Interview with Bastien Duclaux, CEO, Twenga
I am a big fan of Twenga. Â I think it is great from a retailers POV as it is free, and great for customers as it has a huge range of products. Â i managed to get a interview with the founder,Â Bastien Duclaux, where he gives some insights into Twenga and the furture of shopping comparison
Could you give us some background on Twenga?
Twenga is a shopping search engine, price comparison site and shopping guide. The company was founded in 2006 by Bastien Duclaux and CÃ©dric AnÃ¨s, to fill an unsatisfied need for an open shopping search engine.
Before us, first-generation shopping search engines were â€œwalled-gardenâ€ price comparison sites: Firstly, they were focused on price comparison, rather than on product search to match consumer needs. Secondly, they were only displaying the offers of those retailers with whom they have a commercial relationship (hence the term â€˜walled gardenâ€™).
There was a need to break these limitations. We wanted to offer online shoppers the democracy of free and open choices, to give them access to all retailers, not just a few. This is why we developed a technology that gathers shopping data from the entire web and displays it in one searchable interface. One main element of our technology is a dedicated and proprietary â€œcrawl engineâ€ which automatically scans and analyzes the retail offerings of 200 million multilingual Web pages every day.
Why should consumers use Twenga instead of Shopping.com or Google product search?
Looking at the category of price comparison sites, rather than at a specific competitor, we can say that current leaders have pioneered the first generation of price comparison sites. As we mentioned earlier, these competitors operate in a â€œwalled-gardenâ€ mode in that they display only the offers of the retailers with whom they have a commercial relationship.
For consumers, the main benefit of using Twenga is to gain access to a much bigger, more diverse, and more representative set of retailers, which in turn brings more objective and better search results. â€˜More products from more online shopsâ€™ means for consumers the assurance to find what they want at the best price on the market.
We use our technology to automatically index all of the retailers and we are adding hundreds of new retailers every day. We are comprehensive and democratic. On average, we display three to ten times more offers than our competitors in a similar shopping category. Our ultimate goal is to be exhaustive and to become the primary destination for online shopping.
Among our differentiating services, those that are most popular among our users are price history and price alerts. Consumers can check the price trend of a product and create an alert to receive a mail when the price of that particular product drops.
We also offer a free mobile iPhone price comparison application. We are one of very few sites that allow international price comparisons across countries. And we have many more innovative services in store.
Could you explain the promotional options for merchants on Twenga?
We offer the retailers a complete range of promotional options. We offer standard advertising placements such as banner ads or sponsored links, as well as custom advertising packages for specific campaigns.
Our most innovative marketing offer (and our main source of revenue) is performance-based marketing. Retailers who want to boost the visibility of their brand and products on our sites can join our affiliation programme to get additional visibility in dedicated placements on our sites. In addition to being listed among natural search results, their offers are then displayed in dedicated premium placements which are clearly high-lighted and contextualized to best match user searches â€“ thereby driving significantly more traffic and sales.
The retailerâ€™s participation in our affiliate program is completely risk-free because our commission is based solely on completed sales. Retailers increase their visibility and pay Twenga only if it generates revenues. Our 100% performance related model means that every marketing penny spent with us is actually linked to a completed sale!
In the current economic climate, online retailers love Twengaâ€™s performance-based model because it gives them full control on the return of their online marketing investments.
What do you think that the future holds for Twenga and the shopping comparison?Â Do you think that that other services will move to a CPA based model?
We position ourselves as a shopping search engine, not only as a price comparison site. Online consumers, especially these days, are focused on price. Hence, price comparison is indispensable, but it is not a sufficient condition to serve online shoppers well. We must also show consumers the right product at the right time. Our ambition is to give to online consumers access to the full richness and diversity of the shopping Web, without the complexity of having to tread through thousands of different sites and irrelevant offers.
We are of course 100% convinced that performance-based marketing is the way of the future. We have no doubt that our competitors want to follow suit. However, it is difficult for them to drop their CPC model, simply because it is a â€œcomfortableâ€, if not easy model. Performance-based marketing has to be earned by performance; itâ€™s much harder to make money in this model. Twenga was founded on the basis of the CPA model, thus weâ€™re entirely geared to it. We believe that it is much harder for a company who was geared to function in a CPC model to switch to CPA because CPA involves the full complexity of the visit-to-sales conversion process.
Thanks to the pioneering work of companies such as Amazon, performance-based marketing models are now well-understood. Their logic is compelling. The tracking technology necessary to make them work well is mature. This is the right time to shift gear and drop the outdated CPC model from the eCommerce space. And thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing. In the future, we anticipate that performance-based marketing will gain ground in multi-channel distribution.