Get the most out of your CSE efforts

November 1, 2007

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

As click costs rise, the number of comparison shopping engines grow and existing players continue to refine their feed specs, category offerings and site features, where should you direct your attention as a retailer?

InternetRetailer’s got a great write-up, breaking down how to build a winning CSE strategy in 12 steps.  Bonus: quotes from Mr Wingo himself and eBags, a ChannelAdvisor client.

Some choice excerpts:

While platforms such as ChannelAdvisor’s
provide one answer, merchants who have their hands full keeping on top
of feeds with or without outside help might easily be tempted to ignore
new feed specs that an engine labels as “optional.” But they do so at
their own risk. “Any new thing the engines do, they call optional
because they want everything to be backwards-compatible,” Wingo says.
But, imagine that a new option is showing shoppers shipping costs by
ZIP code. If a consumer enters a ZIP code and wants to see shipping
costs, but the retailer has opted out of providing that information,
the retailer won’t show up in those results.

As an example, Wingo says one of the
shopping engines producing the highest conversion rates for merchants
using ChannelAdvisor’s services is a very small comparison engine for
hand tools on BobVila.com. “It is such a great match between audience
and product set that the conversion rates are huge,” he says. “It’s not
a top-25 shopping engine, but it drives more qualified leads and sales
than you would on a PriceGrabber or one of the others.”

It’s just one of the many options that
merchants need to keep in view in understanding that comparison
shopping engines aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition, and in
seeking to keep their programs matched up with the fast-changing
environment. “Without changing your strategy, if you look at it on the
surface, comparison shopping engines are getting more expensive, just
like paid search,” says Wingo. “We work with retailers to tweak their
strategy and find ways to fight that inflation. There is a lot you can
do now with optimization.”

Written by Scott Hurff — scott.hurff at channeladvisor