Wednesday, 6 January 2010

UK Comparison Shopping Site Rankings Dec 09

Happy new year to all the Onefeed blog readers. I hope the Christmas period was profitable. As I see no major casualties as yet so l can assume that those that were struggling have now closed down. I hope Christmas was as busy for you as it was for our merchants with loads of records broken all over the place. Strangely January this year has been way bigger than I expected, even bigger than the few weeks leading up to Christmas. I can only assume that all those that are 'snowed in' are 'bored browsing' the shopping sites for some great post festive deals.

I have decided to do a monthly chart of the performance of our merchants on the shopping sites. I am going to be as honest and open as possible so the shopping sites can gauge their own levels of performance as well as give them the overviews of what their competitors are doing. I hope that these tables will add a little meat to the bones of performance figures that I have been eluding to for the past few months. This is not to be taken verbatim on the performance to expect, but merely a trend graph to show how our top 25 merchants are doing. We now have over 70 UK merchants and as such we have quite a lot of sales specific data of how well our merchants perform on the shopping engines. It would of course be highly unethical to show this sales data in any merchant specific format so I have decided on a ranking system based on a number of stipulations and methodologies as follows –

• Merchants must appear on 4 or more shopping sites within the course of a calendar month. In this case, Dec 09 in order to have their figures to be included in these charts.
• Shopping sites must have at least 4 active Onefeed merchants to have their results displayed in the charts.
• All site’s performance figures are based on a descending integer ranking (1 for the best performance).
• 4 categories of performance – sales revenue / clicks / cost of sale / conversion rate.
• Overall performance results are the average figure of the scores for each merchant. (If Google base has 4 rankings of 2,3,4,5 the average is 3.5)
• The chart figures are calculated by taking the average figure away from 10. This is purely for illustrative purposes as people respond better to higher figures than smaller. For example if a shopping sites average ranking is 3.5 (as above) the table figure is 6.5
• Where there is no CPC charge for traffic the site is not included in the ranking process for cost of sale related ranks.

Sales Revenue
This is probably the most important chart for many merchants; however the real figure that matters is the cost of sale. The table below shows that GoogleBase is the leader of sales revenue for our merchants. If I had done this report 2 years ago it would not have been the case. It just goes to show the importance of GoogleBase for UK merchants and why everyone should have an optimised feed. Furthermore it’s free!



Click Volume
As can be seen below there are no real surprises that Googlebase is again at the top. In actual fact there aren’t any real surprises anywhere for me. Kelkoo definitely has a large content distribution network, which, as will be shown later, doesn’t quite do as well as you might hope. Overall if you are hungry for clicks, look no further than Kelkoo.



Cost of Sale
As shown above Kelkoo’s high click volume hasn’t converted very well and as such they are bottom of all the CPC based sites. The one surprise here is the rank of Pricegrabber. This was always a site that prided itself on a quality conversion rate. I fear that they are also suffering from a bad stack of 3rd party content distribution sites. They used to be head and shoulders above the competition, but as can be seen by their lowly rank things could do better.



Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is always one of the major metrics that merchants use to gauge their success. As can be seen below, the merchant with the most clicks has the worst conversion rate. Click volume is of huge importance and is something that shopping sites use as their benchmark currency. Merchants should be aware that loads of clicks do not always mean a profitable exercise.




Conclusions
The main conclusion to be drawn from this report is that merchants must be very wary of those sites that give them the most traffic as this traffic comes at a price. I would be surprised if many of our merchants made any significant profit from their activities with Kelkoo. In their defence they did produce the 3rd rank of sales revenue and second in CPC based sites. This clearly highlights that the sales are there, it just needs to be worked on. Furthermore this also highlights the necessity for merchants to actively track the traffic that the shopping sites are sending through. As this is just a single month this leaves a lot of room for change in January. Let’s see next month’s chart changes.


The results above are those of our merchants and should not be considered representative of the market as a whole. This is only a very small snapshot of the overall market and other merchants may see a considerable difference in their own performance.


I have also created a couple of other graphs for this data.

Clicks (bar) vs Conversion (line)





Revenue (bar) vs Cost of Sale (line)

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