When I try and explain what I do to friends who work outside of ecommerce, I am made acutely aware of my knowledge and perspective of the shopping channels.

Here is a look at comparison shopping from one of CPC Strategy’s newest employees, which provides fresh insight into how people outside of comparison shopping view the shopping channels.  – Mary 

Comparison shoppingAs a merchant you are trying to sell your products to everyone who is interested in buying them. One of the biggest challenges a business is faced with, is finding the buyer and getting in front of the ideal audience.

Comparison shopping websites (CSEs) are a way for businesses to find the buyer, which have unique advantages that other selling channels don’t offer. For example, CSEs let consumers compare the products they are searching for. This lets consumers pick the product that best meets their needs. Good shopping websites will list the cheapest price first, where to buy that item, and any reviews that the item has.

Another advantage for merchants who use comparison shopping websites, is that CSEs compare merchants. This allows the consumers to see who is selling what and who has the lowest price for a certain product. This can lead to more exposure for that product and the company selling it.

Comparison Shopping Engine Limitations

The disadvantages of comparison shopping websites are not really disadvantages, they are more limitations based on the merchants budget and ability to manage technical tasks.

Budget Restraint

Budget restraint is based on how much a merchant wants to spend to sell their goods. Because comparison shopping websites operate on a pay per click (PPC) revenue model every time someone clicks trough to the merchants page, that merchant gets charged a minimal fee.

Feed Format

One of the other disadvantage/ restrictions to selling on comparison shopping sites, are feeds and the formats that each engine requires. Feeds are an excel spreadsheet that is sent to the comparison shopping site, that tells it what products to list on their site and what category to list them under.

Each comparison shopping site has different feed formats, which need to be updated daily. That is where agency’s like CPC Strategy add value, they have an automated process that allows feeds to be sent as frequently as needed and in the proper format.

Shopping Channel Feed Rules And Examples

Top Comparison Shopping Sites

There are many good shopping websites out there, you can find the best of the best comparison shopping sites on our quarterly rankings report. The Comparison shopping website that took the crown, is fairly new to the game when it comes to comparison shopping. This player brought the most traffic and the highest conversations out of all the comparison shopping websites, it is no surprise that when Google entered the comparison shopping industry that they knew what they were doing and that they could make a splash.

Google switched their shopping model from being free to pay per click, this upset a lot of merchants who relied on Google to get traffic. If anything this switch has increased traffic and has made it a lot easier to get traffic now that almost the entire space above the fold on SERP is a ppc ad, when consumer shopping items are searched for.

Google Shopping Study

Q1 2013 Top CSE Study

Comparison Shopping Engine Resources

Shopping Channel News 

Google Shopping Data Feed And Product Listing Ads Guide

Google Analytics Guide For Online Merchants

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About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.