What Use is an Online Shopping Directory?

An online Shopping Directory is considered a niche directory of websites that provide goods and services to the public. These websites would usually carry on e-commerce, have a virtual shopping cart of some kind and have the ability to safely take money online. This type of niche directory has several benefits to both the website owner and the consumer.

One example of my own comes to mind. While being totally baffled as to what to buy my 20 year old for his birthday I finally ended up at, what I considered at that time, my last resort, the Online Shopping Directory. It was here I stumbled across a website selling all manner of unusual flags, which is what was delivered two days later and twelve hours before the actual birthday. It saved my hide and became a fast education in the value of the Shopping Directory.

The fact is that this form of online commerce can have benefits to both sides of the equation. The website owner, or seller, gets worldwide exposure, twenty-four seven, as they say. New, unknown markets appear and customers, rather than walking by, seek out the products. Those with their websites submitted to a Shopping Directory also get casual shoppers who “came for something else” as well as those looking for ‘ideas” like me and my unusual flags. Of course, being in a directory also gets back-links and perhaps Page Rank value with the search engines, although this has become less of a positive thing these days now that Google has become very selective on back links and especially harsh on obvious paid links.

The shopper, of course, also finds a list of advantages. Shopping from home, in your own time and in casual clothes with a cup of coffee besides you can be an attraction, but the real value comes with the ability to compare products and prices quickly, without having to walk three or four miles between stores with a calculator. The online shopper can also expand the range of available outlets to cover, well, the whole world really, and this then becomes a whole new range of ideas as well.

Online you can research before you buy, seek out new and unusual ideas, and make comparisons all within the Shopping Directory. Recently I went seeking a rather unusual paperback which I found online, paid for online and woke up next morning to find it on my doorstep with my morning newspaper.

Of course some items are better directed to online sales than others but the process holds true. I can’t buy shoes online because I have a strange size and shape of foot! What I can do is look at styles, compare prices, look at the way various shoes are constructed and do a lot of research before trying them on.

The website owner who is selling these items has to be careful how he portrays his ‘store’ within these directories. Not only has he to make sure he is in the correct niche and that his descriptions are accurate and true but he has to be aware of the search engines view of directories.

The gray area seems to be whether paid links are being used or that online store information is just being placed for customers to see. Google, for example, frowns on paid and un-natural links so there is some controversy over this form of advertising.

These niche directories then, if used correctly, can be good for both sides of the retail market, the ‘easy to walk around world shopping mall’ sort of thing… the easy for comparison thing… and you never have to worry about remembering where you parked!