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Comparison Shopping Sites - Conversion-To-Sales Rate?

3:39 am on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I was wondering for people who have their products listed on comparison shopping sites are your conversion-to-sales rate high? Or do you receive a higher bounce rate from traffic coming from comparison shopping sites?

I never liked the concept of PPC pricing that most comparison shopping sites use. I don't think it's fair for "us" merchants at all. To pay comparison shopping sites for just someone to view one of your listings, but not buy doesn't make sense to me.

An example I like to look at is if I had a brick & mortar shop and I'm advertising a popular comparison shopping company in my storefront window. Basically, each time a potential customer walks through the door I would pay the comparison shopping company for bringing this customer into my store. Then the potential customer leaves; I receive no sales but the comparison shopping company is doing just fine. It almost feels like this should be illegal!

I feel like all comparison shopping sites should only make money if they bring in a sale not just because someone clicks on a link. This way both companies grow at the same pace, and one succeeds due to the other. With PPC pricing, it's like having an anchor dragging you down if you don't produce a high conversion-to-sales rate.

And yes, I can just look at PPC as an advertising expense, but when dealing with a lot of products and low conversion-to-sales rate; to me it looks a lot like stealing! haha...

I tried using a comparison shopping site in the past and after 2 days I was up to $600.00 in PPC charges with maybe a couple of those PPC clicks turning into sales. And by the time they finally turned off my links on all their partner sites (another 2 days) I was over $1K in PPC with nothing to show for it in sales...

7:07 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Those with big budgets won't agree, but I DO.

I'd started a site on adWords, got it up to $35/day, which is a fair chunk of change for a micro-business. We started experimenting with one of the big name comparison sites.

It took me two days to do the math, and from the experience with adWords, get a fair view of what it's potential for return would be. The other beef I had was for the amount of money they wanted, the GUI and overall program was extremely poor and had a severe potential for fraud and negative impact on reputation. It was far too brutal for this client to bear.

As for fairness and "should be illegal", I don't think that really enters into the equation. The adage is "if you can't play with the big dogs, get back on the porch . . . " and this client couldn't. A comparison (pun intended) would be we'd love to have a 30 second spot in the Superbowl - yeah, RIGHT!

Even so, having that Superbowl slot wouldn't guarantee I'm going to buy your beer. :-)
8:57 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I wish I could play with the big dogs, but for now this dog is taking some r&r on the porch...haha.

You're right if I had a big budget this PPC pricing wouldn't sting me as much as it does now...one day!

11:15 am on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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They can and do work but you need to be careful. Think about it - it's just the same as adwords really - you are taking as much of a punt with that.

Difference is porbably you only PPC advertise those high converting products, and of course you have a bit more control over the ad copy etc.

I bet your comparison site experience invloved giving them a full product feed - a better approach would be to distill that down to the converting products, or the higher margin ones - which is essentially how you probably tweak your PPC campaigns - see what isn't working and drop those.

Having said that we have stopped all but one of our comparison site listings - more because of the principle that we disagree with their Christmas price hikes than anything else, but they have remained off - we can see a small hole in turnover, but not neccessarily in profit of course!
2:47 pm on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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That's a good idea, I never thought about trying that before.

I did upload my full catalog to the comparison shopping site, but the 2nd time I decide to try them again I will definitely cut my data feed down to my high converting products only.

4:28 am on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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why should comparison site take the risk for your bad usability, design, etc.?
they send the traffic and you are supposed to convert it.
if you did your job and your site converts like crazy - you certainly pay less for CPC than you'd be paying for CPA.
on the other hand, if your site is crap and people simply do not want to buy from it - you certainly pay more for CPC than you'd be paying for CPA.
but hey, who'd like to send you free traffic if it helps nobody? just think of targetted adwords traffic.

I am sure, soon some comparison sites will come to best merchants and will ask them to work on CPA basis.
6:55 pm on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Used to use them. Terrible conversions, but lots of clicks. Many things you can do to elicit a click that may not be someone who wants to buy, think research on human behavior.

Cancelled them all years ago and never went back.

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