Shopping Aggregators like Shopzilla, BizRate, Shopping.com and others are considered by many retailers large and small as an evil necessity. CPC (cost per click) campaigns through Google and Yahoo aren’t enough to capture enough of the retailers’ audience, especially when their competition is using shopping aggregators as well.
Over half of online buyers (54%) started their shopping at a shopping search engine or shopping aggregator website while just 46% started at a merchant website through direct navigation.
Most shopping aggregators work on a CPC (cost per click) basis, some like SHOP.com use a CPA (cost per sale) method, acting more as an affiliate. Either type of these programs are considerably expensive to enter so smaller retailers may not be able to budget using more than one or two services concurrently. The added exposure these shopping aggregators provide however is visibly measurable, and it can add to the bottom line of any retailer.
Another consideration when using a shopping aggregator is that they will be competing directly with you in the CPC (cost-per-click) arena for your own market, especially during the busy fourth quarter. Be careful to not inadvertently engage yourself in a bidding war with your own affiliates.
Whatever your decision, to use or not use these services, don’t rush into using a shopping aggregator without fully vesting yourself in understanding their operation, how they drive traffic to your website and how the additional costs will affect your bottom line. Also be wary of companies that maintain ownership or control ownership of the customer data. After all, your investment in acquiring the customer and maintaining that relationship is one of the more important benefits of customer acquisition for any business. You must be able to continue that relationship including future contact unhindered.
Lastly, be wary of a one-size fits all contract, your business may be able to negotiate a reduced percentage or price, declare active/in-active periods during your slower times of the year, or receive a trial period of their service without as many long-term contractual commitments.
Correction: We wrote in an earlier publication of this article that HayNeedle.com was a shopping aggregator, though in our opinion they are, in that they aggregate product results to deliver thousands of products, they are a privately held shopping aggregator or shopping portal that owns its 240 plus themed stores and is not open to outside retailers for product inclusion. Our sincerest apology to HayNeedle.com.