Continuing my praise for shopping engines which are helping consumers find deals, while Pronto doesn’t have the cute ‘X% off’ stars that you can find on Become or PriceGrabber, they do have a handy dandy tab which allows you to quickly filter by all Sale items. That’s the beauty of accepting a ‘Sale Price’ from merchants through the data feed. Nice to see almost all the shopping engines now pushing Sales/Deals in various ways.
Note to merchants: Fill in the Sale Price field in your data feed!
Note to Google Product Search: Add a Sale Price field!
Here’s a search for Mirrored Armoire on Pronto. That On Sale tab sticks out nicely!
This holiday shopping season is going to be rough. Deals/Sales/Cashback/Special Offers are all going to be key. If you’re a product manager at shopping engine X, ask yourself what you’re doing to promote savings. As I said in a post at the beginning of the year:
Unfortunately, the shopping engines have fought for years to be known as more than just price comparison engines. Reviews! Search! Cash back! Social shopping! Mobile! Safe shopping! Green! Well, all those things are nice and should be part of a strategy, but right now, this is the perfect opportunity for the shopping engines to step up their marketing efforts (or at least run some bold tests) highlighting the fact that they save consumers money.
Note: If you read the full post from the beginning of the year, take a look at Pronto’s current home page which emphasizes SAVINGS (best prices) vs. product discovery.
Once upon a time I owned http://www.paypalshopping.com. I’m not going to get into specifics of how or why I acquired the domain. Not important or relevant to this discussion. What you need to know is that about a year ago, I gave this URL to PayPal.
And sadly, they’re just redirecting it to www.paypal-shopping.com, which is a pretty crummy site.
As I hate to see a good thing go to waste, here are some ideas for PayPal:
-Redirect the URL to http://paypal.thefind.com/, which searches only PayPal stores. And then let them have some lattitude to test/track. TheFind has done a solid job on Bill Me Later Shopping. [Note to TheFind: the terms of service on BML Shopping still refer to Become.com]
-Give the URL to Shopping.com and tell them to do the same thing TheFind is doing with paypal.thefind.com. Less stores, but at least you’ll keep it in the family. And Shopping.com is making all their merchants switch to PayPal for billing, so you already know their merchants have accounts with PayPal.
-Give the URL to Shopping.com and tell them to create an Epinions clone (as they have at PriceTool).
-Jump on the Cashback bandwagon (Bing!) and copy paypalshopping.co.uk, which redirects to PayPal Offers.
-Just in time for the holiday shopping season, create an awesome coupon site and list offers from all your merchants.
-Give the site to a super affiliate like David Lewis who knows coupons and cashback and let him optimize the site.
-Give the site back to me.
As I said yesterday, in my post about getting ready for the holiday shopping season, I noticed changes not just @ PriceGrabber, but also @ Shopping.com. I’ll blog about it myself as well, but CSE Strategies also picked up on the changes. Here’s their coverage.
The shopping engines always change little things around, but it looks like they’ve all made (or are currently testing) some bigger UI changes the last couple weeks (ok, some of these are months old!) in preparation for the holiday shopping season. Most notably, I’ve seen changes on PriceGrabber and Shopping.com. I’ll highlight a couple PriceGrabber changes in this post and hit on SDC changes in another post.
1. Highlighting merchants on the search results pages. As opposed to having to click through to compare prices, consumers can now see the 3 lowest prices available (assuming there are three offers available). ShopWiki used to to the same exact thing, but actually changed their format since last I looked carefully. Merchants should definitely be aware of this change and monitor their results closely. From PriceGrabber’s perspective, I’m sure it’s a great way to increase # of clicks, but that doesn’ t mean the consumers clicking are more targeted than they would have been clicking from a compare prices page. Screenshots:
2. Highlighting more merchants on the search results page. Not only is PriceGrabber pushing merchants directly from the search results page on the right hand side, btu you can also mouse over a link that says ‘x sellers’ where x represents the number of sellers who offer the product and see a couple offers through a pop up without having to click through to the compare prices page.
3. Highlighting that consumers can SAVE MONEY. Pretty much an exact duplicate of what Become.com implemented a couple months ago, PriceGrabber now highlights % off numbers for consumers with a little red button on top of a product image.
4. Continuing the advertising theme from earlier today, PriceGrabber is now giving premium real estate to text advertisements on the compare prices page, right below the product description and above the merchant listings. In most of my clicking around, I found the same ad for AT&T. The ad seems to be completely unrelated to whatever product page you’re on, but it’s sorta subtle, so I guess no one is complaining.
5. I can’t figure out how to spawn these pop ups (they might just show up after a set amount of time), but PriceGrabber has added price alert pop ups to the compare prices page. I LOVE these ads…and yes, they are ads as they are ‘sponsored’ by an advertiser and include Google AdSense links. Brilliant way to generate some more page views and therefore more revenue. BUT, more importantly from a pure marketer’s perspective, I’ve always said that an in-house email list is like platinum because these are people who have at least expressed interest in your product/service and therefore are inclined to receive information from you. You’ll notice that PriceGrabber is also opting in all those who sign up for a price alert for the PriceGrabber newsletter. Nice!
Ok, there are many more changes, but those are some of the bigger UI ones that stand out.
All the shopping engines these days are loaded with ads – banners, buttons, and sponsorships.
And why not? If the shopping engines are getting 10-20M+ uniques per month, they should take advantage of that traffic and monetize their page views as much as possible, assuming that they are still providing a positive experience for the merchants listing products.
Shopzilla added banner ads to their pages last year and for the first time (I think), is pimping out its homepage for Walmart for back to school:
Become sent out a nice kit today discussing their sponsorship opportunities, many of which were big display media ads, but still inexpensive enough for the average merchant to take advantage of.
All the shopping engines have pushed credit card companies on the product pages and this year is no different, with PriceGrabber leading the charge with ads from Visa:
Words of caution for the average merchant interested in these sponsorships for Q4: track, track, track. And think of some of these opportunities as a branding exercise. Most of these ads are not sold on a PPC basis, but rather CPM. You might get some clicks, but I think that it’s more about getting your brand out there. This might have a side effect of boosting the click through rate (CTR) of your product listings on the shopping engines, but don’t count on it.
For years I’ve wanted to bring the shopping engines and merchants closer together. This new Yahoo! Group is an attempt to do just that: get the decision makers – big and small, merchant or shopping engine – in the same (virtual) room to discuss the most important topics, best practices, network, help each other out, and more.
This group will be moderated and access restricted to those who are serious about learning and helping others. This is not a group about selling your wares.
Sign up now by going to the Yahoo! Group today.