The secret to growing ecommerce sales is sought after by many ecommerce business and online merchants. There is no one formula that solves this challenge; but there are several strategies you can utilize to start tilting the needle in the direction of growth for your business.
In this article, I will talk about one of such strategies, as you might have guessed already, it’s leveraging on comparison shopping engines to boost your ecommerce sales.
What are comparison shopping engines?
Before we go any further, we first have to understand what comparison shopping engines are and how they work. Comparison shopping engines, sometimes called price comparison websites are search engines that focus on a specific segment of online content (Vertical search engine). Unlike general search engines such as Google and Bing, shopping engines offer only retail or ecommerce information.
Comparison shopping engines aggregate and structure information about products and this makes it easier for potential buyers to make purchase decisions. The information includes but not limited to, price, dimensions, weight, color, discounts, shipping details and quantity.
Shopping engines aggregate product information through the use of product feeds. A product feed also known as a data feed is a file that stores all the information about your products and makes it easy for comparison shopping engines to get details about your product listings. Your data feed/product feed can be in excel, .txt, .csv or .xml format.
To get your products onto comparison shopping engines, you must first create a product/data feed.
How do comparison shopping engines work?
Comparison shopping engines utilize a product feed to populate product details. The product feed is the language of shopping engines without it comparison engines will not understand your product details.
Shopping engines accept product feeds in a specific structure called product feed specification. Before you create a feed verify that your feed is in the right format specified by the shopping engine platform.
This will allow the comparison shopping engine to display information about your products in the right structure.
Find Google shopping product feed specification here.
Typical information required in product feeds includes
- Product Id
- Product name/title
- Product description
- Image location
After uploading your feed with the right specifications and format, the shopping engine will then display your products to their visitors. You will then be charged when visitors click on your products while been redirected to the product page on your website.
Listing your products on multiple comparison shopping engines means you will have to create multiple data feeds that meet the specifications of each shopping engine platform. You will also have to periodically update your data feed with changes to your inventory. Doing this manually can be tedious; that’s where RetailTower to the rescue!
RetailTower is a product feed generator that can help you list your products on multiple shopping engines while updating your feed with inventory changes everyday. With RetailTower, you don’t have to worry about data feed/product feed specifications, RetailTower handles everything from feed creation to feed submission. Try it for free here.
Boosting sales with shopping engines
Shopping engines are a great way of putting your products in front of many eyeballs. Listing your products on shopping engines will help drive a lot of traffic to your website. Comparison shopping engines offer you the opportunity to showcase your brand to a new audience and can be a great channel for prospecting.
To fully maximize shopping engines make sure you have checked off various items in the checklist below:
- Make sure your product feed meets the requirements of the shopping engine(s)
- Use SEO optimized product titles and descriptions.
- Write product descriptions that extensively highlights product qualities and features.
- Make sure your product images are clear and do not contain third party water marks.
- Include multiple images showing different angles of your products.
- Include seasonal deals and offers to make your products look appealing when compared to other products.
- Include product/seller reviews to boost buyer confidence.
- Include shipping information and a returns policy on your website.
- Make sure to update your feed when some of your products go out of stock.
Comparison shopping engines will help your business show up for multiple search queries on search engines. You can also use the analytic information from comparison shopping engines to plan and execute your SEO and paid marketing campaigns. Promote products with higher search volume and conversions to increase potential sales.
There are many comparison shopping engines each with its strengths and weaknesses, you will find my top five picks in the bonus section. One of the most popular shopping engine in the Retail and ecommerce industry is Google shopping. Let’s go through how we can list products on Google shopping.
Listing Products on Google Shopping
To list your products on Google shopping, you will first need to sign up for Google merchant center. After that, you will then have to create your feed and submit it to your Google merchant center account.
Creating a merchant center account is free, if you don’t have one click here to create your Google merchant center account. After signup click on products in the left menu then click on feeds.
Next, click on the blue plus sign to add a new feed. Follow the steps to add details to your feed.
Select the language and target country for your feed
Give your feed a name and select the type of feed source. Select scheduled fetch, this will allow Google to get updates made to your feed periodically based on your scheduled fetch setting.
Name your feed file, you can use export.txt. Next select how frequent you want your feed to be updated. I recommend selecting daily, choose the time you want this happen and remember to set your time zone.
Leave the username and password fields blank, unless you want to password protect your feed. The most important field in this step is the FILE URL. This is where RetailTower comes in, RetailTower can help you easily create a feed with your website/store products, host it so Google can periodically check it for updates. RetailTower also checks your store inventory daily to update your feed with any changes such as out of stock and product quantity. The best thing about RetailTower is that, the product feed generated meets all the requirements of Google shopping.
Don’t close this window, we will come back to it when we generate the feed url. Now let’s take a look at how you can generate a data feed with RetailTower.
Generating a product feed with RetailTower
To get started, simply signup/install RetailTower. If you sell using Shopify, then you can install RetailTower here. If you sell using other platforms such as Bigcommerce you can sign up for RetailTower here.
After signing up all you need to do is click on the “create your first feed” button to get started.
The next step is to select the channel you want to list your products on. RetailTower provides 30+ channels you can list your products on and creating a product feed for all these channels is simple and easy.
Go ahead and select Google from the channels list making sure you select the right Google shopping channel for your target country.
Categorize your store categories using the in-built category recommendation engine. All the categories presented by RetailTower meets Google’s category specifications.
If you have a tonne of products and may require help categorizing all your products, help is just a click away. You can always request for assisted setup and a feed expert will work with you to set it up.
Just click on the “Get done in seconds” button to complete your request and a feed expert will contact you shortly.
After categorization, you can then create the feed with all your products or specific products. Click on the button to create the feed.
In the next page, copy the feed url and paste it in the the FILE URL field in your Google merchant center.
Paste the feed link in the file URL box in the Google merchant center, under step 3. Click continue to complete the setup.
The feed will show up in your dashboard after completing the setup and you can access it in the feeds section under products.
After setting up your feed you can then create a Google shopping campaign with your product feed. Your products will then show up in Google Shopping and Google search for certain search queries depending on the titles and descriptions of your products.
There are several comparison shopping engines that can enable you have access to a huge and ready market. Some of these Shopping engines like Google shopping will require you to make payments based on clicks or impressions.
Bonus Section: Top 5 Comparison Shopping Engines
Google shopping is the most popular comparison engine in the retail & ecommerce space. Products submitted to Google shopping will also be shown to potential buyers on Google search through a Google shopping campaign.
This comparison shopping engine is one of the oldest hence it has a lot product listings which means higher competition. Nevertheless, it attracts a lot visitors due to its wide range of product listings and can be a great place for attracting potential buyers.
Nextag started as a website the enabled the buying and selling of computers and electronic products. Nextag changed to focus on comparison shopping in the year 2000. It has since grown to become a great place for listing products. Its historical price tracking functionality appeals to customers and attracts a million visitors each month.
PriceGrabber was founded in 1999 and attracts a lot of potential buyers. You get the added value of getting your products on Yahoo shopping when you list your products on PriceGrabber. Listing products on PriceGrabber appeals to a lot of sellers due to its market research and report tool that allows sellers to get consumer insights such as buying and pricing trends.
eBay Commerce Network formerly known as shoping.com is used by retailers to promote their products using CPC. It offers multi-level bidding based on product categories. It’s one of the comparison shopping engines that gets a lot of traffic.
Now go ahead and maximize the power of shopping engines and increase your sales. If you need help setting up on any comparison shopping engine you can sign up on RetailTower to get it done in a couple of clicks.