The first price comparison site dates back to 1999 in Europe, and 1995 in the U.S.A. But it was at the beginning of the 2000s that price comparison websites’ ascent began.
Originally acting as online classifieds, price comparison sites developed thanks to the advances of technology. They started to draw data feeds made available online, detailing and comparing product prices. With that, competition increased, as well as the range of offerings. The number of price comparison websites (PCW) quickly rose from a few to over 100. From insurance and financial products, to physical items such as electronics, clothes and books, the market reached $1.2 bn in 2008, counting with more than 6 million visitors a month.
By early 2009, price comparison websites started seeing a downturn. It was around the same time that the big names began to establish themselves, with giants such as Google Shopping driving out smaller competitors. The results can be seen in the current landscape, which is composed by PCWs that showed their value and maturity throughout the previous decades, establishing firmly in the market.
Blurring the line between the physical and digital world
Last year, the total value of global e-commerce retail sales amounted to $3.5 trillion. This figure is expected to double by 2023. In 2020, e-commerce sales will likely account for 15.5% of retail sales worldwide. While this doesn’t mean that physical shopping is disappearing, it indicates that the line between the physical and digital world is blurring.
That’s not surprising when we know that there are around 2 billion global digital buyers, and that number is expected to grow in the next years. Shoppers are looking for the best deals online. One recent study found that in 2019, 81% of shoppers will research online before buying, representing a 20% increase from the previous year. Among the top two reasons people shop online is that they have the ability to shop 24/7, and they can compare prices.
If you’re already an online retailer, or you’re on the process of becoming one, you know that the online retail world is increasingly competitive and that the main challenge is to avoid going unnoticed among so much online noise.
Price comparison websites are great tools to extend your reach and grow your brand. It makes it easy for shoppers to compare prices of the same product and take them to the next step of the sales funnel. It also allows merchants to be listed alongside their competitors.
>> Check out our article ‘All You Need to Know About PCWs‘
How can PCEs help retailers increase traffic and sales?
From the business point of view, are they worth it? The short answer to this question is a resounding ‘YES’; price comparison engines are worth it for online businesses. It is a great way to attract new customers and improve the reputation of your brand if you use a value-based pricing strategy. Not to mention that consumers who use price comparison engines aren’t merely browsing — they’re in the intent to buy.
Let’s have a look at how price comparison engines help retailers.
Give your audience what they want
Remember, one of the reasons people shop online, instead of in-store, is because they can research and compare prices. This means that you can use price comparison tools to your advantage.
You can find out what types of rates are attracting your customers into a purchase, thus allowing you to improve your offer. Keep in mind seasonal shopping peaks and use PCEs to push your offers to the top. Also, remember that PCE shoppers will land on your website, so make sure your products’ page and your check-out process are flawless.
>> Want to know all about seasonal peaks for online shopping and how to prepare? Check out our article ‘Preparing for Shopping Peaks: A Guide for Online Merchants‘
Provide shoppers with detailed and accurate product pages that answer any and every question shoppers may have. You’ll also discover if your products are accessible, which is valuable insight!
💡 Key takeaway: The strength of e-commerce lies in its convenience. Make sure that your customer experience is built for comfort.
Monitor competitors (and find their prices!) and find ways to perform better
When it comes to prices, marketing strategies and customer-brand relationship, keeping an eye on your competitors is vital to avoid going unnoticed.
This is particularly important if you’re in a competitive market where new brands are popping up each day. PCEs allow you to be listed side-by-side your competitors, from the smaller to the bigger players. Break the monopoly and give your business a leveled playing field. Be aware of price fluctuations and make sure you’re on top of it.
💡 Key takeaway: Compare yourself to your competition before your customers do it.
You’re benefiting from high ranking and visibility
If you’re listing your products on a price comparison website, chances are they have done an excellent job with their SEO, and they most likely feature very high on Google rankings. Therefore, by being on these sites, you are benefiting from their top ranking and visibility. This also means an increase in the quality of the audience you’re attracting, as PCEs act as a sales funnel directly to your shop.
💡 Key takeaway: Many of these sites have a high rate of returning customers and just being on them exposes you to a broader audience which you could have found difficult to access.
Target hit selling items and specific periods
You might feel as if you’re spreading yourself thin by listing on different PCEs, and that you’re spending your money for clicks that might not become a conversion after all. But keep in mind the previous points we’ve just covered. Plus, you’re dealing with a selected audience. So, the best options are to
- Pick the best PCEs best suited for the products you offer
- Limit the type of products you’re putting up, giving preference to those that are unique and bypassing competition
- Consider choosing the ones with elastic prices, meaning you can lower the price and still make a profit
- Decide if you want to target specific periods, such as festival season if you’re a clothes retailer .
💡 Key takeaway: After deciding which price comparison website you’re going to list on, determine which products you want to display (the entire catalog or a few hot selling items).
What Are The Best Price Comparison Sites?
Here are a few price comparison engines you can check out before enlisting in one of more:
For a more comprehensive list, with all the details and information of each, check out our latest article.
Keep in mind that the right one for you will depend on your e-commerce strategy and a few other factors. Price comparison engines can play an important role for e-commerce businesses that are looking to extend reach. It helps in different ways to boost sales, grow your brand and cultivate loyal customers. You’re also limiting your range of effort by putting your products in front of interested shoppers!
You have various available options; take your time to pick the right one for you. You can also test different top options to determine the one that brings the highest return on investment (ROI).