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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 09, 2009

Increase loyalty, value with on-site price comparison tools

Consumers spend a lot of their online time researching purchases. Much of their research is done on dedicated price comparison websites. Online retailers could increase loyalty and sales by encouraging consumers to conduct price comparison research within the confines of their own online stores.

by Helen Leggatt

e-tailing group logo.jpgThe idea of allowing consumers to see competitors' prices on an e-commerce website might seem ludicrous at first. However, when you consider the amount of time that consumers spend researching products and prices online, usually at dedicated price comparison websites, it begins to make sense.

According to a new study from e-tailing group and WinBuyer, 36% of online shoppers spend over half an hour comparison shopping before making a purchase decision. Sixty-five percent spend 16 minutes or more doing so.

"Savvy consumers are using the Internet to find value, particularly when shopping for commodity products," explains Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. "Efficiency of price comparison and the ability to merely Google it, check Amazon's prices or visit a few competitors is core to today's consumer shopping behavior."

So, if consumers are going to compare prices anyway, why not let them do it during key decision-making stages of the buying process? Nearly two-thirds of the 1,025 frequent online shoppers surveyed said on-site price comparison was "very valuable" to "somewhat valuable".

But what everyone wants to know is, will putting competitors' prices in front of consumers when they are making key purchase decisions encourage them to shop elsewhere? Apparently not. Over three-quarters (78%) of those surveyed said they would likely return to an e-commerce website that provided price comparisons, and for 36% it would increase their loyalty to that retailer.

Tags: comparison shopping, e-commerce, on-site price comparison, price comparison website, purchase decision

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