Better still, some of the newer breed of shopping search sites are serving more natural search results to shoppers rather than just giving the top placements to paid advertising merchants. Obviously, this is good news for both consumers and merchants on a budget.
We take a look at six up-and-coming sites to the shopping search arena that are breaking ground with their comparison engine features, search technology and overall emphasis on providing consumer appeal. Of course, we also give you the details on how to get your products listed on these next-gen shopping comparison Web sites.
- Like.com Brings Visual Search to Style Seekers
- TheFind Goes All Natural
- Become.com Brings Research, Reviews to the Party
- Stylehive Makes it Social
- Kaboodle Includes Community
- Buddy Shopping Offers Buying With Shared View
The Goods: Catching our eye in a big way is Like.com, a shopping engine with a unique focus on the visual details of products.
|Shoppers can search by specific styles on Like.com.|
(Click for larger image.)
Beth Kirsch, vice president of marketing and sales for Like Visual Shopping, said that offline people shop and buy based on how an item looks, and this is what Like.com brings to online shopping the ability to match features within a product image to other product images. The Like Visual Shopping search is actually based on visual recognition technology, so shopping by appearance takes the top focus here.Getting Listed: Like.com offers merchants highly targeted traffic in a smaller selection of categories, and product inclusion is based on a CPC rate through its merchant program. There is an "add your items to Like" hyperlink on the site where you can submit your information or request more information on inclusion.
The Goods: TheFind is a trendy online shopping search engine offering a portal to over 190 million products from 500,000 stores online. What makes TheFind different is that the search results are comprised mostly of authentic natural search results. Larisa Hall, vice president of marketing for TheFind, said that she believes that in order to succeed with shoppers, a shopping search engine must be willing to include all merchants, even those who don't want to pay to be listed there.
|TheFind is a chic style site that includes organic search results.|
(Click for larger image.)
TheFind offers some trendy shopping features such as the ability to search by specific colors, tools to make saving searches easier, and eye-pleasing mouse-over details that remove the need for shoppers to click out and go back to the last search results page to view more details on other products. Shoppers can also choose to include or exclude eBay and Amazon marketplace listings in the search results.Showing that the site is clearly doing well enough to expand its reach, TheFind just announced that it bought the trendy fashionista site Glimpse.com. The enhanced Glimpse.com Web site will maintain its chic and stylish philosophy, but will now offer TheFind.coms Web search ability, providing access to hard-to-find boutiques, brand stores and hip, must-have products. Getting Listed: For merchants wanting to get their products viewed on TheFind, you must have a checkout button on your site and also sell in US dollars. If your products have not been indexed there is an "Add a Merchant" link on the site where you can easily submit your details.
According to the company, Become.com crawls over 3
billion pages to list the content associated with the reviews section.
Additionally, the site serves up headline news that is relevant to the
Getting Listed: Web shop owners interested in having their products found on Become.com will need
to apply to become a listed merchant. Become.com charges merchants on a CPC basis,
only for qualified leads sent.
The Goods: Become.com is a unique site that combines the power of shopping search with research that boasts 20 million products and 5,000 stores in their network. At any time shoppers can mouse-over a product and load both product search results as well as a research panel that offers reviews and guides related to the product you are shopping for.
Getting Listed: While we couldn't reach anyone at Stylehive to comment on any type of merchant
program, when viewing the site, it appears that merchants would do best by
having customers who are Stylehive members create reviews and links back to the
merchant to be found on Stylehive by other members.
The Goods: In addition to next-generation shopping comparison engines, the latest product find trend is based on the popularity and success of social networking sites in a new Web 2.0 era. To this end, we have a whole new category of sites like Stylehive, a social shopping community that lets consumers find products online and the stores selling the products while sharing their online discoveries with others. To use all the features and social tools offered by Stylehive, consumers must register. Then they get e-mail updates and can bookmark or tag items, post and share information. Members can also "follow" other shoppers, see their recommendations, create wish lists and discuss fashion.
The Goods: Also generating some buzz in the social shopping arena is Kaboodle, started when a couple remodeling their home experienced a lot of frustration while shopping online. Today Kaboodle is a full-featured online shopping networking site offering users a fun shopping community where they can find, recommend and share products. Shoppers add Kaboodle buttons to their Web browser that allow them to personalize their unique shopping lists lists used to research a new product, organize home remodeling, plan a vacation or even a Christmas wish list.
|Kaboodlers recommend and share opinions on merchandise.|
(Click for larger image.)
The Buddy Shopping application basically breaks
down the screen into a double view that provides space for you and a buddy to
shop, sharing the view, and an integrated instant messaging system is included so you can communicate
with your shopping partners.
Getting Listed: Merchants can consider adding the Buddy
Shopping application to their own online shop, if you think customers would
benefit from shopping with a friend on your own site. Otherwise you can click
the "Contact Us" link on the Shopping Buddy site and add your own URL and
information to get listed.
The Goods: Also focusing on social shopping is Buddy Shopping, a site that lets consumers shop online with a friend. Using the downloadable Buddy Shopping client, users can create private or public shopping communities and have members of those groups share their opinions on products.
While industry research, such as that by MarketingSherpa, indicates that social and community network sites do have an impact, at this point in time it is still considered to be a growing trend. It is important to note, however, that the same market research also shows that while these search spaces do not send near the same quantity of traffic that, for example, a Google search would return, it is a higher quality of traffic as consumers coming from shopping comparison sites are more likely to buy when they reach the destination e-tail site. Luckily for merchants, getting added to some of these product search sites is as easy as submitting a Web address. Vangie Beal is a frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.
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