These days, the global online market offers customers a huge amount of information about products and services. And this makes it extremely difficult for the average online consumer to compare the huge range of prices of a particular product or service. This is exactly where price comparison applications come in extremely handy. These applications have become the most preferred research tool for a huge number of online shoppers. With e-commerce steadily becoming a major part of any online customer’s shopping experience, we can expect to see the role of price comparison applications to increase only.
Let’s have a closer look at the applications by reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of using them, from a customer’s viewpoint.
Price comparison applications
Helps to save a significant amount of money
Checking prices from hundreds of sellers and being able to sort by price let consumers select the cheapest option, depending on their criteria. Often, these applications have access to smaller sellers/service providers which are probably not as well known as the established ones but offer similar options at a considerably less price.
Ability to compare details
Whereas two products or services may purport to cater to the same need, they’ll rarely be identical in each respect. Price comparison applications drill down the details of every product/service and often take the extras into account like payment security, refund policies etc. As a result, consumers get to compare every detail to make an informed decision.
Wide variety and option
Regardless of the price comparison application you use, most likely, you won’t find any shortage of products/services to choose from. All of the websites listed with these applications usually offer something slightly different than the rest. This means you get a huge variety and options to take your pick from.
Time-saving and convenient
With these applications, you get hundreds of product details with the help of a few clicks, without putting any effort in. This lets you capture a huge amount of condensed data, saving your time of visiting lots of individual websites. In addition, these applications let you create an account save the details to be used in your future comparisons.
Not all businesses use them
Many of these applications charge fees to companies for allowing them to be listed. Not every company wants to pay this fee, so, in reality, you may not be actually seeing every possible option available in the market.
Absence of direct contact
By using site comparison applications, customers are losing direct contacts with businesses. There may be contact options available that aren’t listed in a comparison application. When a customer speaks with a company directly, and not via a third-party, there’s a different level of interaction takes place that leads to better service.
Price comparison applications and security
Undeniably, price comparison applications are extremely convenient when it comes to researching and shopping online. However, despite the huge number of benefits they offer, there remains a possibility of cybersecurity hazards. Those, who use these applications frequently, often solely rely on them when it comes to online shopping. These customers often completely depend on the applications to ensure the authenticity of the third-party sites. But they may simply receive product feeds or collate information without checking the integrity and source of the information.
The price comparison application may be secure, but you should never forget that they link to third-party online shopping sites. The applications aren’t responsible for the content, as well as, the policies like data protection, privacy etc associated with those external sites and thus, it’s the responsibility of the customers to double check those sites themselves.
In addition, external websites may track your browsing habits by downloading spyware onto your device. There’s even a probability that some sellers with malicious intent may attempt to utilize a website as a gateway to attract unsuspecting customers to reveal their personal/sensitive information.
However, you can mitigate the risk of cybersecurity hazards by following the best practices for safe online shopping. These include using a reliable VPN service to encrypt your network traffic, having a powerful and updated antivirus installed, updating the operating system regularly, ensuring ‘https’ everywhere, among others.
Impacts of price comparison applications on businesses
When it comes to businesses, price comparison applications leave different impacts on different businesses. These applications can be a huge opportunity for smaller businesses for whom adaptability and change are crucial to attain success. They get to receive massive amounts of information about the marketplace that help them to obtain insights into pricing changes, current trends, customer preferences etc.
On the other hand, large companies with limited capacity for a quick change and set standards may suffer due to the emergence of price comparison applications that strive to offer customers the lowest prices possible. In addition, because of competitive pricing, comparison applications drive the prices down naturally as well.