The importance of the shopping comparison market is growing, as these sites can generate millions of pounds for retailers. So let’s take a look at what you need to consider when creating your product feeds.

First, the big numbers. Shopping comparison engines made between £120m and £140m in UK revenue in 2005. In some sectors, such as consumer electronics, they can drive more than 30% of sales.

It is therefore hugely important to optimise your feed…

Merchants need to monitor ROI from comparison sites to find out what is working and what is not working. If you’re having problems, then it could be because your feeds aren’t doing the business. It is important to gain an understanding of the factors which might be leading to successful or unsuccessful returns for particular products or categories.

To this end, our friends at Kelkoo have produced some useful tips on producing feeds for its shopping comparison engine, which may help you increase visibility and converting referred prospects to customers. These tips are valid for all product feeds, so listen up!

  • Offers must be deep-linked to the actual product on your site

    This is a common mistake made by merchants – the key here is to make it as easy as possible for the consumer to buy a product or service. Don’t link to your home page, as this will deter many potential customers from a purchase. You should also make sure that there aren’t any issues with your landing page or website which are causing low conversion rates.
  • Ensure the correct URL and hyperlinks are used

    Like the tip above, consumers will become frustrated when they have been sent to an incorrect product or if the hyperlink is broken, and in many cases will just choose another merchant.
  • Include delivery costs, stock availability and timings
    This information is important for consumers to be able to compare different offers, It will increase your chances of conversions by making sure  that this information is available to view via the comparison site, and not making customers hunt through your website for this information.
  • Images must relate to the product on offer

    Many consumers will rely on the product image as much as the associated information to help make a decision. It also appears more professional when the correct image is displayed in a listing. Do not use an advert or company logo, as consumers are put off by these tactics.
  • Include product name, colour, model number and other details in the title

    Think about how a consumer would search for the product and make sure you have the relevant keywords in the product title. Also, different comparison engines will often have different ways of classifying products, so it is important to be aware of this.

Further reading:

Shopping Comparison Engines Buyer’s Guide 2006

Shopping Comparison – Roundtable Briefing, June 2007