Shopzilla Raises the Stakes on Merchant Ratings

Merchant ratings have always been an important part of any comparison shopping campaign. Receiving positive ratings from users and achieving trusted/certified status on each engine should be a priority for all retailers using CSEs. There is a dual impact of doing so in that consumers feel more confident entering into a transaction and therefore conversion rates are likely to increase, but also in that the engines reward trusted/certified merchants with higher visibility in default rankings.

Shopzilla/BizRate product pages have long favored merchants with strong ratings. However, Shopzilla recently announced to merchants that going forward, merchant ratings would assume an even more signifcant role in the default rank of offers on product/catalogueueueed pages (ie, pages with multiple retailers offering the same product). Offers will now be first divided into two distinct sets:

  1. Offers from retailers with Outstanding, Good, or Satisfactory ratings.
  2. Offers from retailers with Poor ratings, or with no ratings at all.

All offers that fall into the first group will be displayed above offers in the second group. This means that even merchants with great prices and high bids will appear toward the bottom of the list. My experience is that the Shopzilla/BizRate rating system is the most popular rating system in the CSE space, and on pages for popular products, it is very rare to see anywhere close to half of merchants without an overall rating. So it is likely that merchants with no ratings and any significant number of competitors will make into the top half of offers.