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E-Commerce 2
 In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake merchants make when venturing into the comparison shopping world?

Underestimating the time and resources needed to build successful long term campaigns. CSEs are not like those rotisserie grills that you see advertised on late night TV, in which you can simply “set it and forget it.”

They also tend to overestimate the similarities between comparison shopping and traditional PPC. While the two share certain similarities, there exists many differences between the two, and requires true niche experts within the field to run effective campaigns.

   
 In your opinion, what is the most commonly overlooked feed aspect, that makes the biggest difference with CSE's?

A/B testing! Should you alter your titles and descriptions? Should you implement a price floor and/or price ceiling? Should you run all or some of your inventory?

Data feed management is often times more art than it is science, and different merchants may yield different results–even among those within the same industry–so experimentation is a must. Without A/B testing you’ll never truly know what the right marketing mix is for your products on the CSEs.

 
 In your opinion, what will the comparison shopping-scape look like in the future? Replaced by traditional SE's? Better than ever? Hardly used? More social? Anything?

We believe that as time goes on CSEs are going to be thought of as less of a stand-alone destination and more as part of an integrated buying experience.

As it stands, a consumer making a purchase must first research a product, decide on a make and model, as well as where/how to buy it. We believe that in the future CSEs consolidate the buying process, allowing the consumer to make a decision without having to first visit a stand-alone destination.

Social networking will also have a major impact in comparison shopping, as applications are currently available for people to learn the buying habits of their friends, and receive recommendations via that route. Facebook already has an application that has reached the million user mark that attempts to recommend its users products that they may be interested in.

 
 What goals do you hope to accomplish and where do you see your firm heading in the next 1-3 years?

Hopefully we will stay true to our roots and stay focused on comparison shopping exclusively. Most of our competitors were SEO or PPC agencies that decided to offer a comparison shopping branch to their host of services. As far as I know, we are the only full service firm that focuses exclusively on comparison shopping and I think gives us a competitive advantage.

 
 What is the single best performing comparison shopping engine you currently support? Who earns the most revenue on average for your merchants?

It’s very hard to make a generalization like this. Performances will range considerably for different types of merchants depending on the engines, and each use different metrics to measure “success”, whether it be on profit margins, or total exposure, etc.

That being said, Nextag has been converting pretty well lately.

 
 What made you decide to get into the feed generation or management business originally? How long have you been servicing merchants, vendors and Online sellers?

We entered this market in more one decades at the request of clients that were struggling to get timely data feeds from their IT departments. Since then our services have evolved into full marketing consulting and product optimization services.

 
 What are your specific service specialties? Do you currently provide feed generation, distribution, tracking, management or all of the above?
We provide everything mentioned. From a data perspective we provide enhanced product-level optimization services to help ensure retailers’ products are complete, accurate and properly placed on each shopping engine. These services include automated product-level categorization customized for each shopping engine, harvesting of attributes and keywords, and matching of product identifiers between the product catalogs of a retailer and each shopping engine.
We also provide an option that lets a retailer outsource management of all aspects of their shopping engine activities, from strategic consulting to the management of the legal and financial relationships with the engines. Our services are customized to the unique needs of each client and leverage our unique expertise in this very complex and constantly changing marketing channel.
Our day-to-day management includes analyzing trends for each client and the industry in general and taking action that may include adjusting bids, suppressing products or highlighting promotions. We offer complete transparency in these activities through regular client reviews and detailed reports that drill down to the category, brand, product and order level.
 
 What factors should merchants consider when shopping for a feed generation or management firm?

When shopping for a feed generation or management firm, it’s helpful to look at the type of clients a provider works with to help assure a good fit. For example, a typical client at CI is ranked among the Internet Retailer Top 500 online retailers and is committed to profitably growing sales in this marketing channel. Merchants choose Channel Intelligence because of our unique combination of technology and expertise within this marketing channel. There are many low-cost tools from other vendors that smaller retailers can use, but we pride ourselves on providing excellent service and results to the leading online retailers.

   

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