ChannelDollars recently published an analysis of the CSE market in 2010, basically highlighting the fact CSEs in 2010 must evolve or disappear, being stuck between Google / Bing, the starting points of the web, and Amazon / Walmart, the big retailers and their associated marketplaces. This analysis ended with:
Put simply, to change the tide, shopping engines need to become innovative again. At one time they were cutting edge in their ability to deliver multiple offers, additional merchant information and consumer feedback. Literally the CSE worked as a complete resource, aggregating purchasing data which helped merchants target consumers, and in turn which helped the consumer’s purchasing decision. Shopping engines need to find some of that creativity again. Whether this is done through dynamic social engagement, iPhone enabled scanning devices, or many other options is irrelevant. The point is that another large e-commerce shift is occurring, and if the shopping engines don’t get out in front of that change, then shopping engines face the prospect of becoming e-commerce relics of a by-gone area. That, would be too bad.
While the situation may slightly be different outside the US, I think ChannelDollars is right about its key message: innovation is mandatory for CSEs to survive. As I have some free time these days, I will start a series of articles on this topic, trying to define what could be the perfect CSE from the customer point of view. Some rough ideas for the moment:
Would you like to contribute to this series? How would you define the perfect shopping engine? Please leave comments :)