Bing: Doesn’t Deliver for E-Commerce Sites
June 17, 2009

The Barefoot Solution’s team has been listening to the buzz about Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, and so we decided to conduct our own informal investigation to review how Bing’s search capablities and new user interface applications affect searchability for e-commerce sites. We selected thirty different products, from web design to yoga mats, and searched for them on both Bing and Google to answer the proverbial search-engine showdown: Who gives better results?

Bing has touted itself as the new and improved search engine for all things related to shopping online, making travel arrangements, finding local businesses, and researching health conditions.  While it does have some new UI applications that can help the searchability of your e-commerce site’s products, it certainly has some pitfalls.

When we searched for yoga mats to purchase online at Bing, no products were listed on the main search page.  We had to click on the Shopping tab to get product results.  Google’s results page for yoga mats listed products available for purchase at the top of the first page.  Point one: goes to Google.  The fewer pages your potential client has to click on, the less likely you’re going to lose him or her along the hyperlink road to a sale.

When you do click on Bing’s Shopping results page, it is very easy for a potential buyer to comparison shop.  Bing displays thumbnail images of each yoga mat and prices but does not list the name of the e-commerce site.  If you have invested time into branding your e-commerce site, the effort is lost with Bing’s results. But Bing does allow a potential buyer to filter shopping results based on the category, brand, and price.  The category filter wasn’t very helpful in narrowing results, but the brand and price filters were. Google doesn’t have these same filters or applications. Point two: goes to Bing, with some misgivings. It feels very user friendly to have Bing’s filters and applications at a potential customer’s fingertips, but the searchability and information displayed needs to be refined.

Bing also offers a cashback program to all customers who buy products through Bing.  The cashback program is like a credit card rewards program.  Google doesn’t offer an incentives program like this. Point three: goes to Bing.  An incentive program encourages more shopping and buying online.

When you click on one of the yoga mats listed on Bing, the search engine takes you to another page on Bing with additional information about the mat instead of taking you directly to the website’s own products page. On Bing’s page, you can’t enlarge the image or, since the site is relatively new, read many customer reviews. But you can see the company that’s selling the product and then click onto the website directly for purchasing from this page.  Point four: goes to Google.  Bing’s added information page does not seem to add a lot of value and requires another click to get to your e-commerce site.

Our conclusion: Google still has the advantage when it comes to selling your e-commerce site’s products.  It may not have the images, filters, or capabilities for comparative shopping that Bing’s search engine has, but based on our own review, it gives your customers results quickly and efficiently sends them directly to your e-commerce site, which means more sales for you.

— Stephanie

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