NexTag Helps Small Merchants Ring in Holiday Season

In an e-commerce sector that is rapidly becoming a hotly contested field, shopping search engine NexTag is quietly gaining ground on its competition by getting small biz merchants in front of millions of consumers.
In an e-commerce sector that is rapidly becoming a hotly contested field, NexTag is quietly gaining ground on its competition by getting small biz merchants in front of millions of consumers.

NexTag shopping search engine competes in an e-commerce sector that is rapidly becoming a hotly contested field, thanks to the increasingly popularity of consumer use of search engines. Competition in this sector includes BizRate, PriceGrabber as well as the Ask Jeeves Ask.com shopping channel which is powered by PriceGrabber, Froogle, Priceflo and Dealtime.

In August alone, more than 21 million online consumers flocked to shopping comparison sites to research products, prices, and merchants, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. And that number is expected to increase drastically in the next few weeks as online shoppers are well underway in the annual holiday shopping surge.

Founded in 1999 by two Stanford graduates, Purnendu Ojha and Rafael Ortiz, NexTag's price comparison service was initially focused on technology and consumer electronics. Today the site boasts more than 22 top-level categories with several hundred subcategories including books, cars, food & wine, and travel. More than five million online shoppers per month use NexTag to research, compare, and buy products.

According to Ortiz, the site has seen a 300 percent increase in the number of merchants selling through the search engine since January 2003 when they expanded their category offerings, making it one of the fastest growing shopping search engines. The number of consumers using the site has also increased significantly -- a 53 percent jump since January.

Benefits for Small Merchants
Like other search engines, NexTag provides sellers valuable visibility to an active population of shoppers, and boasts more than 4 million unique users and more than 2,000 online merchant partners. Because it works on a performance-based pricing model, NexTag's provides highly qualified traffic and makes it an efficient sales channel for small business retailers and individuals.

There are several ways merchants and sellers can take advantage of NexTag's large customer base. The Self-Serve Program is geared towards small stores or individuals with a few items to sell. Sellers need only register online as a NexTag Seller and then they can list products. Listings will appear in Nextag's shopping service alongside those of larger merchants. The set-up and listing is free, but sellers pay NexTag for referrals on a cost-per-click basis. Sellers that are not e-commerce-enabled or don't have a Web site can have qualified leads e-mailed to them for offline processing.

Merchants can also register as a regular seller, in which case NexTag provides more merchant information to consumers, and bills merchants monthly for referrals. NexTag also offers a Merchant Partner Program, which is geared towards more serious merchants who want to list more than 100 products. Merchant Partners can arrange to provide a regular product feed to NexTag, which allows them to maintain accurate product inventory and price management.

How It Works
NexTag's search results provide detailed product, transaction and merchant information to consumers, and then refer buyers to the appropriate merchant to complete the purchase process. According to Ortiz, as much info is provided to the consumers as possible before the click-through to the merchant making the cost per click more valuable.

The company's technology includes fast and relevant product search results, TruePrice, and product price histories. TruePrice allows shoppers to view the actual price of the product, including the cost of the item, taxes plus shipping and handling from the merchant's location to the customer's destination.

Customers can search on specific products or brand names, and sort search results based on the seller, seller ratings, and price. Product reviews are offered, as well as a price history chart, which includes a feature that allows consumers to be notified when a product falls into a specific price range.

For merchants, NextTag offers reporting tools, including a dashboard that allows merchants to follow leads and sales, as well as tools that allow you to track the performance of your listings and change listings or pricing at any time.

For information on how to register as a seller or merchant partner, visit the NexTag site at www.nextag.com.


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