all the prices in one convenient page.
Clicking on the item will instantly take you to the merchant website so that you can further examine its details and reviews. This will help you make an informed purchase decision.
Shopzilla is one of the leading comparison shopping websites on the Internet. It started way back in 1996 and has about 40 million visitors monthly and 100 million listed products. Its shopping features are so effective that merchants found a significant increase in their sales upon listing.
I love Pronto because it is clean and straight to the point. It gives you the message that it will search for your product in all the top stores for you. It is like having your own online shopping assistant.
Pronto’s search results will remind you a lot about Nextag and the old Google Shopping website. Beside the results is a menu that will help you filter through the results so that you can find the item that you need.
I love that the search results also have a wide variety of brands. This is a good sign because it means that the website is not self-promotional.
Pronto currently has over 70 million products in its listings. This comes from various categories allowing it to have millions of monthly visitors. So if you are looking for a CSE that is worth promoting on, Pronto is what you’re looking for.
Amazon Sponsored Products
Want to sell more on Amazon? Then try Amazon Sponsored products. This will allow you to tap the millions of loyal Amazon users and drastically improve your sales.
Here’s how it works.
First, you need to set up an ad campaign. In here, you’ll be asked for a budget or an end date and choose your target market. For products, you can target certain keywords so that your product will come up in the search. If not, you can set it to automatic targeting. Once that is done, you just need to set the bid and launch.
Once that is done, your ad will now be shown to millions of Amazon customers. Customers with matching search terms will be able to uncover your ad. It can come up in the search results or in related products.
Then, you’ll be given a dashboard so that you can track your ad’s success. This will allow you to see the reports so that you can track each dollar spent. This way, you’ll know if you’re losing money, breaking even or making more.
Amazon Sponsored Products’ cost is based on your customer’s clicks. It has a cost-per-click auction-based model that allows you to bid on keywords so that you show up first. It is quite the same as Adwords only that it is tailored for retail sellers.
How to Post Your Products in Comparison Shopping Engines
With everything that you have learned about CSEs, you are probably ready to have your products listed on it.
Before you can do that, you’ll need two things.
- First, you’ll need a product feed. CSEs have scripts that scrapes data from feeds. This allows them to get the product’s image, information, price, shipping information and availability. So it is very important to have this before you pay for a listing in a CSE. For Shopify users, there is an app called RetailTower. This will allow you to create feeds that are specifically designed for CSEs. Be sure to optimize your product titles and descriptions while you are at it. After all, you want people to find your listing in CSEs.
- Next, you may need to prepare some money. After all, the best CSE listings are not free. While there are some CSEs with free listings, you’ll still get more from paid ones. Charges may vary from pay-per-click or pay-per-action. Some CSEs may implement a bidding system. Other times, they will just ask you to pay if someone clicks or acts on your listing. Some CSEs even ask for a percentage of the sale so be sure to check with them before you proceed.
With these two, does this mean that your listing will automatically stand out? Well, not quite. Think about it. If you plan to list a common item in a CSE, there is a chance that other eCommerce sellers have thought about that as well. If you list the same item with the same price, your chance of standing out is zero.
So what do you do?
You lower your prices.
Again, this is not to encourage you to become a ‘cheap’ website. But this is a comparison shopping engine that we are talking about. And if you will think about the main thing that they are comparing, you’ll know that it is all about the price. The reviews and website reputation only comes second.
What’s the workaround? Well, you can try selling one-of-a-kind products. This will give you the chance of making the sale. Another way is just to choose products that you are willing to sell at a lowered price, there is simply no other way around this harsh world of CSEs.
It is Time
Comparison shopping engines are like the search engines of eCommerce products. While it may be loaded with competition, you must still list your eCommerce site on it lest you want to get left behind. Just don’t forget to check the categories to ensure that they are relevant to your products. Else, they may reject your listing.
Have you tried promoting your eCommerce website on CSEs? If not, now is the time to start exploring. If you have used CSEs before, please tell me about your experience. I want to know. Include it in your comment below.