Sites that take product data feeds provided by many merchants, match up the products offered by each store, and allow customers to compare prices -- Comparison shopping engines -- have rapidly grown over the past decade as significant tools to get consumers to your website. Also called “CSEs" or “shopping feeds,” there is no question that shopping engines boost eCommerce sales. I addressed this in October 2011 in Are Comparison Shopping Engines Hurting Your Online Retail Business? Today, I'm combining some of my thoughts then with data from a recent Volusion Infographic (below).
Comparison shopping engines (CSEs) took on increased importance in 2012, with a 56% increase in overall CSE traffic that helped eCommerce revenues top $1 trillion in 2012. The most popular Comparison Search Engines include Google (with the highest CSE traffic and revenue); Nextag; Amazon Product Ads; Price Grabber; Shopping.com; Shopzilla and Bing.
CSEs have become increasingly important to online retailers and augur of coming trends because:
1. Up to 20% of a retailer's website traffic in many industries is due to CSEs.
2. 65% of online shoppers spend 15+ minutes comparing products on shopping engines.
3. 94% of online shoppers invest time to find the best price when making a purchase
4. 2x. Customer-viewing-results on a comparison shopping engine are twice as likely to convert into a sale.
5. Growing 2x faster than overall commerce, Amazon product ads continue to surge.
6. 31% of smartphone owners shop with their phone
7. There was a 67% increase in CSE transactions from July to December that happened on a mobile device.
CSEs point up the need to manage your pricing regularly:
CSEs are all about the price, so getting your pricing right is critical. If low pricing is the pricing strategy you have chosen, make sure you're found on CSEs -- near the top. Retailers who want to compete for CSE business MUST regularly price monitor competitors’ prices and adjust accordingly. If you don't have the right price when the consumer looks for your product in CSEs, it's still as if you don't exist. So you already know that if you're not "there," you're not going to be looked at. And, if you are "looked at," you'd better have a price that's very competitive.
Furthermore, you could be losing business without even knowing about it. If customers skip you because you're not priced appropriately, you may not even know how much business is actually being lost.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:
-- Online consumers more often than not buy based on price or at least are very price sensitive. That's why they're using a CSE to begin with.
-- Since more and more shoppers are flocking to CSEs, retailers can reach an entirely new customer base.
-- Consumers check out retailers having the best prices.
-- People who use CSEs are buyers more than browsers, making them some of the best visitors to your site.
-- CSEs are an equalizer -- eCommerce merchants of all sizes can place themselves in the same playing field as the big retailers such as Target, Sears, WalMart. etc.
If you price competitively, CSEs will lead consumers to your website.