by Terry Young
Are your products being found and purchased online?
As with trying to sell anything in the real world, trying to sell products online can prove to be frustrating, whether you are selling products that people are not familiar with or you are selling mainstream items next to thousands of other companies. In order to have a fighting chance in the global marketplace, an online business has to not only stand out from the crowd, but also should be seen in as many places as possible.
Even if a site is on the first page of the search engines, looks professional, functions perfectly, and its prices are comparable to the competition, there is still more that should be done to cast the customer net wider. While many sites choose to market themselves traditionally using banner ads, such as on Facebook and other third -party sites, few utilize another method of being seen: direct product feeds.
When it comes to generating more visitors and raising awareness, submitting your products directly to the major search engines (a.k.a 'Shopping Engines'), can vastly increase your visibility and return on investment.
The major search engines have now begun to mix product results in with the traditional searches, so you could have both a regular listing in the search results, and also images of your products along with pricing. On Google, when searching for something product related, you now see 'Shopping Results,' including thumbnails of products, price, etc. This listing then links directly to that product's page on the seller's site. The best thing about these feeds is that several are currently free.
Search engines have begun to mix product results in with
Apart from the search engines, there are also 'comparison shopping' sites out there such as Amazon, Shopzilla, and Shopping.com. These do charge either monthly fees or ongoing referral fees. However, unlike Pay-per-Click results, which I have mentioned before, these methods can help you stand apart from the 'pack,' not just be a part of it. And, even though they do cost money, with the referral fees method, you are only paying on sales you have actually made.
How do these work? Simply put, a web designer creates a specially formatted file containing your products, pricing, photos, etc., and this is uploaded directly to the store, comparison shopping site, or search engine.
It is important to note that these files need to be updated and re-uploaded whenever changes are made to your site's inventory, so it is ideally best to have the process automated, as it is on our WebUpdate e-commerce sites. These files are then imported by the shopping sites, and your products are indexed with any other results or similar items.
Two of the most well known sites that operate in this manner are the Shopzilla and Amazon stores, which can reach millions more visitors than just search engine users. This is very useful if you are selling a completely new item, such as your own T-shirt design range. Just as getting them stocked in traditional stores, promoting yourself on these third-party sites can help you get your brand name out until people know to search for you by brand name.
If you are ready to increase your business, now is the perfect time to consider our WebUpdate systems, which employ advanced marketing, promotion, social media and security features designed to give businesses the best competitive edge online.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design. Since 1997,