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Seven Tips for Successfully Managing Comparison Shopping Engines

Posted on March 15, 2011 by Chad

On the eCommerce paid marketing side, correctly running your comparison shopping engines (CSE’s) is extremely important to seeing your products make it through the shopping channels, as well as getting them in front of the eyes of the customer. While keeping up with the CSE's there are many different things I look for to make sure everything is set up and functioning the way it should. Making sure this is done will protect you from problems that can arise from incorrectly categorized products as well as help give your products the best chance they have to make the sale. Here are some general best practices I use when managing products on CSE’s.


  1. Check Where the Product is Assigned - With CSE's you are often forced to blend into what other merchants are doing, as well as what the site believes is the best fit for your product.  In some cases, this can turn out horribly, especially if the CSE is based on the first come first served method.  The first come first served method is used by many CSE's and is essentially when a merchant has added a product with an incorrect UPC and you come along and put up the correct product that owns the UPC, but since you were second to the incorrect data, your product may be matched up with the wrong parent product.  CSE’s don't offer much help to avoid this, so you have to make sure you stay on the ball and check that your products are correctly assigned.
  2. Populate as Many Fields as Possible on Your Feed Template - This is extremely important as it allows customers and shopping site to find and match your products correctly.  Make sure you fill it out correct and complete.  These fields could also help you with ideas on how to improve your own website if you know what attributes customers are looking for in your products.
  3. Complete All Account Information on the Provider Side. This should be a no brainer.  Even if its optional, complete as much as you can as it will help you in the future.
  4. Install User Surveys - User surveys are great in providing feedback as well as allowing you to becoming a trusted seller.  I cannot tell you how many orders I have received, only because our user rating was much higher than the lowered priced item.  Ratings build confidence in buyers, especially if your product is only a few dollars more expensive.  
  5. Ensure Accurate Categorization - Always be up to date with your categories.  Sometimes, your products performance lives and dies with how well you position them.  CSE’s love to change their categories at any time, sometimes even twice a year, so keep them up to date.
  6. Improve Product Data - Don’t get behind on improving your data for your products.  CSE user queries are dependent on this in many cases.  Your descriptions and the keywords you use in your data are what many customers will look for.  Keep this up to date!
  7. Remove Non-Performing Products - Kick them from your CSE’s!  A lot of the times, you can get a pretty good idea of product performance by looking at 60+ days worth of performance, sometimes less.  If it’s all spend and no revenue, then you can determine two things.  1) Customers like clicking on your product on a CSE and 2) They don’t like buying your product once they get to your site.  Kick the product from the CSE while you figure out why this is happening.  It’s obviously not making money for you.  


There you have it.  Some general steps you should think about when looking into marketing on CSE’s.  Before I let you go though, many CSE’s offer additional marketing opportunities.  Do your homework and research before entering into these.  Don’t entertain features blindly.  Sometimes, there are better and cheaper ways for additional marketing than using a providers services.  

What about you, do you have any CSE tips to add? We would love to hear about them in the comments.


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