Shopping search engines allow you to search specifically for products for sale from online merchants. They typically provide features different from regular search engines such as price sorting, showing product availability and merchant ratings. Unlike regular search engines, most shopping search engines charge merchants to be included in their listings. If merchants don’t pay, they don’t appear — and searchers might miss out on finding the right bargains.

Google runs Google Shopping, which allows for dedicated product search, and it also surfaces some product search results within regular Google searches. Google Shopping shifted to an all-advertising format in 2012, reversing a strong stance Google had previously taken against that practice.

Google’s chief rival Bing killed its own Bing Shopping service in August 2013, but shopping ads and product listings with “rich captions” may appear in regular Bing results.

Other shopping search engines to consider include Become, Nextag, PriceGrabber, Pronto, Shopping.com, Shopzilla and The Find.

You can read more about shopping search engines in our articles below, and also see our Google Shopping page for articles specifically about that service.

Amazon Fire Phone: Bing For Search, Nokia For Maps

Amazon Maps logo The emerging consensus from the early "hands on" or "first look" reviews is that the Amazon Fire Phone has some novel and interesting features but that it doesn't measure up, overall, to the iPhone or "true Android" devices. I've argued that Amazon missed the boat with its high-end pricing. Interestingly, there has been almost no talk about search on the Fire. Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search and other Google apps are not present in the Amazon Store. Users can still get to Google services on a browser of course. But Amazon has erected barriers to using Google on its devices. Among them [...]


Shopper FOMO – What Is It & Are You Dealing With It Appropriately?

FOMOKIDSWIthFOMO FOMO, or "fear of missing out," is something that is playing an increasingly significant role in today's digitally connected world. Wikipedia defines it as follows: Fear of missing out or FOMO is a form of social anxiety -- a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event. This is especially associated with modern technologies such as mobile phones and social networking services. The web has provided us with more options and possibilities than ever before -- but the downside to having a seeming [...]


Survey: Search Engines Dominate Mobile Product Research

mobile-apps-search-featured Last week, Local Corporation released survey results from its latest round of consumer mobile shopping research. The company is promoting a new version of its local-mobile shopping app Havvit. The survey was conducted in March and carried out by the Chicago-based e-tailing group and consisted of nearly 1,300 US smartphone owners. Among other questions the survey asked, "When using a mobile device for product research, how do you search?" Survey respondents overwhelmingly said "search engine" vs. the other choices: Search engine: 73 percent Specific mobile website: 33 percent Mobile [...]


Shopping Comparison: TheFind Finds Lowest Price More Often Than Google, Bing, Others

shutterstock_126762251 shopping In December, Danny Sullivan sought to determine which of the major shopping search engines found the best prices for common products. The shopping engines compared in Danny's articles were Nextag, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, Google, Bing and TheFind: The Test Begins: Do Google Shopping & Other Shopping Search Engines Give You The Best Deals? The Test Continues: Which Shopping Search Engine Finds The Best Price For A Blu-Ray? TheFind's CEO Siva Kumar saw these articles and developed an internal tool to compare his site to these and other online shopping competitors. TheFind la [...]


Report: US Search Ad Spend Rises 12 Percent YoY In Q4 2013; Smartphone CPCs Drop

IgnitionOne Tablet Smartphone Performance Q4 2013 IgnitionOne released its fourth quarter Digital Marketing Report today, showing that the paid search market in the US continues to grow. Search ad spend rose 12 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2013. In part as a result of the later kick-off to the holiday shopping season this year, December ad spending was up a significant 27 percent over 2012. Though overall ad impressions fell 16 percent year-over-year, clicks rose 5 percent and click-through rates jumped 25 percent in Q4.  IgnitionOne posits lower impressions are a result of "top of page innovations" including new ad ext [...]


Google Shopping Expanding 360 Degree Product Images, Making New Hire

google-shopping-featured Last year, Google began adding 360 degree product views to Google Shopping ahead of the holiday season. This year, the search giant continued to tout the 360 views and have expanded from toys to other consumer products that consumers typically like to examine closely such as cameras. Users can move the images around to see all sides, top and bottom of a product and theoretically "feel as if they’re picking up products off the shelf". The company appears to have hired or be close to hiring a new partner technology manager for the program. A LinkedIn posting now states the job is no longer [...]


The Test Continues: Which Shopping Search Engine Finds The Best Price For A Blu-Ray?

shopping-search-online-featured It's time for our second test of how well Google Shopping and other shopping search engines find the best prices on products. For this installment, what's the lowest price from a major retailer for a copy of "Red 2" in the Blu-ray, DVD and digital download combo pack? Is The Featured Price The Lowest Price? In this test, as with our last one, we're trying to see if the "featured price" is better than the low price that can be found on each service, plus who finds the lowest price overall. Here's the summary chart of our findings, where PriceGrabber did best, with Google just barely behind by [...]


Brand Bias: 70% Of Consumers Look For Known Retailers When Doing Product Searches

google-brand-search-featured New research from Search Engine Land and SurveyMonkey shows that consumers have a definite brand bias when it comes to searching for products online. According to data from a survey conducted last month, almost 70 percent of US consumers said they look for a "Known retailer" when deciding what search results they click on. That was the most popular response, followed by "Free shipping" and then "Discount or sale offer." Respondents were able to choose up to three answers to the question, What is most important in helping you decide which results to click on in a search engine search? [...]


The Test Begins: Do Google Shopping & Other Shopping Search Engines Give You The Best Deals?

google-shopping-products-featured It sounds pretty damning. Two recent surveys suggest that Google Shopping isn't leading searchers to the best prices on products. But the surveys weren't well documented, nor did they include competitors like Bing, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber and Nextag, which have similar issues. So, Search Engine Land will be running its own fully documented tests. Every few days, we'll search for an item and show what we found, starting with today's test, a search for a toaster. Testing For The Low Price Vs. Featured Price This is a long story. It's designed to be that way so that people can understand ex [...]


Consumer Watchdog Says Google Shopping Costs Consumers, Complains To FTC

perfume-google-shopping-product-listing-ads Consumer Watchdog has lodged a new complaint about Google's "search monopoly" with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this time saying Google Shopping results don't pass the sniff test. The group calls the way the search engine displays its Product Listing ads "deceptive and unfair", adding that Google Shopping's paid listings are price gouging consumers. In addition to competing shopping engines being shut out of top listings, consumers are "actually being harmed because the featured results from Google Shopping more often than not return higher prices than can be found elsewhere,” w [...]


Google Shopping Outpaces Amazon Same-Seller Sales On Cyber Monday, Black Friday

google-shopping-products-featured Over the extended holiday shopping weekend, Google Shopping same seller sales have been growing faster than Amazon among large retailers. According to the most recent data from online retail commerce platform Mercent, Google Shopping contributed 54 percent year-over-year same-seller growth on Cyber Monday, while Amazon achieved 23 percent same-seller growth compared to Cyber Monday 2012. The Mercent eCommerce Performance Index includes  550 retailers selling across over 200 online channels including Google, Amazon and eBay. “Google continues to invest in the retail sector offering more e [...]


Google Trusted Stores Now Integrates With AdWords, Shows StellaService Ratings In US

google-trusted-store-icon Today, Google formally announced several updates for Google Trusted Stores, the free ratings service Google launched in 2011, just ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. AdWords Seller Ratings Integration Google Trusted Stores is now among the services that help to power seller ratings, which show on AdWords text ads as well as Product Listing Ads. Here is an example of how the ratings details display for a Google Trusted Store: In most cases, businesses must have at least 30 unique reviews from the past 12 months and an overall rating of at least 3.5 stars. Retailers participating [...]


Google Shopping Adds New Consumer Features Ahead Of The Holidays

google-shopping-products-featured Google is continuing to tweak the Google Shopping experience ahead of the holidays. With its sights set on Amazon, this week, the search engine announced a new set of features for consumers. Whether searching on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, the product previews stay within the main screen for quick access to detail information. After clicking on an item, the detail box expands to show description, online retailers that carry the product with prices and a link to see nearby stores that carry the item. Note that the list of available stores will be limited to big box retailers. Som [...]


Google Launches Shopping Campaigns To Ease PLA Management

google shopping While Google's switch to paid Product Listing Ads for Google Shopping has proven wildly successful, growth has likely been hindered by the fact that setting up and managing Product Listing Ad campaigns for Google Shopping has been plagued with complexity. Today, Google announced a new campaign type called Shopping Campaigns designed to  make it easier for advertisers to manage PLAs. The key feature in Shopping campaigns is that feed data will now be visible from within AdWords, rather than being walled off in Google Merchant Center. You'll be able to see attributes in your Google Merchant [...]


Debate: Do Single Product PLA Ad Groups Strangle ROI?

Google Shopping Building out Product Listing Ad campaigns in Google AdWords with single product or single SKU ad groups has become a fairly common practice. The idea being that isolating each product into its own ad group gives advertisers more control over which item gets served for a given query and enables faster product-level performance analysis and more granular bidding strategies. A new paper from CPC Strategy challenges this approach to PLA management. It's not a new position from CPC Strategy, but CEO Rick Backus says, "We were surprised to see how quickly this SKU-level build out strategy gained [...]


Local Google Shopping PLAs And Local Storefronts Roll Out To Limited Set Of Retailers

google-shopping-featured Today, Google is making public what several speakers at SMX East alluded to last week: local availability for Product Listing Ads. The latest iteration of Google's wildly successful Product Listing Ads, which will be referred to simply "Local PLAs" in this article, are currently available to a select set of US based retailers such as REI and Sephora. When users click on a Local PLA, they are taken to a local storefront -- yet another new feature -- which includes product detail and availability, related items available in that location, store hours and directions and other typical Google Pl [...]


Report: Google Product Listing Ads Drive CSE Channel Growth, Cannibalize Text Ad Clicks

google-shopping-featured The August Same Store Sales report from ChannelAdvisor shows that the 7.7 percent growth from Comparison Shopping Engines was driven by the product listing ads (PLAs) that power Google Shopping. Search (traditional AdWords text ads) saw just a slight uptick in growth at 0.2% in August. Both channels grew more slowly than comScore's overall ecommerce growth rate of 16 percent in Q2. In a summary statement, ChannelAdvisor reports, "Google Shopping continues to show strength in this category helping offset headwinds from traditional CSEs." While the average order value (AOV) from Google Shoppi [...]


Bing To Include Local Product Inventory In Search Results

bing-shopping-featured Yesterday Microsoft and Local Corporation announced a deal in which the latter's Krillion local product database will be provided to Bing for display in search results. Local Corp. will supply in-stock product data from a range of mostly national-local retailers. The list of participating retailers includes BestBuy, Costco, Express, Fry's, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe's, Nordstrom, Orchard Supply, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Rite Aid, Sears, Staples, Target, True Value and Wal-Mart. All of the indexed products from these stores -- it's not clear if this includes all in-store inventory -- will be [...]


Retailers Promote Over 1 Billion Products With Google PLAs, Holiday Surge Expected [Marin]

google-shopping-featured Today, Marin Software release a new study that finds Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continue to see increased adoption among retailers. According to the study, over one billion products were being promoted through PLAs as of May 2013. PLA impression share, when compared to text ads, has slowed some since its holiday season peak in December 2012. Marin points out that the dip seen in June and July 2013 could be seasonal, but that the transition to enhanced campaigns as well as the new product feed specifications that went into effect in the US on July 15 may have contributed to the drop [...]


Bing Product Ads To Run In Closed Beta Through Holiday Season

bing-ads-featured Upon hearing the news that Adobe was releasing support for Bing Product Ads through its Media Optimzer platform, I asked Microsoft about the status of the product ads launch. In a new statement to Search Engine Land, David Pann, GM, Microsoft Advertising Search Group, said: "We are on track to release Product Ads in Q3 of this year. We have invited a targeted set of U.S. advertisers to participate in a 'closed beta' through the holiday season so that we allow time to ensure our primary goal of creating a great customer experience while also listening to/implementing any advertiser feedb [...]


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