Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Shopzilla Lowers CPC rates in response market conditions

This month saw a reduction in the minimum CPC rate for a large number of categories on the UK shopzilla site. Some might say that these changes were overdue as the rates in some categories were quite a lot more than their competitors.

The recent trend of merchants going bust and / or leaving price comparison has been a little alarming for quite a while now. It is refreshing to see a site lowering rates at a time when such an alarming number of massive merchants going bust. Online marketing is actually one of the few areas that hasn't been too badly affected. Many merchants are still seing double digit growth which is obviously aided by comparison engines.

The major areas for reduction were -

Appliances (average 30% reduction)
Computing (average 20% reduction)
Electronics (average 20% reduction)
Sports (average 20% reduction)

Most notable absentees from the rate reductions were clothing / babies and kids / home and garden. These have traditionally been Shopzilla's strongest areas, so clearly these areas are on par.

Thankfully, for me, Shopzilla still takes a lot of optimisation, which keeps me in work! When done right Shopzilla can work very well, bringing great cost of sale figures and also strong revenues, however when not done well, as with all the other sites, you pay for it. All comparison engines are still getting strong traffic figures, which always needs to be optimised. Optimisation is a key ingredient in a successful campaign.

Let's hope this is just the start of the rate re-adjustment with more to come as the recession bites deeper into our pockets. With such pressure from affiliates (with their no-risk approach) for the marketing spend I hope that the shopping sites win out.


Friday, 13 March 2009

Onefeed launch helps retailers maximize the power of online comparison shopping sites

As the credit crunch bites and shoppers increasingly turn to online comparison shopping sites for the best deal, it is even more important that retailers using these sites understand their complexities and adversities.
Each shopping site has an independent means of operation resulting in great differences between them. It is this operating difference that makes working with all of them time consuming and frustrating and this is where Onefeed, a next generation comparison shopping feed, marketing, optimization and tracking system, comes into play as the problem solver.
The core of the solution can be split into four specific categories; product feed creation; product feed optimization; product level tracking and product level performance optimisation.
Every retailer needs a data feed supplying the products that they want to advertise. The specifics of supplying this information to the shopping engine vary from site to site It is this very difference of supplying the information that often discourages retailers.
Onefeed’s system allows merchants to supply a single product feed file that can then be used to create each shopping site’s feed in the exact format that is required. This in itself alleviates a large hurdle to working with comparison sites which makes Onefeed so appealing.
Onefeed also offers a tracking system that allows merchants to track all the sales that the shopping sites send through. Comparison engines offer a redirect service whereby the products they list on their sites have direct links through to the retailers’ product pages. Every time a shopper clicks on a link from a shopping site a small charge, anything from 5p-70p, is charged.
It is imperative for a comparison site advertiser to know which products they are selling and what sales volumes they are generating from the clicks. Without tracking the clicks and sales it is impossible to know how effective your campaigns are and which sites are cost effective. Most online retailers have had their margins squeezed significantly and therefore cannot support excessive marketing spend. It is this market pressure that makes shopping sites so appealing to shoppers.
Managing Director Richard Wyatt says: ``Onefeed’s ability to identify non-profitable products quickly from campaigns means these products can be removed from the product feed. It cannot be highlighted enough the importance of removing products from the feed if they are not performing.
``There are now over 20 UK comparison sites, so keeping track of all your products across each partner is a difficult task. Onefeed has rule mechanisms that you can use to automatically perform actions on products that do not meet your targets on performance. This in itself means that the necessity for constant scrutiny is alleviated.’’
Richard Wyatt, a former Shopzilla employee , was involved in the startup of the European operation back in 2005 and has experience of both sides of the comparison shopping channel. This experience has made Onefeed into a very important system for retailers to maximize the potential of the comparison shopping sites as well as make their current activities more profitable. Onefeed has launched with a number of major clients, most notably Freemans, Grattan, Oyyy and Appliance City.
More information about the services offered by Onefeed can be found at www.onefeed.co.uk.

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