This is one of a series of posts about comparison shopping engines. To check out others in the series go to the Wine Comparison Shopping Engines.
In previous posts in Wine Comparison Shopping Engines I outlined why you should use these sites and how to do it with the “elephant in the room” (Google).
In this post I talk about how to do this with another very interesting shopping comparison site that specializes in wine – snooth.com.
Snooth was launched in June 2007, and has a huge wine database and online community, with over 1 million wines and prices from 11,000 merchants and wineries worldwide. Snooth says the site currently handles over 5 million searches per month and has over 400,000 registered users.
It’s certainly got some big names behind it and has established a lot of creditability in the wine and tech world.
To put them in perspective here’s what Google Trends says (US only):
So they are about as big as wine.com (best to look at this data on a relative basis – not absolute numbers of visitors).
So it’s big. Perhaps not a Google elephant, maybe more of a lion 😉
It is also free
You can list your products for free. It’s only when you choose to get greater exposure through “featured” listings that you start to pay any fees. We’ll covers the free stuff first.
How to start
Go to the trade sign up page hub.snooth.com.
You’ll first need to be “verified”, don’t worry this ain’t intrusive! Within about 48 hours they’ll send you an email saying you’re verified and you can start to edit your store details and upload your products.
So login to your site, go to Your Account and then clicking on your retail store. How to do this is pretty obvious with the exception of Featured Merchant Setup and Billing which I’ll come back to.
Snooth automatically creates some products after verification – probably by using “web scraper” software to copy and paste data from your product web pages into snooth. The good news is you can be up and going very soon. The bad news is you need to make sure you agree with all the data! Sometimes we er…. forget 🙄 to keep our data perfectly accurate.
As is usual with shopping comparison sites the easier way to do this is to use an Excel or Open Office spreadsheet. Go to snooth templates to download a sample file. Or just download a file from your “All Products” page, which is what I did. The fields are copied below. The ones with * seem to be automatically filled in(?).
Snooth Wine ID*
Your Sale Price
Don’t worry if it looks daunting – there are many ways to do this quickly other than doing it one product at a time. Also don’t worry if you don’t fill in most of the fields (though there are advantages in doing this).
Upload Products by Spreadsheet or XML file
One way to quickly add products is to see if your eCommerce software downloads an excel “csv” file of your wine products. If so then upload it (go to Your Products > Add Products > With a CSV file). If, or when, it works then ensure that the snooth fields match your equivalent fields (something called mapping) in snooth’s easy to use interface, and you should be all go.
The second way is to use that xml feed that I’ve talked about in my previous post for google. The feed is similar though without the “g:”.
5112453345 Alderbrook Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2002 http://your-site.com/this-wine.html 32.99 1 750 http://your-site.com/this-wine.jpg Alderbrook Winery Red Table Wine USA Upper Dry Creek Zinfandel; Carignane 15.1% 15.1% Rich, dark rose color. The nose is bursting with brambly blackberry fruit. Anise, blueberry and black cherry notes flow through on the palate. Enjoy now or hold for the future, this is a wine with aging potential. 92 Points 90 Points February 2009This wine exhibits...
Your eCommerce software probably has a way to do this. According to snooth as long as it can identify SKU, price, URL and wine name then it should work. Fingers crossed, it didn’t work for me.
*** Sidebar on Magento and RSS ***
The eCommerce software I know best is Magento and it requires some programming to customize a feed. So what I would do is use SingleFeeds extension to manage all my feeds from the one source. You need an account with SingleFeeds which costs but you don’t really want to start custom coding (techies should see MagentoConnect for more). The good news is that Magento has an easy way to create a Google Feed which requires no programming. (I’m mucking around with WordPress so I’ll see if I have more luck with that one.)
If or when it works then you just ensure that the snooth fields match your equivalent fields.
Snooth consolidates similar products
When you upload products Snooth tries to work out if it has these already listed in its product database. If so, then it simply adds a pre-existing product ID to your listing so consumers can compare the same product from different retail stores. If not, it adds them to your account for you to edit (if you wish). Now that is pretty cool technology!
Paid to be Featured
All Comparison Shopping Sites have hundreds of listings. It’s why consumers visit them so they can compare at least prices if not other features. One way to get to the top of these listings is to pay the site in way or another. For some sites you increase your bid price for a click, on others you pay a flat fee, with Snooth you become a featured merchant and pay a commission on sale.
Featured merchants are the ones that appear at the top of the listings and get a yellow star with “Featured” beside it (see pic below for a Mondavi wine, not the yellow star at the top but beside the store listings).
That this is an advantage won’t surprise you if you’ve read my previous post on Google Products. Many consumers don’t go much further than the top 4-6 listings (that are “above the fold”). So it is certainly worthwhile.
The downside is you have to pay a small percentage (10% I think) of the purchase price. Snooth tracks this by asking (insisting) you install a small piece of code called tracking code in your website shopping cart. You’ll probably need to get your eCommerce provider to do this if you aren’t comfortable with html.
This code tracks whether a customer came from Snooth (by using “cookies”, see wikipedia), then tracks whether they actually purchase something by seeing if an order is completed (it looks for a success page such as one headed “Thank You” or “Order Completed”). If it’s successful then snooth charges your credit card that percentage fee or “commission”.
If you go to your company setup in Your Account, you’ll see a section called “Featured Merchant Setup”. This is where you put in your details. Here’s a snooth video that explains the process:
One thing to Note
Most comparison shopping engines encourage you to provide more information in your listing by giving you a higher ranking for a richer description – especially reviews. So if you can do this once and do it well then you’ll be rewarded many a time with more prominent better rankings in shopping sites.
Have you used Snooth and do you have any tips?