When it comes to marketing on price comparison websites, a.k.a. comparison shopping engines, there’s a strong tendency to get stuck on Google Shopping and Amazon Product Ads. Those are the 2 superstars that get the most attention and typically perform very well. But there’s untapped potential with what other price comparison websites can do for your business.
Expanding Onto Other Price Comparison Websites
Google Shopping and Amazon Product Ads, particularly the former, are an excellent foundation for creating a solid and growing online presence. The problem is that if you’re a retailer, that growth needs to be faster, the revenues need to be greater, and soon you’ll be contemplating expanding onto other price comparison websites. We actually just had a case study on expansion for a retailer that wanted more exposure on other price comparison websites.
The real question is: what are the pros and cons of expansion? First, let’s look at the cons of adding more price comparison websites to your repertoire:
- Takes time away from other business activities (if managed in-house)
- Must have a higher budget for ad spend (CPCs)
- More data feeds to create, send, and manage (if done in-house)
- Increased overall traffic to your site
- More exposure for your products, particularly your top-performers
- Higher revenue potential
Marketing on price comparison websites can really add some much-needed ammunition to your arsenal. The next question is what other price comparison websites should you be marketing on?
Top Price Comparison Websites for Ecommerce Retailers
In addition to the ultra-popular Google Shopping and popular Amazon Product Ads, there are other price comparison websites that are profitable, and in some cases, better performing. Let’s take a quick look:
Nextag – Consistently in the top 3 in our Comparison Shopping Report rankings, Nextag is a paid price comparison website that allows for product, brand, and category-level bids. It also has very high quality traffic, probably due to the fact that it doesn’t have many small affiliates AND it was 2nd in traffic in Q2 2013 (according to our Comparison Shopping Report). Nextag was arguably the best paid price comparison site until Google Shopping’s paid model came along.
Shopzilla – Shopzilla features perhaps the easiest bidding tool for online merchants to use. It’s zero-bid feature negates the need for sending limited product feeds and allows for potentially free clicks. The price comparison site is also affiliated with BizRate, a merchant rating company, so high quality merchants are well-distinguished in SERPs. Additionally, Shopzilla sends many of its product listings to Google Shopping, meaning a merchant listing on Shopzilla also receives exposure on the extremely high-traffic Google Shopping engine.
Shopping.com – A.K.A. the eBay Commerce Network, Shopping.com is a price comparison website that is well known for its Value Based Pricing (VBP) program, which discounts merchants for “unqualified” clicks from low quality traffic. Unlike the other shopping engines, Shopping.com only allows for category-level bids. Shopping.com also lists its products on Google Shopping and it finished 3rd in overall traffic in Q2 2013.
PriceGrabber – PriceGrabber is awesome because it involves very low risk management. Its no minimum bidding model allows a retailer to penny-bid, or bid as low as just 1 cent on a product listing, so you can potentially send a very large feed to the price comparison website. In Q2 2013, PriceGrabber had the 2nd lowest COS and was ranked our 3rd best overall price comparison website for ecommerce merchants.
Price Comparison Websites: Best Practices for Expansion
Before you get excited to start listing your products on price comparison websites, you’ll need to do a lot of self-assessment. Here are a few factors to consider:
Can you afford the extra ad spend on clicks? Conversion rate is a factor you’ll want to consider here because the quality of traffic you will receive for your product category will vary from engine to engine. BUT there are strategies you can employ to work around this (see Product Feed).
If you already have a campaign on Google Shopping or Amazon Product Ads, then you’re probably well-versed in CPC bidding. This prior knowledge about making bid optimizations will be huge for you when expanding onto other price comparison websites and it will make the whole transition much more efficient.
All you’ll really spend time doing is setting up an account, familiarizing yourself with the merchant interface on the engine, and customizing your product feed to the price comparison website’s feed specifications. You may want to consider expanding on each engine one at a time.
Do you have the time and resources to customize, optimize, and export a unique product feed for each engine? This is a tedious process. On another note, your product count will be a factor that determines your best fit with different price comparison websites. For example, sending your entire feed to Shopping.com may not be beneficial because you have minimum bids (according to their rate card) to abide by and you don’t have a zero-bid/penny-bid option available for under-performing products.
Therefore, sending a limited feed is a great strategy here. For example, sending a feed of just your top-selling products would increase your Shopping.com conversion rate and give exposure to the products that you know have a good chance of converting. One way you can determine your top sellers is by sending a feed of just your products that have sold at least once in the past 2-3 months.