ChannelBrain Comparison Shopping Services Overview



image ChannelBrain is Freeportway’s (parent company) service for eCommerce merchants looking to market or sell within Online marketing channels such as comparison shopping engines (CSE’s) and shopping portals. ChannelBrain’s solution is designed to help and facilitate the process of syndicating various products offered by merchants and eTailers to numerous CSE’s all from one, simple to use location and tool. In addition to the formatting, ease of syndication and one-click solution, ChannelBrain also offers users the ability to create their campaigns so that progress, or lack of, can be tracked.

ChannelBrain Comparison Shopping Services Overview:

ChannelBrain currently offers three different levels within their data feed marketing solutions. There is no need to install or download additional software in order to use the service. Instead, all the data feed tools are offered within an easy to use, simple to understand web-based application and software. In short, ChannelBrain’s services help merchants to automate, measure and optimize all their Online channel marketing campaigns.

ChannelBrain Service Level Details:

Standard Package

Cost: $59
Engines: 4
Products: 10,000
Support: Yes
API: No
Back Office: No
Analytics: Yes

Basic Package

Cost: $99
Engines: 8
Products: 10,000
Support: Yes
API: No
Back Office: No
Analytics: Yes

Pro Package

Cost: $199
Engines: Unlimited
Products: Unlimited
Support: Yes
API: Yes
Back Office: Yes
Analytics: Yes

View the ChannelBrain Brochure (PDF Format)

ChannelBrain User Forums:

  • Official ChannelBrain Forums

The ChannelBrain user forums cover topics ranging from how-to’s and announcements to tips and information about supported engines. Right now the user-base doesn’t seem to be that large, however there are some good posts about the system in there like setup and starting out topics.

ChannelBrain Blog:

  • Official ChannelBrain Blog

ChannelBrain also has a blog, where those interested in finding out more, or receiving updates on ChannelBrain, and the CSE industry, can go to learn about insider happenings. The blog archives go back to March 2007, and although it appears as though it hasn’t been updated recently, I checked it out and there is some really good information about their services and views on the industry on it. Be sure to drop by and take a peak when visiting the site.

Gary MacDougall, CEO, Answers 10 Questions About ChannelBrain:

eCopt Interview Icon What made you decide to get into the feed generation or management business originally? How long have you been servicing merchants, vendors and Online sellers?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon Our existing customers were requesting feed output from our shopping cart system. We also so a great need to simplify this process as there were (at the time) no affordable solutions on the market that brought all the facets of channel marketing into one package.

eCopt Interview Icon What are your specific service specialties? Do you currently provide feed generation, distribution, tracking, management or all of the above?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon We provide feed generation, tracking and reporting and optimization / management. We also provide integration tools for back-office and shopping cart systems to further ease the process. We support shopping carts like Yahoo Merchant and back-office systems like Mail Order Manager.

eCopt Interview Icon What comparison shopping engines are supported by your service? Which engines do you work with?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon We support 13 at the moment, but we add new ones periodically.

  • Google Products
  • Yahoo Shopping
  • PriceGrabber
  • PriceRunner
  • Gifts.com
  • TheFind
  • MSN Live
  • Become.com
  • BuyersEdge
  • Pronto
  • Shopping.com
  • Shopzilla
  • Smarter.com
  • Nextag

eCopt Interview Icon Who are some of the merchants that currently use you as a feed generation or management firm?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon We have about 50 or so customers using the product.

eCopt Interview Icon What factors should merchants consider when shopping for a feed generation or management firm?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon Does the company understand the model and is just not selling a “tool”. Lot’s of factors about CSE marketing are not just about getting the data-feed in, there’s a lot a of things that need to be done to be able to understand how to optimize the feed to improve its performance.

Not a lot of tool providers care about that, they focus on the ability to get the feed up to the engine, and thats it.

Choosing a provider that cares about conversions is something that the customers overlook. They look at the cost of the product, pick the cheapest and really get what they pay for.

eCopt Interview Icon In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake merchants make when venturing into the comparison shopping world?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon Not understanding how to measure. Just syndicating your inventory and not being able to optimize or improve your ROI is one of the biggest mistakes merchants make. Choosing a good tool to help you do this is probably one of the most important parts of the process.

eCopt Interview Icon In your opinion, what is the most commonly overlooked feed aspect, that makes the biggest difference with CSE’s?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon The increased natural link exposure that your products will get. Many of the CSE’s will advertise your links / products to various places that are typically going to help with improving your sites natural search exposure. For example, Shopping.com will syndicate links to your products in Google, this is considered more “back links” to your site, which can improve your organic search results of your site.

eCopt Interview Icon In your opinion, what will the comparison shopping-scape look like in the future? Replaced by traditional SE’s? Better than ever? Hardly used? More social? Anything?

ChannelBrain Interview Icon Broken. Sadly, I think that the CSE’s have gotten a little greedy in that they are not keeping up with technology and focusing far too much on clicks and costs per click vs. trying to provide a valuable service to the visitors of their site. When you look at the landscape, its changing rapidly as Google Base / Products has really leveled a lot of the playing field and made it hard to compete in the space for shoppers. The bottom line, customers are getting “savvy” in that they know if they search for a product, the first couple links are “paid”.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts:

To Gary: I just wanted to express how appreciative I am that you were able to participate in this QandA! I am a big time advocate of the services you offer and it’s always great to get introduced and find out more about some of the best ones, such as you offer. I am truly sorry for any hick-ups along the way, like email issues or lost question answers, I am not sure what happened there, but really glad that despite all that, we were still able to get it done and posted. Please don’t hesitiate to drop by and comment or fill us all in on anything new going on at ChannelBrain, or Freeportway. Thanks so much for the quality answers and for getting them back as quickly as you did. Look forward to watching your service blossom and grow.

To our readers: I hope everyone enjoyed reading our latest CSE data feed services interview with Gary from ChannelBrain. I have personally learned so much from these QandA’s, it’s been really fun. I look forward to conducting many more in the future, so be sure to let me know if there’s anything missing in them that you’d like to see in future interviews. As always, if you would like to read past interviews I have posted, simply visit the eCommerce Interviews category on our sidebar. If you’d prefer to subscribe, we offer a full articles feed, email updates and RSS for the interviews category only. Just copy and paste any of those URLs into your favorite feed reader. Thanks for your loyal readership everyone, your the reason I do all this and without our readers, it wouldn’t be nearly as special as it has been!

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