Stick with Comparison Shopping Engines

If your digital marketing budget gets tight, it may be tempting to abandon your efforts on comparison shopping engines (CSEs), and instead divert that marketing budget to selling and advertising on only the "big three" (Google, Amazon, and eBay).

At the same time, however, savvy retailers are capitalizing on the opportunity to use CSEs - and seeing stellar results. This proves there is still life in traditional CSEs, but if you need more convincing, read on to discover five of the top reasons that it's worth sticking with CSEs.

You Don't Want All Your Eggs in One Basket

Though it's true that most online sales are made through one of the big three channels, many consumers are CSE loyalists. These are niche groups of savvy shoppers searching for online deals. They know what they want, and they are ready to buy. While they might be smaller in number, the conversion rate for this group is significantly better.

Never Underestimate the Power of the Assist

It can be tempting to focus purely on direct sales, but try to consider CSEs as more than just a direct sales channel. Instead, think of them as sales channels and effective tools for increasing brand awareness.

This is a crucial point. At ChannelAdvisor, we've seen many examples of clients terminating a CSE because of what they felt to be a lack of sales performance. However, in nearly all of these cases, a negative effect was then felt on other channels that were considered to be running well, which harmed performance overall, rather than improved it.

Think of it like this: Though you may have the greatest goal scorer in the world, if you don't have someone to feed him the ball, his performance is going to suffer. Just as you wouldn't get rid of your players who help your star performer, you shouldn't get rid of CSEs. Why? CSEs play a major role in indirect sales and have strong value at the top of the sales funnel. Always consider the value of running a CSE holistically and not just for the direct sales achieved.

CSEs Now Offer More Than Comparison Listing

CSEs understand that e-commerce is evolving and that they must evolve with it. While some might argue that CSEs have been slow to adapt, most now offer initiatives to expand the reach of your products beyond a simple comparison listing. For example, many offer a publishing network, generating information-based content such as newsletters to drive interest in your products.

Contact each engine directly to find out what value they can offer you for listing your products on their platform. It's likely that they'll have more to offer than just a listing itself.

People Are Still Searching for Bargains

As in brick-and-mortar retail, e-commerce channels see the most activity during Christmas and New Year, and summertime (back-to-school). CSEs are no exception.

Even if CSEs aren't a typical focus for your business, these holiday periods provides a huge opportunity to boost your overall sales. If nothing else, we’d recommend incorporating CSEs into your marketing plan for summer sales, Christmas and New Year.

Google and Amazon Are Investing in CSEs

With both Google and Amazon placing a huge focus on expanding their reach by integrating the traditional comparison shopping into their networks, it's clear that comparison shopping channels still have a lot left to give. Amazon's and Google’s interests in this channel encourages the more traditional platforms, such as PriceGrabber, Nextag, and eBay Commerce Network to name a few, to innovate, adapt, and meet the renewed interest of the channel.

Hopefully now you can see why you shouldn't abandon your existing CSE strategy. T
he industry is changing, and the channel will adapt to the changes with more focus on consumer needs.

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