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Shopping: Comparing search engines - test results quality & comprehensiveness

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Information about Shopping: Comparing search engines - test results quality &...
Technology

Published on March 14, 2014

Author: TheFind

Source: slideshare.net

Description

U.S. eCommerce touched $260B in 2013 (Forrester), represents 10% of all retail sales, and is growing at double-digit rates. Search remains the largest driver for eCommerce, accounting for 30% or more of Shopping traffic (Internet Retailer). Helping consumers find the lowest price matters, but equally important is the quality and depth of search results.

These past few months have brought dramatic changes to consumers’ eCommerce experience on major search engines. Google initiated the shift by moving from a free Product Search experience to a new form of advertising called Product Listing Ads (PLAs). These changes have clearly impacted consumers’ shopping results and experience. There is a growing disparity between search engines. Consumers are increasingly noticing the difference, and shifting their usage to search engines that provide the best results and experience.

To see just how much the consumer’s experience has changed, we created a microsite – Compare.TheFind.com – to compare the consumer’s experience and results of the major Search Engines and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs). How does Shopping.com stack up against Bing? TheFind against Google? NexTag against Shopzilla?

We did the same thing. Inspired by the folks at SearchEngineLand who did a similar head-to-head comparison of shopping search engines, we used Compare.TheFind.com to run dozens of product searches across all major shopping categories through every engine to answer key questions like:

Which finds me the lowest price?
Which provides the best selection of stores?
Which offers unbiased product reviews?
Which points out physical stores closest to me?

We tried this with 50 search strings. Here are a few sample Searches:
- CanoScane LIDE110 Flatbed Scanner
- Beats by Dre Pill Speaker, Silver
- Rowenta dg5030 Steamer

Here’s what we found…
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Shopping Search Engine Test Compare.TheFind.com

• In the last 12-months, dramatic changes have occurred to shopping experiences on major search engines and comparison shopping engines (CSEs). • Google switched from a free Google Product Search experience to a new form of advertising called Google Shopping Product Listing Ads (PLAs). • Microsoft followed Google, shutting down Bing Shopping in favor of PLAs. Yahoo is testing out Bing PLAs on some of its searches. • The number of retailers participating in PLAs increased over Q4 2013, in parallel, decreasing participation in comparison shopping sites to conserve budgets. • TheFind conducted an in-depth Shopping Search test between the major search and CSEs to see what impact these changes have had on search results and on consumers’ shopping experience. Background

• A micro-site called Compare.TheFind.com was set up to compare the consumer’s experience and results using major Search Engines and CSEs. • Micro-site takes product search terms and compares search results at Google, Bing, Yahoo, Shopzilla, Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, Nextag and TheFind. • Micro-site used to run dozens of search queries through eight engines to answer key consumer questions, including: – Which finds me the lowest price? – Which provides the best selection of stores? – Which offers more product reviews? – Which points out physical stores closest to me? Shopping Search Engine Test Approach

Test Methodology Links to the spreadsheets with the test data and analysis will be included on the relevant pages below. (same approach as SearchEngineLand)

Test Results

TheFind finds the lowest price more often than any other shopping search engine, followed by Google *Above data show the number of queries each engine finds the lowest overall price, with 50 sample queries in 6 categories. The numbers don’t add up to 100% because they each represent the number of times they found the same lowest price – not mutually exclusive. Click Here to access the “Lowest Price” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

As a result, shoppers will pay, on average, 12% higher prices on Google Search and 31% higher prices on Yahoo Search *Data collected from a sample of 50 queries in 6 primary shopping categories. Click Here to access the “Lowest Price” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

Screenshots for All Pricing Data Collected CanoScane LIDE110 Flatbed Scanner Rowenta dg5030 Steamer Beats by Dre Pill Speaker Google’s Lowest Price Screenshot (link to all engines’ screenshots) PriceGrabber’s Lowest Price Screenshot (link to all engines’ screenshots) TheFind’s Lowest Price Screenshot (link to all engines’ screenshots) Link to All Screenshots Download Test Data for All 50 Products

A key difference between TheFind and CSEs is Store Choice. TheFind provides over 10 times the number of stores. *Data show the average number of stores and results based on 50 broad queries across 6 product categories. Choice of stores provides consumers options to buy from where they already have accounts, use coupons, use free shipping options, avoid sales tax, find nearby locations for local shopping, checkout using PayPal, etc. Click Here to access the “Store Comprehensiveness ” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

TheFind includes key merchant leaders. Provides critical choice for shoppers with strong merchant preferences. *Refer to “Store Analysis” spreadsheet to see “Key Merchants Missing” at the query level. Above is sample of 3 queries for 3 CSEs Stores Missing from CSEs relative to TheFind for 3 Sample Queries Click Here to access the “Store Comprehensiveness ” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

Sample Size = 25 queries across 6 primary shopping categories TheFind also has the broadest array of shopping search tools including Coupons, Local Store Locations and Product Reviews Click Here to access the “Shopping Tools” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

Though TheFind does not show “product specs” on the site, it does have Visual Search and the Largest Image Sizes Above features are implemented site-wide for each shopping search engine. List is sorted by Visual Search then Product Specs. *TheFind shows the product specs provided by each retailer. Click Here to access the “Shopping Tools” Data & Analysis Spreadsheet

TheFind had the largest image sizes. Image sizes contribute to a better shopping experience

Search Test Conclusions • Dramatic changes to shopping experiences on major search engines and CSEs. – Google, Bing, Yahoo! shift to PLAs – Retailers shifting budget to PLAs reducing spend with CSEs • TheFind study reveals major impact on results and consumers’ shopping experience – TheFind finds lowest price more often than any other shopping search engine (Google was #2) – Shoppers paying pay 12% higher prices on Google and 31% higher on Yahoo – TheFind provides 10X the number of stores and has broadest array of shopping search tools – TheFind has the best experience in terms of product image sizes & visual search

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