Yahoo Shopping Adds Bid-Per-Click Option to Product Listings...Update
Online shopping is here to stay.
Now it is just of matter of finding out which comparison shopping engines, and shopping destination sites, can actually make a profitable business out of online shopping while Google Product Search, Microsoft Cash Back, Live Search, and theFind.com continue to provide their shopping destination sites free to both online merchants and shoppers alike.
Yahoo! Shopping is an excellent comparison shopping engine and certainly has a wonderful worldwide brand (yes, they still do, for all of you cynics out there) which, in turn, brings millions of buyers and comparison price shoppers to their online mall to purchase products. How many do you ask? Aprroximately 18-20 million unique visitors a month -- still an impressive number even if it has not grown much beyond that number.
So how does Yahoo! Shopping plan to upgrade, bring more shoppers, and keep online merchants happy when using them -- as this is the group from which they make their money?
The following read is a follow up to my prior entry about Yahoo! and their additioinal bid supported marketplace I wrote about in May.
What WAS at Yahoo! Shopping
1. Yahoo ranked items based on keyword relevancy, categorization, click history, and customer feedback.
2. Listing has been difficult for merchants who struggle to get traffic to their products from Yahoo’s large database of products.
3. Set-fee-per-click format = merchants pay a flat rate for product listings in Yahoo! Shopping categories and have little control over positioning.
4. Yahoo! used to host the premier comparison engine but has lagged behind in the last couple of years in terms of traffic and interface.
5. "Innovations have been few and far between, traffic has been tepid, and retailers have seen flat sales overall"...states Kevin Packler, eTaildTail friend over at Channel Dollars, a wonderful blog that delves into more technical aspcects of working with comparison shopping engines than I often do! See I love experts, sometimes!
What IS NOW at Yahoo! Shopping
1. Online retailers have more options.
2. Bidding mechanism creates more competition among merchants and more flexibility in terms of how merchants may list their products and the bid-fee-per-click format positions those merchants highest who bid the most of key words, which is similar to keyword bidding using Yahoo!, Google, Ask, or MSN (Live Search) search.
3. A NEW Site redesign that compliments existing "set-fee-per-click" merchant product listings fees and new "bid-fee-per-" model. This additional bid feature means merchants can gain significant history within Yahoo! Shopping's algorithms, and thereby rankings, which will push their products to the top of result pages.
4. Product categories have increased from 64 categories to 1,200+, which allows merchants' products to appear in more places than they could under broader headings - but only if an online merchant maps the categories correctly, ergo try using a Web-based tool to help you.
5. "Category expansion allows merchants to bid on more granular product areas in addition to broad categories. For example, merchants now can bid on “bath towel,” instead of just “home & garden.” The added categories give merchants greater opportunities to improve their position in product rankings," stated Greg Hintz, General Manager of Yahoo!
Finally Greg Hintz adds: "The effects of the fee change on pricing might depend on the merchant. Because we are adding more categories it’s hard to say whether there will be an up or down effect on pricing. Some [categories] will cost more, some less. We are giving merchants the ability to tailor their campaigns to the categories they make the most money on. ROI should go up”
If you would like to read more analysis about changes at Yahoo! Shopping and all of the new Yahoo! Product Submit features, check out eTaildTail friends over at CPC Strategy; they have a great write up, and you can read it for free, promise! :-)