March 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Bass Pro Shops fishes for more margin at comparison shopping sites

With a new system from Mercent that uses Coremetrics analytics data, Bass Pro Shops can target its ad spending on particular products to the comparison shopping sites shown to be most effective in selling those products. The system shows Bass Pro all the products a shopper clicked while browsing as well as the products purchased.

Shopping comparison sites are getting big buzz among retailers as paid search costs rise, but there, too, some marketers find the return on ad spend elusive. One solution is to put more strategy behind the spend, and retailers who’ve harnessed web analytic data to their comparison shopping engine spending say they’re seeing better margins on shopping sites as a result.

“Many people say shopping comparison advertising is great, but it can be really difficult to make profits on it,” says David Seifert, director of operations and direct marketing at sporting goods retailer Bass Pro Shops.

That used to be the case at Bass Pro, but things stated to change when the retailer hitched its comparison shopping spending to Mercent Corp. with integrated web analytics data from Coremetrics Inc. under a new cooperative service, Coremetrics Marketplace powered by Mercent. Mercent’s platform feeds Bass Pro’s product data and listings to some 35 shopping comparison sites. Coremetrics data track clicks on Bass Pro listings through to actual sales.

That allows Bass Pro to target its ad spending on product listings to the shopping sites that have been producing the best sales on those types of products. “We use this information to differentiate performance between shopping comparison sites, rather than just shotgunning the same data feed to all comparison sites,” Seifert says. The data now provide Bass Pro with a view of where shoppers go after clicking on a product listing in an engine, viewing all the individual products that they also clicked on and which items they subsequently purchased.

Because Bass Pro was already using Coremetrics analytics to manage its general paid-search marketing programs, it has been able to use the same Coremetrics page tags in its shopping comparison campaigns. An added benefit, Seifert says, is that Bass Pro can now view a single analytics data dashboard for real-time updates on the impact in sales of multiple advertising campaigns, including comparison shopping sites and general Internet paid search.

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