Reading a lot of blog posts about shopping comparison I would like to share my experiences based on my previous work at one of the leading shopping comparison sites in Scandinavia.
1. Price is important but not everything
The store with the cheapest price doesn’t get most traffic from the shopping comparison sites. On average the store on 4th to 6th place gets most traffic. Why is this? The consumer is not only evaluating which store to buy from based on price but also parameters such as store brand awareness, product availability, freight price and maybe most important, customer reviews from fellow shoppers and what they think about the store. I believe social shopping capabilities will be more and more important when the consumer becomes more and more mobile in their shopping behavior.
2. Use consumer reviews functionality
As Social shopping is becoming more and more important its important to drive consumer reviews as a documented evidence of your superb service and customer attention. To set up your own consumer review system would require a large volume of visitors to your site but there are a number of companies providing this type of service, as a part of a shopping comparison service or as a separate service.
3. Maintain your retailer message
Most stores are not actively working with their retailer message as a message board vs the consumer but this 3 or 4 row message can be used for communicating unique service offerings, campaign opportunities, discount codes and some shopping comparison sites even allow you to promote special promo codes for shown in a different color making them very visible in the price listings. Be proactive and investigate what opportunities you have.
4. Complete product information
Product filtering functionality on a website requires product features. So if your products doesn’t have full specification of product features it might lead to your products are not selected when the consumer filters which product to buy. This is of course the main responsibility of the shopping comparison site but on the other hand if you complete the information you can also show it on your own product pages.
5. Product names are important
As an individual store its difficult if not impossible to beat the shopping comparison sites on the organic search. But by adopting their standards of product names or even make them more extensive you achieve two things:
- Get more descriptive product names which support the shopping comparison sites to index your products faster. If they don´t know which product it is, they will either spend time finding it out or select another easier product to index instead.
- Support your effort to get higher Google organic ranking as the product name makes it possible to be visible on more search words on Google but also makes the product names more relevant to be ranked.
6. Use the provided tools
A number of shopping comparison sites provides excellent tools for traffic analysis, market analysis and assortment analysis. Use these as they provide important information about your pricing, competition and product assortment.
7. Real shopping comparison vs fake shopping comparison
Many shopping comparison sites are trying to take shortcuts when implementing a shopping comparison category. One example are the shopping comparison sites that are only listing paying customers meaning they are not providing a transparent view of the market to the consumer. Another example is shopping comparison sites that mix true shopping comparison categories with fake shopping comparisons categories where you even might be able to buy a category and be the only store in the category. It might be difficult to justify the PPC price for such categories but evaluate to make the right decision.å
8. Drive traffic to your physical store
You might think that the shopping comparison sites are for online sales only but as the importance of shopping comparison sites for consumers have grown it is also a very good vehicle to drive consumers to your physical stores and creates opportunities to more add-on sales. Even if you are not the cheapest store but the consumer knows they can have the goods in an hour if they visit your store it makes sense to be listed on shopping comparison sites.
9. Conversion, conversion, conversion
Conversion is the most important measure for your online marketing efforts. The shopping comparison sites might not be the largest traffic drivers to your site but they normally have a very high conversion rate. So evaluate how you can have more traffic from the shopping comparison sites and compare the different shopping comparison sites in a market. To compare with your competitors Gadd Software have built a free conversion bench-marking application called Gadd Analytics (beta version). Just provide your data and you will have bench-marking how your traffic converts for different data sources.
10. All clicks counts
Most shopping comparison sites are charging for all clicks independent who clicks. So think about this when you click on your competitors product links. Are they doing the same if might add a lot of extra costs to all stores. The shopping comparison sites are today frequently updated with pricing information so I think in most cases can you trust the data on the sites. If you want to check the competitor: enter the URL directly in the browser and your competitors might do the same.