What are Internet Shopping Services?
An Internet shopping service is a tool that connects online shoppers with the products they're searching for. This also means they connect you, as a seller, with your potential customers.
Internet shopping services may be categorized as one of the following:
Comparison Shopping Search Engine (ex. Froogle, Shopzilla.com, Shopping.com)
Online Auction and Shopping Listing (ex. eBay)
Comparison Shopping Search Engines
With a comparison shopping search engine (CSSE), a shopper enters the desired item into a search box. Then, like a search engine, the website will generate relevant matches that are linked to online stores, like yours, where the item can be purchased. The item search results can be ranked according to several factors including:
Search relevance - how well the product matches your search keywords
Item price - how much the item costs
Online store customer reviews - whether previous buyers have had a positive experience with the seller
Seller's pay-per-click bid amount - how much the seller pays if their item/store is clicked
Increase Your Rank
The higher you rank in the search results, the higher the chances of someone visiting your site and making a purchase. Although you can't completely control your placement in the results, you can increase your chances of being ranked highly.
Customer Review Surveys. Many CSSEs will provide tools for you to collect customer feedback. The more positive responses you receive, the higher your customer satisfaction rating, which will increase your ranking in search results.
High Keyword Bidding. On some CSSEs, the companies that spend the most per click get the top spots.
Pricing - Free vs. Pay-Per-Click
There's no doubt that if you're selling online you should use a free CSSE like Froogle. But, it's a good idea to pair that with a pay-per-click one, like Shopping.com or Shopzilla.com, as well. Your chance of being found and making a sale is higher on a pay-per-click CSSE due to your ability to increase your rank in the search results.
Your items are also more likely to be found on a pay-per-click CSSE due to search relevance. When you submit your items to be searched, you are typically able to put in more details about each individual item than on a free one. This makes search results more targeted to what the shopper is looking for.
TIP! Some website builders provide free credits for a variety of shopping listing sites.
Online Auction and Shopping Listings
eBay is the biggest and best example of an online auction and shopping listing. Although online auctions have search engines and you can list your products, they're very different from CSSEs.
Typically, the most unique feature of an online auction is price flexibility. As a merchant, you can list your item to be bid on or you can set a price.
Bidding. When you list an item to be bid on, you're letting the shopper decide how much they're willing to pay for an item. You can set the opening bid price, the price you want the bidding to start at, and the reserve price or minimum purchase price.
Set Price. A set price, or the 'Buy It Now' price in eBay, lets you list your item at a specific price. You may include the Buy It Now price in an auction listing as well, giving your potential customers the option to purchase immediately instead of waiting for the end of the auction.
Online auctions also differ from CSSEs in the way that shoppers aren't necessarily directed to your website, but are able to purchase through the auction site.
Increase Your Visibility
Although rank is frequently determined according to how much time is left in the auction or by pricing, there are ways to make your listing more attractive to shoppers.
Images. It's been found that shoppers are much more likely to view a listing if they can see what they're shopping for.
Font Changes. You can bold your listing title text to draw the shopper's eye.
Highlight. Color your listing differently to make it stand out from the others.
Featured Items. Pay extra to make sure your listing is placed among the top ranked results.
Pricing for online auctions like eBay can vary depending on what type of items you're selling and what upgrades you use to make your listing more visible. Typically, base rates will include an insertion fee for the listing and a percentage of the final sale price.
Internet Shopping Services are an easy and effective way to increase traffic to your business website and help generate more sales. Depending on your business and product, one or more of these services may be a good fit for you. The best way to find out is to try them all.
TIP! Setting up shopping services with your website can be complicated, requiring you to link your products using special code. Some website builders make it easier by being fully integrated with shopping listing and auctions sites.
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