CPC Strategy Comparison Shopping Solution Overview

image Awhile back we kicked off a new interview series with top comparison shopping engine and data feed management companies in an effort to introduce our readers to some of the industry players and to inform merchants about the types of services offered by the different providers. This interview is roughly the fourth CSE services one we’ve conducted and I am happy to report that it appears as though we’ve got a few more in store due to be released within the month.

CPC Strategy is a provider of comparison shopping engine and data feed marketing services for merchants interested in leveraging the power of online shopping engines in an effort to increase shopper, buyer and brand awareness in the world of online retail. CPC Strategy’s solution is meant to take an individual approach to CSE selling taking into consideration that different sellers may have separate goals when it comes to marketing through comparison shopping.

CPC Strategy Comparison Shopping Solution Overview:

CPC Strategy understands that each merchant is different and has unique goals for their Comparison Shopping Campaigns. We strive to work with each of our clients individually to ensure that we fully understand and meet your expectations.

A few of the data feed services offered by CPC Strategy include adding custom product attributes, optimizing individual data feeds, automation of data feed submission, proper feed categorization and even micro-management of each campaign. The overall goal of CPC Strategy is to boost merchant ROI by lowering costs associated with CSE marketing and by increasing shopper conversion rates.

CPC Strategy Data Feed Service Details:

Data Feed Optimization

CPC Strategy will create, optimize, and manage data feeds in an effort to take advantage of the individual unique opportunities offered by each of the most popular comparison shopping engines.

Automatic Data Feed Submission

CPC Strategy will automatically upload the most recent data feed as a way to ensure that each CSE will have access to the most recent, up-to-date and accurate information for the entire product line or catalog.

Product Level Bidding

CPC Strategy will use their precise in-house ROI tracking system to determine and help estimate the most appropriate bids for the entire product line or catalog.

Custom Attributes

CPC Strategy will add any custom attributes to merchant data feeds in an effort to increase product relevancy and shopper conversion rates for the entire product line or catalog.

CPC Strategy Case Studies:

  • Online Diamond Merchants (PDF Format)

A competitive analysis of diamond merchants and their experiences with marketing on comparison shopping engines.

  • Garden Decor Merchants (PDF Format)

A competitive analysis of garden decor merchants and their experiences with marketing on comparison shopping engines.

  • Hand Bag Merchants (PDF Format)

A competitive analysis of hand bag merchants and their experiences with marketing on comparison shopping engines.

CPC Strategy Blog:

  • Official CPC Strategy Blog

CPC Strategy now has an official blog. Some of the blog topics include topics ranging from product bidding, click fraud, tracking and landing pages to specific engines such as Google Base, Shopping.com and more.

We strive to provide busy merchants with a Comparison Shopping Campaign Management Solution freeing them to focus on the day to day intricacies of running their own business.

Rick Backus, VP New Accounts, Answers 10 Questions About CPC Strategy:

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?

CPC Strategy Interview Icon CPC Strategy was founded in January 2007 by former employees of the comparison shopping engines. We saw firsthand how merchants were struggling to manage their spend and achieve their target ROI. It was frustrating seeing merchants making the same mistakes repeatedly again without even realizing what they were doing wrong. The lack of uniformity between CSEs makes managing multiple campaigns in-house very difficult and thus ineffective for most merchants.

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon We do all of the above as we are a true Full Service Data Feed Management Solution. We provide each merchant with an ftp for data feed updates and then we take care of the rest.

New feeds are generated based on the specifications of each CSE, and our system is set-up for daily deliveries and to track the results. A weekly report is also sent out to each merchant which breaks down ROI at the product level for each CSE Campaign.

In terms of specialty services, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the constantly evolving algorithms of each CSE via regular A/B testing. This helps us in understanding what each engine is looking for and enables us to manipulate our client’s data feeds accordingly.

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon If the engine accepts a data feed, we can work with them. A few examples include Pricegrabber, Shopzilla, Google Product Search, etc.

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon We’ll let our merchants speak for themselves: http://www.cpcstrategy.com/testimonials.html

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon Merchants should understand the difference between companies that provide data feed submission tools and full service firms which handle all aspects of data feed management. There are plenty of excellent tools that help merchants manage their own campaigns in-house but we are not one of them. Our goal is to provide our clients a comparison shopping management solution that frees them to focus on the day to day intricacies of running their own business.

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon Underestimating the time and resources needed to build successful long term campaigns. CSEs are not like those rotisserie grills that you see advertised on late night TV, in which you can simply “set it and forget it.”

They also tend to overestimate the similarities between comparison shopping and traditional PPC. While the two share certain similarities, there exists many differences between the two, and requires true niche experts within the field to run effective campaigns.

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

CPC Strategy Interview Icon A/B testing! Should you alter your titles and descriptions? Should you implement a price floor and/or price ceiling? Should you run all or some of your inventory?

Data feed management is often times more art than it is science, and different merchants may yield different results–even among those within the same industry–so experimentation is a must. Without A/B testing you’ll never truly know what the right marketing mix is for your products on the CSEs.

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?

CPC Strategy Interview Icon We believe that as time goes on CSEs are going to be thought of as less of a stand-alone destination and more as part of an integrated buying experience.

As it stands, a consumer making a purchase must first research a product, decide on a make and model, as well as where/how to buy it. We believe that in the future CSEs consolidate the buying process, allowing the consumer to make a decision without having to first visit a stand-alone destination.

Social networking will also have a major impact in comparison shopping, as applications are currently available for people to learn the buying habits of their friends, and receive recommendations via that route. Facebook already has an application that has reached the million user mark that attempts to recommend its users products that they may be interested in.

eCopt Interview Icon What goals do you hope to accomplish and where do you see your firm heading in the next 1-3 years?

CPC Strategy Interview Icon Hopefully we will stay true to our roots and stay focused on comparison shopping exclusively. Most of our competitors were SEO or PPC agencies that decided to offer a comparison shopping branch to their host of services. As far as I know, we are the only full service firm that focuses exclusively on comparison shopping and I think gives us a competitive advantage.

Also hopefully our new blog – http://blog.cpcstrategy.com – will be as popular as yours

eCopt Interview Icon What is the single best performing comparison shopping engine you currently support? Who earns the most revenue on average for your merchants?

CPC Strategy Interview Icon It’s very hard to make a generalization like this. Performances will range considerably for different types of merchants depending on the engines, and each use different metrics to measure “success”, whether it be on profit margins, or total exposure, etc.

That being said, Nextag has been converting pretty well lately.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts:

To Rick: First, terribly sorry for any delays in getting your interview answers published Rick!! I am extremely grateful for your contribution and for you taking the time to provide such detailed, informative, entertaining answers for our readers. The thing I like most about your company and mission is the fact that CPC Strategy was started by ex-CSE employees who saw a need that wasn’t necessarily being fulfilled by competing comparison shopping engine service providers. It shows that your company representatives really do care about the success of your clients and that there is real passion behind the services you offer. It’s a pleasure to advocate for such a firm and quite refreshing to see in this world of “passion for greed” providers. On a side note, glad to see you guys went the blog route, looks like your authors are off to a tremendous start, so keep that up! I look forward to working with you again in the future on more project collaborations such as this interview and wish you a successful future as a leading CSE service provider.

To our readers: We hope you’ve all enjoyed this interview with Rick Backus about CPC Strategy’s data feed and comparison shopping engine services. Remember, we conduct interviews like this one and similar topics on a regular basis so be sure to grab our articles feed or subscribe to email updates so you’re never out of the eCommerce news loop. If you enjoyed this interview you may wish to read additional QandA’s we’ve conducted by visiting our eCommerce interviews category. Thanks again for tuning in everyone, see you next time.

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