Getting Started with E-commerce Search Best Practices Using Magento
Most merchants are familiar with Google organic search results, AdWords and perhaps even the Google Product search. However, there are many other channels for promoting your products. Product search sites offer customers an easy way to find products and compare merchants. Merchants who use e-commerce search best practices are typically able to add incremental sales at costs far below Google AdWords cost. In this post we’ll review some of the top product search sites. We’ll also discuss how a merchant can best begin to use these options in Magento.
First, let’s define what a product shopping search site is. What differentiates these sites is that they’ll take a product feed from your site, and make the listing available to the public. Potential customers who are actively looking to buy products will go to one of these sites, PriceGrabber for example, and type in a product or category. The engine returns the best product matches and links to the stores (your store!) to purchase. The merchant usually pays a small fee per click.
The merchant (you) submit your products generally through a feed file or via a web service. You’ll want the feed to be automated, and the feed will need to be formatted per the product search engine’s specifications. There are both extensions and services that can do the complex work of taking your Magento data and submitting it in the required format. More on the options below.
These search engines offer a variety of tools for the merchant to target their ads, budget and report. All of these toolsand services can be integrated with Magento CE or EE.
Let’s Take a Look at Some of the Top Players
Google Shopping – Formerly known as Google Product Search, Google Products and Froogle, this is (no surprise!) the 800-pound gorilla. Products matching the search terms show up not only in the Google Shopping site, but also in Google’s organic search results. Merchants must bid on the click through, although it can be quite modest depending on how much competition there is in your industry. Try searching for your top products. If you don’t see many competitors, bid small. Learn more about Google Shoppinghere.
Bing Product Ads – With only one quarter as much traffic as Google, many merchants can’t be bothered with Bing. That’s too bad because the cost of traffic is usually substantially less at Bing Shopping. Ads are shown in organic results — there is not a separate product search engine. Formerly known as Shopping.com, MSN Shopping, Live Search Products and Windows Live Product Search.
Shopzilla – They’ve been around for more than a decade, haven’t changed their name, and are still an excellent product search site. A smaller name, but still an excellent choice if you’re looking for more options to maximize your e-commerce search best practices.
Pricegrabber– This has been one of our favorites for years. It allows retailers to bid, target the kind of site your products appear in, and has extensive reporting.
And More – There are about 17 product search sites that we know about, many of which can enhance your e-commerce search best practices:
So you like the idea of listing your products on more sites, but are wondering how to get them there — and how to keep them updated. We have some good news: it’s actually pretty simple. There are a number of free and low-cost extensions that will do the work for you. There are also services that can help get your products into many sites without lots of effort. Here are a few examples:
Data Feed Manager from Wyomind ($145)Works with dozens of product shopping and marketplace sites. More complex, but can be modified to work with the largest variety of sites. Dynamic CreativeThey have an extension that integrates with Magento. This does more than feed products into Google; it also supports Adwords campaigns and remarketing on Google.
GoDataFeed (from $59/mo)Integrates with over 100 product shopping search sites and marketplaces. They have a free extension for Magento.
Where to Start?
With so many choices, we suggest keeping it simple and starting with Google Shopping. Install an extension (Product Feed from Amasty or Google Shopping Feed from RocketWeb), set up an account with Google, submit your products, and monitor your results (for example, use Google Analytics with the e-commerce option enabled). If it’s working for you, then you can expand by adding more extensions or using a service like GoDataFeed. But DO START! It only takes a couple hours to set up. You’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that you are utilizing e-commerce search best practices AND (most importantly) you’re and likely to SELL MORE!
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