Small and mid-sized online merchants who have not experimented with e-tail marketplaces are leaving money on the table. They simply need to find the right marketing channel in this space for their products.
What kind of marketplaces exist? The main channels involve shopping comparison sites like Shopping.com, Shopzilla.com, Pricegrabber.com, Yahoo! Shopping (Shopping.Yahoo.com) and ShoppingNexus.com.
Each of these sites allows retailers to advertise their products and prices, as consumers search for the best deals. One of their main selling points, to both consumers and retailers, is their encrypted security software that protects both the buyer and seller. Another selling point for retailers is that the sites provide qualified leads, while drawing impressive natural or free search traffic (SEO). What's more, the retailers do not have to manage the SEO program themselves. The shopping comparison sites do it for you.
Here is more information about each major shopping comparison site, as well as know-how for retailers that want to get plugged in:
Shopping.com was one of the early pioneers of online comparison shopping. It includes a comprehensive set of products from thousands of retailers.
The site averages 20 million unique monthly visitors and offers search tools, strong navigation setup and relevant content. It entails consumer written product and merchant reviews from the Epinions.com community, that help the consumer make his or her purchase decision.
To get your retail business on the site, type www.shopping.com into the URL box. Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage until you see the, "Join Our Merchant Program," link. Click the link, and then engage in the site's three step process to get products listed.
Shopzilla.com's shopping comparison program lets retailers gain access to a targeted buying audience, while giving them reasonable control over the price they pay for traffic. There are no set - up fees; retailers pay for the clicks directed to their online store.
Retailers can join the site in three steps:
- Scroll to the bottom of www.shopzilla.com and click the, Merchant Listings and Advertising link.
- Open an account and then create a fund by depositing at least $50. The amount will be applied toward cost per click leads that will be compiled during your product listings.
- Submit items through the site's product listing manager.
Through the program, products will be listed at Shopzilla.com, and will also appear at BizRate.com and at AOL's Instore.com.
PriceGrabber.com provides advertisers with the opportunity to reach a self-described "narrower audience." Here is how the site differentiates itself from the competition, in its own words: "Our site attracts computer literate, informed buyers in search of the best deal they can find. PriceGrabber.com offers advertisers the ability to target their message to a specific audience through category specific advertising."
Interested retailers are encouraged at www.pricegrabber.com to send an email to email@example.com. The company asks that retailers include a contact name, company name, phone number and an email address. Then, the firm's advertising staff will contact the retailer.
Yahoo! Shopping should not be confused with Yahoo! Merchant Solutions. The former is a shopping comparison engine and lead generator that is very similar to the examples detailed above, and the latter is an ecommerce service offering.
Interested parties for Yahoo! Shopping should log onto www.shopping.yahoo.com, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the, "Advertise with us," link. From there, they will be encouraged to use the site's Product Submit tool to receive 20 percent off listings.
While traffic at ShoppingNexus.com is not quite as high as some of its competitors, it offers a less crowded alternative that might actually bring in more sales. The site utilizes 20 different categories to help consumers find what they seek.
Unfortunately, the site does not offer a streamlined way for merchants to join its program. In other words, visit www.shoppingnexus.com, fill out the, "contact us," form and wait for the site's reply, in order to get the lowdown on getting products listed.
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