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.

AdWords “Ineffective” Says eBay, Google “Meta-Pause Analysis” Contradicts Those Findings

google-adwords-numbers-featured A story generating buzz and controversy earlier this week amounts to a stinging indictment of the paid search industry as a whole. It was based on new research from eBay that argues SEM is all but worthless and has little or no impact on traffic and sales -- except in marginal cases. However, Google studies argue SEM delivers clear and tangible benefits to advertisers and publishers. In a paper published last week eBay describes its study (.pdf) and related results. The company says it sought to determine the impact of pausing paid-search ads on its organic traffic and sales. eBay: SEM "In [...]


Flush With New Cash, Structured Data Engine FindTheBest Ready To Make Its Move

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 9.48.04 AM It was unclear what to call FindTheBest when it first launched roughly two years ago: "anti-search engine," “decision engine” or “comparison engine." Today, it may not matter. The company just raised $11 million and has 22 million monthly users. (The site has raised $17 million to date.) CEO (and former DoubleClick founder) Kevin O’Connor sees the site as a way to help people make better decisions with reliable, structured data. Those data come from a range of public and private sources. Indeed, O'Connor says what he and his team have created is a "data platform" that can manage [...]


Google Buys Channel Intelligence For $125 Million

google-shopping-featured Google has acquired retail feed management provider Channel Intelligence (not to be confused with Channel Advisor) for $125 million. The company counts major brands and retailers among its clients. Channel Intelligence (CI) offers a range of services built around data management and product feed optimization. It lists Target, Philips, HP, Neiman Marcus and Best Buy among its customers and says it works with 850 retailers on a global basis. The conventional line on this acquisition is that it will better help Google Shopping compete with Amazon and eBay. CI was a launch partner of Goog [...]


Google Tests B2B Market With Google Shopping For Suppliers

Google Shopping For Suppliers Beta Google is entering the B2B shopping segment with Google Shopping for Suppliers. CPC Strategy reported yesterday on the quiet roll-out, noting that the beta is open only to electrical and electronics industries at this time. The beta started about two weeks ago and is showing in the US only. Google has built Google Shopping for Suppliers to accommodate the unique aspects of B2B selling that has limited supplier participation on Google Shopping. Recognizing that B2B transactions often involve negotiations on shipping costs and volume discounts, many Google Shopping policies on Pricing and [...]


eBay Offers A Mobile Search Shortcut For Online Stores

Last month, I touched on several ways that businesses could use apps as an alternate channel to reach mobile searchers. Online retailers have a couple opportunities to use apps in this way, by tapping into the eBay and Amazon marketplaces. Let's take a closer look at eBay, and some strategies for using it to extend the reach of your existing catalog. Starting At The Desktop Before mobile was part of the equation, there was a well-established practice for leveraging eBay for online retail. Of course, it goes without saying that many retailers use eBay as their sole storefront, taking advantag [...]


A Black Friday & Cyber Monday Shopper’s Guide To Comparison Shopping Search Engines

shopping-sale-240px The holiday shopping season is almost upon us. Black Friday comes at the end of the week, followed by the increasingly popular Cyber Monday. While there are plenty of deal sites, there also remain traditional shopping search engines that consumers may wish to use. Shopping search engines, or perhaps more properly, product and price comparison services, were one of the first specialized "vertical" search types to emerge in the early days of the web. The first services, like Andersen Consulting's BargainFinder, were "intelligent agents" designed to grab product info from specific retailer web [...]


Factual Global Products: Data About Over 500,000 US Consumer Packaged Goods

FACTUAL_LOGO Looking for facts about consumer product goods in the US? Open source data platform Factual has just launched its Factual Global Products with information on more than 517,000 consumer products. Records for each product include product name, brand, category , size, and UPC. Direct links to images for many products are also included as well as a Factual ID number that helps connect Global Product entries with other Factual services. Here's an example of listings in the Household Supplies category: Companies represented in the database include: L'Oreal (5635 Products) Kraft [...]


Checking Out Shopping SERPs: Put Yourself In A Search Engine’s Shoes

sale-discount-shopping-featured With the advent of Google moving to a paid inclusion model, many folks must be wondering what they can do to optimize their data or product feeds to make themselves findable. Whether you are in a paid vertical or free one, Google has to serve up relevant information. So, how about putting yourself in a search engine’s shoes? No one wants to be spammed or fed invalid data, so all information needs to be clean, verified and preferably from more than one source (all semantic Web or named entity extraction type philosophies). From a search engine’s perspective, it wants (and needs [...]


Given Nextag’s Lack Of Transparency, Its WSJ Opinion Piece Asking For Google Transparency Isn’t Wise

nexttag logo Nextag CEO Jeffrey Katz is out today in the Wall Street Journal with an opinion piece taking Google to task over a lack of transparency and fairness. Perhaps it's not the smartest move, given that all his arguments can be neatly turned back against Nextag. Moreover, unlike Google, NexTag is probably in violation of US Federal Trade Commission guidelines on consumer disclosure. Getting 65% Of Your Traffic From Google Is A Stacked Deck? Let's do the dissection. Writes Katz: At my company, Nextag, a comparison shopping site for products and services, we regularly analyze the level of search tr [...]


Google Acquires KikScore Technology And Assets To Complement Trusted Stores

Kikscore-popup In an effort to expand the kind of information available to online shoppers via its Trusted Stores program, Google has acquired the technology and certain assets of KikScore, a trust seal company serving mostly small businesses. The cost of the intellectual property acquisition wasn't disclosed. According to a post on KikScore's site, the standalone service is being shut down on June 28. The company suggests users turn to Google Trusted Stores as an alternative. "There is still great work to be done for small businesses and that is why we are so excited that an industry leader will be ab [...]


Comparison Engine FindTheBest Debuts Local Classifieds

Structured data comparison engine FindTheBest has evolved impressively since its launch in August 2010. The site has become progressively richer and more usable. It has expanded into more categories. And, as of today, that includes local classified listings in jobs, cars and rental housing. FindTheBest is a kind of "anti-search engine" and the brainchild of DoubleClick founder Kevin O’Connor, who launched the site to provide better information than he believed was available in general search results: FindTheBest.com was created out of my desire to organize part of the Internet, filte [...]


FindTheBest Succeeds Where Google Squared Failed

Screen shot 2011-12-07 at 9.44.45 AM During his written responses to questions from the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt identified a range of competitors that Google faces in the market today. Some were well-known and some more obscure. One of the smaller companies that Schmidt mentioned was FindTheBest. He identified the company in a list of "vertical search" providers: We do not have to speculate as to whether there are new entrants in vertical search services such as comparison shopping and local search and review sites. There are new entrants in these market segments all the [...]


Six Ways Online Retailers Can Better Optimize Listings For Amazon

While Black Friday may be famous for kicking off the holiday shopping season and attracting flocks of consumers to brick-and-mortar retailers, Cyber Monday has certainly made its presence known in the online shopping community. Just last year, Cyber Monday online sales increased 19.4%, pushing the average order value up from $180.03 in 2009 to $194.89 in 2010, according to an IBM Coremetrics report. This year, many retailers are anticipating an even higher increase in sales. So, for all of us looking to make the most out of this opportunity, it is time (or never too late) to start prepar [...]


TheFind Catalogue: The Return of Google Catalogs

Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 9.45.27 AM Way back in 2002 Google launched catalog search. It was ultimately shut down in April, 2009. The product allowed users to browse popular mail-order catalogs or search across catalogs for specific products. In many ways it was crude yet cool and useful. I liked it but it wasn't enough of a traffic driver to justify its continued existence at a time when Google was shuttering under-performing products. Now shopping engine TheFind has created an updated but similar product for the iPad and Android tablets: TheFind Catalogue. Taking advantage of the magazine-like format of the iPad it [...]


Walmart Buys Former Search Engine Kosmix To Power Social And Mobile Shopping

walmart-kosmix-featured For those who follow search it was initially one of those "WTF moments": Walmart acquiring erstwhile Google challenger Kosmix. However AllThingsD reports that the price was $300 million-plus vs. $55 million raised. So the founders and investors get a seemingly nice exit. Kosmix will now become part of the newly established "@WalmartLabs." When it launched in 2006 Kosmix was building a better search engine that organized results by category and added numerous filters allowing users to drill down for more relevance and control. Below is an early Kosmix search results page (via DailyTech [...]


10 Tips To Check The SEO Soundness Of Product Listings

Optimizing for search engines and shopping engines is all about accessibility, relevance and authority. In the process of continuously optimizing for search and searchers, sometimes basic areas get ignored, overwritten or overdone leading to entire sections of the site being blocked, duplicated or rendered useless for search engines. Here are ten quick checks to ensure your site has not stumbled into the no or low visibility zone.   1.  Check robots.txt on every sub-domain Are you blocking sections of your site in the robots.txt file? If so, check to make sure that you are no [...]


Placecast and AT&T Launch Geo-fenced Mobile “ShopAlerts”

Mobile carrier AT&T is introducing location-based "ShopAlerts" with Placecast in four US cities: NY, SF, Chicago and LA. This is opt-in "push" marketing via SMS or MMS tied to "geo-fences." Privacy is a non-issue because of the opt-in dimension. Once a user has opted-in, which can happen on AT&T's site, Facebook or many other places (e.g., display ads online) that person will receive alerts (offers, promotions) when he or she physically enters the designated local area, which is defined by the advertiser (e.g., a mile from retail store XYZ). Initial advertisers that have sign [...]


6 Steps To Higher Converting Traffic From Shopping Search Engines

Traffic acquisition has always had a prominent spot on yearly goals and product roadmaps. But how about conversion optimization? Not quite there yet, despite all the talk about ROI positive initiatives. Traffic is undoubtedly the first step, but conversions are where the money and long term value reside. Conversion optimization has been predicted as one of the top SEO strategies for 2011. Shopping engines can drive tons of traffic from qualified, targeted buyers to your products. How about conversions? It’s time to ask. If you are tracking conversions, you’re in the game. Here’s how t [...]


eBay Buys Local Products Search Engine Milo For $75 Million

Shopping.com parent eBay has reportedly acquired local product inventory site Milo.com for $75 million in cash. Milo was aspiring to become the "Google of local product data." The acquisition is a bit of a surprise to me but problably came out of discussions about a strategic investment. I believe Milo and Shopping.com were in discussions to incorporate Milo data into results there. eBay may have decided, since Google unveiled local product inventory just a couple weeks ago, that it needed a response and that it wanted to own one of the principals in the segment. Milo had started to syndica [...]


Search Tips For Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Ladies and gentlemen open your wallets -- and start your smartphones. The holiday shopping season is upon is. This year more than ever there are scores of sites, apps and online tools to direct you to the right product at the best price. It can all be a bit overwhelming in fact. Below I've tried to highlight some resources that may be helpful as you search for gifts over the long weekend and beyond. But before we get started let me first ask the naming gods to next year revisit and banish "Cyber Monday" from the tech lexicon -- or dare I say "texicon." And maybe we need yet a third day (or [...]


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