Price comparison websites - unfair games on the e-commerce market

Service Business

Price comparison websites have become an important element of purchases made over the Internet. They quickly inform about where and at what price the products we are looking for are available.

Customers love price comparison websites because they provide information about the sought product in a quick and virtually trouble-free way. They provide prices and compare offers from the largest online stores in the country. They also provide data on the level of user satisfaction with a specific product, as well as cooperation with a given seller. All the necessary information is presented on a tray. Therefore, there is nothing else to do but move to the appropriate website and make purchases.

However, the purchasing process does not always follow the pattern described above. Online price comparison websites are more and more often accused of using unfair practices on the e-commerce market.

Price comparison websites - what is it?

In order to explain the phenomenon of price comparison websites, it is worth recalling what this specific type of website is. Well, price comparison websites are a type of website that allows you to compare the prices of individual goods from several online stores. Due to the fact that each user can apply their own search criteria, they receive an individual list of results, including both prices and the names of stores offering them.

Price comparison websites are therefore a specific type of database, which is updated on a regular basis not only with regular prices, but also provides information on the latest promotions and sales. The great advantage of this type of website is the fact that the user, together with the search list, also receives data on customer satisfaction with the use of the product and an assessment of cooperation with the seller. For this reason, price comparison websites are considered to be one of the most helpful tools in informing customers and encouraging them to make a purchase.

It turns out, however, that such helpful websites as comparison websites can also act to the detriment of users and people who advertise with their help.

Price comparison websites - guarantee of the lowest price

The principle of operation of comparison websites is that they should show prices offered by several dozen stores so that the user can compare them and choose the offer that best suits him due to the cost of the order, methods of product delivery, payment methods and other criteria that a potential buyer can take into account.

However, the fact of receiving a list of results is not always consistent with what the databases of comparison websites store. It may turn out that their parameters are set in such a way that they only show the lowest prices of the searched goods.

Let's assume that we are looking for a specific product, e.g. a vacuum cleaner. The search results show that it is only found in store X and in store Y, which offer it at almost identical prices. However, the user has no idea that the database still contains information about stores A, B, D and G that have this vacuum cleaner, but the amounts they offer are slightly or much higher than the offers of stores X and Y. the customer primarily cares about the price of the goods, it certainly will not be a problem, because he would choose the cheapest offer anyway. Alternatively, he would consider a slightly higher price in the event that other purchase conditions were more favorable.

So what about people who like to choose and do not count on opportunities in the network? Unfortunately, they are doomed to search and wade through many websites on their own, which will certainly collect a lot of time and energy, and may even discourage you from buying a given item.

It is also unfair to those sellers who offer higher prices and their products will not appear in the search results at all. This automatically condemns smaller stores to a significant reduction in margins, and thus competing with larger entities that can afford to offer the lowest possible amount.

Price comparison websites and data update

Of course, it may also happen that the prices are given correctly, but still the customer will not be able to obtain the product because it will not be in the e-shop. The whole process seems extremely simple as long as the bid details have been updated. Price comparison websites will show the availability of the goods in a given store and its price. The customer will go to the website to buy the item. The seller will find out that, unfortunately, the goods have been sold out some time ago and can no longer be bought. The Internet user will be forced to search further, and sometimes will even expect a telephone confirmation that the item is actually available in the e-shop.

You get the impression that such an action was planned on purpose, the only question is: by whom? Is it a game related to the operation of larger stores, or maybe just staring?

Price comparison websites - or maybe you will buy something else?

We are all used to the fact that when shopping online, we get offers to buy other products, often related to our purchases. It seems obvious to us that an additional bar appears when placing an order, informing us that other customers have also purchased certain items.

A similar tactic is used by price comparison websites, however, the search results may differ slightly from expectations. Please imagine a situation when a user of a comparison engine searches, for example, for a book by author X, narrows down the search criteria and receives information that Mr. Y's novel is in several online stores at an extremely attractive price. Does this mean that the book you are looking for is not in any of the major stores? It seems impossible and it may indeed turn out that the user has fallen victim to an unfair practice committed by the comparison engine. Instead of indicating the searched product, the search engine displayed data on the availability of another (most likely promoted) product. It is so unfair that it affects not only sellers, but also manufacturers, producers and artists, and thus misleads unaware customers.

Price comparison websites were supposed to help users so that they did not have to waste time searching store shelves and online store websites for the perfect offer. However, as always, it was the interests of the customers, not the convenience of the customers and their satisfaction, that prevailed. Will the discovery of unfair behavior used in comparison websites in relation to users and advertisers bring about any changes? We will certainly find out in the future.