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Expert Advice
For Success in Ecommerce
Our team of Ecommerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
 
Google Shopping, Twenga, Kelkoo, Ciao, Nextag, pricesavvy…here are a couple of names that should come to mind when you hear the term price comparison sites or comparison shopping engines. And these are just a few of the hundreds of sites out there offering to help you boost your turnover and attract visitors to your E-Commerce website.

In this expert advice we’ll give you the keys for success on price comparison sites, outline how to distribute your catalogue information and take advantage of a valuable source of traffic!
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. Prepare your catalogue’s basic information carefully to ensure good exposure for your products on price comparison sites.
2. Choose several price comparison sites, general or specialised, in order to guarantee an increase in traffic to your site.
3. Use tools that allow you to automate pushing your catalogue and retrieving information from the price comparison sites.
4. Don’t ever lose sight of your performance metrics: the number of clicks, conversion rate, cost per click, average acquisition cost etc.
5. Prepare for new customers by setting up a loyalty program using up/cross-selling which will increase your customers’ average shopping cart over the long-term.
6. Don’t hesitate to test Google Shopping to ensure even more visibility.

Price Comparison Sites: increase your sales by up to 30%

01 What is a price comparison site? Why do they exist? Why is being present on price comparison sites important for my Ecommerce website?
Follow shoppers’ natural behaviour
As the name implies, the goal of price comparison sites is to allow online shoppers to compare the price of a given product on different sites. Whether shoppers are really looking for the lowest price available or just trying to find an item, a great many online shoppers check price comparison sites when searching, which makes them an important element to take into consideration when considering your marketing strategies.
On the business side of things, as these sites are of course looking to make their own profit, they rely on e-tailers like yourself to make their profit. You pay for the number of clicks or conversion that the price comparison site brings you. The CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per acquisition) are the two main models out there today. Some site are general while others are specialised, but they all want to insert themselves between you and the customer. And this is where the opportunity to boost your turnover comes in!

Why be present?
While making your products (or some of them) available on price comparison sites is important, this is because they are a source of highly qualified traffic: almost all visitors to price comparison sites are actively looking for specific products with the intent to buy.
The second reason you should post your product on price comparison sites is more technical. In general these sites have worked on their SEO and it’s rare that they aren’t in the top results for a given search (i.e. product name, “best price,” buy, etc.). This is then an indirect way for you to benefit from their visibility while waiting to get your site to the first page of Google.

Finally, some of these sites have become brands in their own right and have gathered a loyal following. Being present brings your brand visibility and traffic, which will help your brand’s reputation in the long-term and allow you to work on your own site’s brand image.

An important staple to a multichannel E-Commerce business
We’ve discussed the importance of omnichannel ecommerce previously. Your traffic and buyers come from different sources, managing all of these smoothly is the challenge you must meet for success. Price comparison sites are part of this strategy and for some of our 10,500 e-tailers at Actinic they make up close to 30% of their sales.

"15% of our turnover comes from price comparison sites." Wattshop - Philippe Royer
How much will it cost me?
Different sites use different models. The most common is PPC (pay per click) which means that just like a Google AdWords ad you tell the comparison site how much you are willing to pay per click. The order of merchants for the product in question are then set according to the keyword bidding.

The cost per click can vary from a couple of cents to several pounds. But like every campaign, our E-Commerce experts cannot emphasise one point strongly enough: the necessity of being aware of your PPC budget and following your conversion rate closely!



Will it be difficult?
In order to offer your products on price comparison sites there a couple of things you have to do: make sure all of your catalogue information is well-organised and neat, choose which products you want to push on these sites, send them information, make sure they are regularly updated, follow their bidding position, adjust your bidding if necessary, optimise your campaigns and remove the items that aren’t doing well and keep an eye on your metrics for each of the price comparison sites you decide to offer your products on.

Luckily there are all-in-one solutions that exist that enable you to do all of this in just a few clicks, for example Actinic’s SmartFeeds feature which allows you to manage your campaigns from a centralised back office. This feature allows you to quickly integrate your catalogues into numerous price comparison sites, configure automatic sending and updating, analyse the ROI of each of the sites in question and optimise each campaign.
02 Posting your items on price comparison sites could increase your turnover up to 30%!
Which sites should you use?
Faced with the hundreds of price comparison sites out there, you don’t need to be present on all of them. Make your decisions according to results obtained and according to your field as price comparison sites are not all the same and not all of them work for all products. It’s important to consider your goals and what criteria you want to emphasise: click volume, turnover generated per click or conversion rate.

Finally, there’s no secret: you have to constantly test what works (this is the best way to gain real knowledge and an advantage compared to your competitors) to focus your marketing budget on the sites that deliver the best results according to acquisition costs and the profits they bring you.
Choose which products you want to feature
There are different strategies for price comparison campaigns. You can choose to offer your entire catalogue on these sites or target a few specific products or specific periods of the year (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s or Father’s Day etc.)

Nothing can replace tests, and there are two ways to get started with price comparison sites:

> Post your entire catalogue to a general price comparison site , with a comfortable budget to be able to ensure a strong presence during 2-4 weeks then analyse your performance per category and per product. Then you can work to optimise your best campaigns and delete those with disappointing results.

> OR, select a few products you want to highlight for a while in order to boost your sales, acquire new customers (for example if you have a category of products that are bought by a large percentage of your loyal customers then you don’t need to feature them) and highlight special offers so that you’ll be well-ranked on the price comparison site.

The best way if you’ve never used price comparison sites if probably to test both strategies. Start by posting a few products on 1 or 2 comparison sites. Choose for example your bestsellers or products that you want to unload quickly. Start with a 15-day campaign and analyse your metrics at the end. A little later, try a more intense campaign over a couple of days with most of (or your entire) catalogue. Here again, analyse the results of the tests. This should give you some interesting trends!
"17% of our sales come from price comparison sites where we regularly post our bestsellers." Flavian Quibel, Robot Shop 35
Organise your catalogue and automate your product push
This is another approach you can test. Not all of the same products will necessarily do well on each of the comparison sites you decide to use as each one has a different order and vary from their competitors. This means you should streamline which products you offer where.

On the other hand, you must provide basic information to all price comparison sites, for example reference number, EAN code, product category, brand, description (avoid duplicate content), the URL for images (several images is better), the URL for the product page on your site, a discount amount, the selling price, availability info, shipping delays, shipping fees…In a word everything you need for a successful product page in E-Commerce!

> Post your products on several price comparison sites, in the UK and abroad
> Retrieve your order sources easily for your sales metrics
> Analyse your campaigns’ ROI in real-time and optimise the costs of each product on each comparison site
Keep a close eye on your results
As you probably know by now, here at Actinic we strongly advocate e-tailers follow their metrics! As for all of your marketing campaigns that require a budget, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your ROI. This is the only way to set things right when your performance isn’t up to what you’d like it to be and you’ll know when you need to invest more in a particular product or comparison site or when you’re very satisfied with a campaign.

Watch your figures, acquisition costs and average shopping cart for each site you’ve posted your products to.
"Posting my catalogue to the Le Guide price comparison site was particularly profitable for my online shop: for every euro I invested I turned over five euros and this channel now makes up 18% of my sales!" Jean-Pierre Montolieu – Affaire de Sac
03 Pro tips for making the most profit possible on price comparison sites
If you are already following the advice we’ve outlined so far then you should quickly see results on your turnover! However you know that we like to share the best practice of our 10,500 e-tailers and help you boost your revenue even more. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind to really outperform your competitors. "Thanks to Actinic’s tools for managing price comparison sites we can adjust all of our offers and this way make 10% of our total sales on Google Shopping and Le Guide!" Philippe DAVID, Rasoir Online
The importance of shipping!
As your probably already know, price is one of the aspects visitors to price comparison sites look at the most! Even if your product is not the cheapest (which should not be your systematic goal anyway) you can always play the shipping card and lower fees or offer free shipping to get to the top position.
Test this strategy for a few products. Offer free shipping and monitor the impact on your campaigns. Sometimes this little difference on the overall price (product +shipping) can change everything and improve your efficiency on these sites.

Appear well in bidding results...
As with all businesses price comparison sites tend to favour sites who pay them the most. But things change and there are other criteria taken into account today as well: click frequency, click volume, the quality of sites linked to, information provided…Competition between price comparison sites is strong and each one tries to provide their visitors with the most relevant results so as not to frustrate them. Try to work on all of this criteria instead of just focussing on your price position.
Use Google Shopping!
While not new to the game, Google Shopping remains less consulted than other price comparison sites. This means that you can guarantee a significant presence with less competition. This has the advantage of drawing strong traffic right from your first campaigns.
"Thanks to the Actinic experts’ optimisations Google Shopping has become an important development tool for my E-Commerce website. This price comparison site brings 30% of my traffic and 30% of my total turnover!" Robert Hernandez – Medical-Hygiène
Take advantage of our Price Comparison Export service with Actinic experts.
Our experts help you set up the export of your products to price comparison sites and give you advice during a distance training session:

> Analysis of your catalogue (mapping, respecting comparison site requirements)
> Help setting up a customer account
> Activating the export of your catalogue to Google Shopping
> Personal training to help you set up the export to another price comparison site

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Cross-selling and up-selling
You now have items on price comparison sites and you want to start trying to attract new customers. A good way to make your acquisition costs profitable is to increase your customers’ average shopping cart, for example by pushing other products when they’re making their purchases. In your Actinic back office you can do this in a couple of clicks by clicking on Up/Cross-Selling and adding related items.

The beginning of loyalty?
This piece of advice is linked to the previous one. For visitors coming from price comparison sites don’t hesitate to use a special offer to build loyalty as soon as the first purchase. This is an opportunity to make them want to come back to your site for their next order rather than going through the price comparison site (which means risking losing them to a competitors who’s cheaper and have to repay acquisition costs for a customer that should have been acquired!).



Now it’s your turn to act!