Comparison shopping may be a practice among consumers during which a variety of accessible suppliers is compared to spot the simplest price for the things or services they’re willing to shop for. It is an evaluation of potential sellers to see which one offers the best deal.
The process of comparing different options before making a purchase transaction is very important for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, this procedure usually involves certain visits to the store or physical installation of the seller in order to compare prices, promotions, and after-sales benefits, among other elements involved in the operation.
On the other hand, from a business perspective, comparison shopping is often done through more formal procedures such as bidding processes where sellers compete with each other by submitting bids, along with a detailed description of all the factors involved in the transaction.
Additionally, search engines have changed the way comparative shopping is done. The emerging business of online stores has made available a wide range of suppliers that can be consulted in seconds through its e-commerce platforms. Most of these systems have a published real-time price quote for each available product and this makes the comparison process easy.
The main goal of comparative shopping is to try to find the best deal on a product or service. Comparison Shopping helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions by comparing prices and other factors between several different potential suppliers.
Shopping comparison examples
Some examples of price comparison platforms are:
- Trivago– This website provides a platform for various hotel reservation providers to advertise their offers while helping consumers navigate through multiple options without having to visit individual provider websites.
- PolicyBazaar– A similar type of web-based company that provides detailed information on various financial products from different vendors.
The shopping comparison does not necessarily have to be done in the online or web-based mode. It is also largely done in physical stores where the actual order is placed. Companies can use this ideology of comparative shopping to carefully position their brands in such a way as to highlight differentiating factors compared to competing brands.
Importance of comparative shopping
Shopping comparison is now available through various channels where a consumer can get information about any product/service they want to buy. There are the traditional newspaper ads, TV ads, friend/family reviews, and modern methods that include searching the internet or experiencing quality in virtual reality.
The internet provides an excellent platform for comparison shoppers to obtain pre-purchase information on any product and thus has resulted in many businesses not selling the actual Products but instead providing a comparison platform to host multiple vendors and provide a comprehensive comparison between multiple products/services.
Customers looking for comparative purchases are looking for the following attributes to compare.
- Price & Brand
- Qualitative Description
- Technical Specifications
- User Ratings & Feedback
- Offers & Discounts
- Time & Delivery
- Return Policies
- Payment Method
Advantages of comparative shopping
There are several advantages of increasing consumer awareness, such as transparency in the buying and selling system.
- Price comparison allows consumers to get the best value for their money.
- Predict consumer buying behavior through data mining and provide opportunities for new companies to produce products by identifying gaps in consumer demand and available attributes.
- Helps to predict the demand for products/services.
- Realization of advertisements aimed at consumers.
- The shopping comparison provides a valuable platform for feedback and peer review.
But at the same time, it is being a disadvantage for physical retail stores. Before, if a potential consumer walked into a store to buy or compare a product; it was very likely that the purchase was made through impulse purchases or through salespeople.
The online platform has withdrawn this field from retail stores. Also, in the online shopping comparison, the consumer cannot feel the characteristics of any product and focuses only on the reviews and prices mentioned, while in the retail stores the characteristics of a particular product can be experienced in reality.
How to prevent comparison shopping
- Do you have a guarantee? Make it clear!
- Price comparison is not just about price
- Use social proof and lots of
- Can’t beat comparison buyers? Join them.
So lets learn about it in detail.
Do you have a guarantee? Make it clear!
Let’s start with one of Money Saving Expert’s key shopping comparison tips:
What is really going on here? This advice is at the core of why comparative shopping is so important: a consumer is rarely sure when he has found the best deal.
This uncertainty is what keeps them searching for hours and employing increasingly complicated hacks. They are never sure if there is a better offer somewhere. This is our first rationale for avoiding product price comparisons: making it clear that the best price is right in front of your user.
Price comparison is not just about price
The eCommerce experience is about much more than just comparing product prices. While it is the main one, and there are dozens of product price comparison sites attesting to it, it is far from the only item your potential customers are weighing up.
If you are looking to stop a comparison buyer in their tracks, you should consider what else they might evaluate about your product. Here is another example from Money Saving Expert:
The key to this tip is that even though your comparison buyer is looking for great deals on price, they still have many other considerations in mind.
Use social proof and lots of.
Social proof comes in many, many shapes and sizes, and it can be your best weapons against comparative shopping.
First, there is the use of social proof as a means of creating a sense of urgency. It’s a common conversion rate optimization tactic that is particularly powerful here. It is about making it clear to your buyer that the offer that he has put on the table is not going to last forever. If they delay, they risk missing something.
Another way to use social proof for this purpose is to display stock levels. It is a common tactic used in the travel industry to encourage bookings.
Adopt cart abandonment strategies
Your e-commerce comparison buyer is no fool. They know what you are doing and are more than ready to get the job done. Unfortunately for you, this means that they are often willing to play a long game in the hopes of getting discounts:
This advice inevitably encourages an e-commerce marketer to cringe. Price comparison means that your cart abandonment strategy could be working against you.
Can’t beat comparison buyers? Join them.
Despite everything we’ve just said, making it easy to compare products can be a good thing. Listen to me.
There is merit in recognizing whether comparative shopping is unavoidable for your category because you can get ahead of that behavior.
Showing the best price guarantee is actually the easiest way to do it. You recognize that product price comparison is important and you own that conversation. However, let’s remember that comparing purchases is not just about price. Reviews, stock levels, quality indicators, and features are equally important.
Conclusion price comparison engines
It is unquestionable that price comparison engines are the places to go to find the best deals in a convenient way. You can save a lot of money and time, which in itself is a great incentive to start using comparison sites like Hot5. So if you haven’t tried using a price comparison website yet, now is the time to do it!