The magic of comparison
In this day and age there’s so much information at our fingertips it often seems overwhelming. And that’s not just true for the digital world – it’s the same for the physical world, too. Have you ever visited a restaurant and felt so overwhelmed by the vastness of the menu, you just order margarita pizza? Or have you ever looked at a map to figure out your next holiday destination, only to book the exact same place as last year? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of us are suffering from what is commonly known as choice fatigue – which is why a helping hand goes a long way.
When choice feels limitless, people find themselves turning to comparison websites and articles for guidance. Have you ever tried buying a mattress online, for example? Or tried to figure out the best make of noise-cancelling headphones? If so, you’ll have come across a limitless range of products, which all promise to be totally life-changing, and better than all the rest. Comparison sites and articles are often created by third parties who have the time and knowledge to actually sift through all the information, and maybe even try the products out for themselves.
The magic of comparison is that we don’t have to solve the problem ourselves – we can ask someone to do it for us which saves us hours of time. So let’s take a closer look at how the comparison industry is become a force in its own right, and is often the key to the success of a company, product or brand.
The rise of the comparison industry
Ten years ago, comparison sites took up just a tiny corner of the internet. Now many brands or products are dependent on them. Searching to buy a new product online isn’t just fatiguing, it’s also time-consuming. Gone are the days we simply trusted the seller – now we need a second opinion, whether it’s from a friend, peer or an algorithm on the internet.
Let’s look at some of the top comparison sites in the game. Google Shopping is probably the most popular and best-known comparison site on the internet. Products submitted to Google Shopping will be stacked against competition using metrics such as average product price, benchmark product price and price difference. Camelcamelcamel, Shopzilla and PriceGrabber use a similar model, and are ideal for anyone looking to save some cash when treating themselves to something new.
But the comparison industry isn’t just reliant on pricing. Many people want to know about the quality of the product too, and whether it fits with their needs. Take the mattress industry for example. When you’re looking for a new mattress, you probably have an idea in mind of how much you want to spend, and whether you want firm or soft, foam or spring. Comparison sites help you decide which mattress is perfect for your needs, without you having to trawl through thousands of websites. It’s a no-brainer.
The impact of comparison on sales
As a result, entire industries are now reliant on comparison sites. If your mattress isn’t included on the website, the chances are way fewer people will buy it. It’s not just the mattress industry, by the way – it’s car insurance, hairdryers, plant fertiliser, shower caps, suitcases. You name it, there’s a comparison site for it. Now best online-selling practices dictate that you’re either on a comparison site or missing out. Being featured on the most popular comparison site will undoubtedly boost sales, increase reach, widen your customer base and boost your rankings on Google. So if you’re a business owner and you’re product isn’t featured on comparison sites… well what are you waiting for? Get emailing!
The downside to comparison sites
So here’s the thing – not every great product is featured on every comparison site. Some fly under the radar, while other product owners might decide not to use them, as comparison sites usually take a small percentage of each sale. That means you might be missing out on an even better product, or simply bypassing the perfect solution for you because it doesn’t feature on a comparison website.
And the next issue is pricing. It can be tempting, when you view prices side-by-side, to just go for the cheapest option. However, this doesn’t take longevity into account and might end up costing you more in the long-run. This is particularly relevant when using price comparison sites for insurance. Often the companies will lure you in with very low prices, only to increase the price later on. They also might not provide you with the proper cover you need, and you’ll end up paying a lot more in the long-run when it’s time for that insurance to pay-out.
Another issue with comparison sites is there’s no personal touch here. Their model is to get as many clicks as possible through their site so you can go ahead and make a purchase, and they can get a cut of the sale. This means you might be bypassing warranties, a direct point of contact and customer service, which can be frustrating if you run into issues with the product.
There’s no doubt the comparison industry makes purchasing decisions a gazillion times easier. And it’s only getting bigger and more competitive as time goes on. There’s so much noise in our daily lives, and we’re all going at such break-neck speed, it’s no wonder we’ll take every opportunity to cut corners and make quick decisions. It saves us time, money and a very big headache. So it’s fair to say turning to comparison sites is now the norm, rather than the exception, when making big purchasing decisions – so just make sure you’re company is ready for it.