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How to Prepare for Comparison Shopping Engine Holiday Rate Increases

3 Tips to Help Merchants Succeed in the Shopping Engines This Holiday Season

Most paid comparison shopping engines raise prices during the holiday season because of increased traffic and generally higher conversion rates.  The first company to announce their holiday rate increase was NexTag, who sent an email to merchants yesterday, October 18th.

In this email, NexTag announced a temporary 25% price increase for all categories that will be effective November 1, 2010 through January 4, 2011. NexTag’s price increase means that a merchant with a bid of $1.00 will be charged $1.25 for all clicks that take place during this period.

In previous years, NexTag has deducted the 25% from the bid amounts after the holiday season is over.  This year, on January 5, 2011 they will automatically reset all rates to October 15, 2010 bid amount. This means that merchants need to pay very close attention when January rolls around to ensure that they are not spending too much on pre-Halloween bids and that they maintain the product placement they achieved during the holidays. The following three tips will help you prepare for the 2010 holiday season.

  1. Be aware of the rate change policy for each engine. Rate increases during the holiday season are typical for fee-based comparison shopping engines.  NexTag, PriceGrabber, and Shopzilla are just a few of the CSEs that instigate rate increases between November and January.  Make sure that you know the percentage increase, applicable categories, and start and end date for each comparison shopping engine you use.
  2. Keep a close eye on your bids and products. With the increase in rates and volume of clicks, it is likely that you will spend your budget faster than usual.  Plan your budgeting to sustain your products throughout the entire holiday season. Revisit your bids regularly to make sure that your products don’t experience any downtime and that they are in the position you want.
  3. Know what to expect. If you know what to expect, you can plan accordingly and maximize your sales this holiday season. Many merchants experience an increase in traffic and rates during November, which translates to higher spend in the shopping engines.  Conversion rates typically increase after Thanksgiving through the New Year to counter the CPC cost.

Now is the time to start planning your comparison shopping engine strategy for the end of the year.  Keep in mind that conversion rates are usually higher between November and January, so CSE rate increases shouldn’t stop your business from having a lucrative holiday season. Information on rate changes for Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, Smarter.com, and Shopping.com will be available soon.

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