Whether you’re starting out or have been in the game for a while, you have probably heard that price or product comparison platforms (or “comparison channels” as we refer to them) can help you increase sales when used strategically. These sites receive large volumes of visitors who are searching for specific products, so they’re a good place to get your products in front of a large and engaged audience… But, how do they work? And, will they work for your online shop?
What are they?
Product comparison channels compare the features, specifications and price of multiple products, and are a useful tool for online shoppers to differentiate between the sometimes overwhelming choice of products available online. PriceCheck, Shopmania, Google Shopping and Shopping.com are some examples of these services. These websites are also extremely useful for small to medium-sized online retailers facing increasing competition, who struggle to optimize for search and allocate large budgets for paid advertising. When used correctly, these channels can be well worth the spend, driving good conversions for your online shop, with little hassle.
How they work
Before you start engaging with these sites, you need to ensure your website is up-to-date with product images, descriptions and item numbers. To get your products listed on these sites, you’ll need to provide a feed (typically in XML format) of all your products. Each platform may have slightly different data requirements, so it is highly recommended that you use a feed management tool such as ShoppingFeeder to streamline the process. Data feed management plugins connect to your e-commerce platform, and enable you to generate the required feed in a single click. Your product and pricing information will also automatically be kept up-to-date.
Once the required data has been processed by the site, the comparison channel will then display your product information to their visitors, alongside competitor’s products. Most operate on a Cost Per Click (CPC) model, so you pay a fee every time someone clicks on one of your products and is directed to your website. However, unlike other CPC marketing tools, people who click through to your site have been actively looking for this product and you can therefore expect a higher conversion rate than some of your other lead generation activities. There are a few free product comparison sites out there, so it is worth testing your top-selling products on both. Some sites also have a paid “featured product” service which may be worth testing too.
Why and who should use them
Product comparison websites are highly targeted advertising tools, and can reach a wide and engaged audience. They are relatively easy to manage and measure (compared to Google AdWords), and are great for brand visibility for retailers of all sizes, as products from smaller retailers are featured alongside products from large retailers. But, these sites don’t work well for all retailers. If you’re not keen to continuously compete on price, then perhaps stay away from these platforms. However, comparison channels are a great option if your strategy is to lead on the lowest price; if your products are completely unique; or if you are happy to play around with your product prices on a monthly basis.
Optimizing product comparison channels
Some comparison websites will yield a better ROI for your business than others so it is a good idea to try many, but you will not see results overnight so best to try a few at a time to ensure you have the time to optimize. Limiting the list of products that you upload to your top-sellers and lowering the price of certain products for a period are two common optimization strategies. Also, the more data you can give on each product, the better. It is important to measure the performance of channels closely initially, to figure out which channels are converting.
In short, product or price comparison channels are fantastic marketing tools for your online shop. They put your products in front of a large audience, generate strong leads and high conversions, and are far simpler to manage than other lead generation channels such as Google AdWords. They do, however, require some time invested to ensure that your listings are optimized to compete, and that you’re featured on a site that works for your product range. Channel feeder tools such as Shopping Feeder make getting started on these channels very easy, and allow you to monitor performance. And, once you’ve hit the sweet spot, comparison channels can become your primary marketing strategy, significantly increasing website traffic, sales and brand recognition in a highly competitive global marketplace.
If you would like some help optimizing your site and selecting the right price or product comparison channels, register on ShoppingFeeder and our team will help you to leverage comparison channels strategically.