E-commerce companies have seen a recent surge in traffic from Google and Bing, as the two dominating search companies up the ante with rich search results for shopping. Google has released a number of important feature enhancements including showing product images in regular search engine results pages (SERP), offering Product Listing Ads in Product Search (formerly Froogle), and Ad SiteLinks, which allows retailers to display up to four links for each PPC ad.
Google allows e-commerce companies to upload their product databases for free using Google Merchant Services. Google serves up these products in their organic listings, including product descriptions, images, prices, shipping rates and local store results. To get products listed in Bing, merchants need to participate in Microsoft’s Bing Cashback program, which gives shoppers rebates that merchant’s fund through PPC ads. Yahoo! recently announced that they are partnering with PriceGrabber.com to power their popular Yahoo! Shopping site. This seems strange since Bing will soon power regular search for most of Yahoo! content properties.
Marketers are happy to see Bing’s emergence with rich features pushing Google to increase the pace of innovation. Having two strong companies dueling for marketer’s and shopper’s attention can only help those of us who focus energy on attracting business through search. The remaining shopping comparison sites, most of which require PPC funds to get products listed, have suffered as a result of consumers moving more and more of their product and local searches to the big guys.
Shopping sites losing share to search engines
(number of unique visitors in thousands)