March 22, 2007, 12:00 AM

Shopping engines providing low-hanging fruit for savvy e-retailers

More retailers are looking to augment search engine marketing results with strategies around comparison shopping engines. Fragmentation in that sector means opportunity, says ChannelAdvisor’s Scot Wingo.

Search drives about 40% of e-commerce sales, but shopping engines are one way e-retailers are now looking to augment search in generating traffic and sales, says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a provider of e-commerce technology and marketing services. “There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit and a lot of innovation there,” says Wingo of the shopping engine realm. “And there are so many of them that if you put a little effort into them and your competitor doesn’t, there is a fragmentation that benefits the people willing to make the effort.”

If search returns are flattening out, e-retailers must not only keep refining their search strategies constantly, but ensure that they are on several different shopping engines at the same time, Wingo says. That includes any smaller, vertical engines specific to categories in which the retailer sells products.

For example, Sears Holdings Corp., which looks to ChannelAdvisor for help in managing its feeds to shopping engines, has found the shopping engine on BobVila.com to be a top referral source. “It turns out people who are going to BobVila.com are pretty interested in Craftsman tools, so the conversion ratios are huge and because it’s a niche site, we really don’t pay as much,” says Wingo.

“Because of fragmentation, there are a lot of interesting options for you out in the shopping engine world,” Wingo adds. “That can really help you get some leverage as a Plan B to search.”

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