UNCTAD estimates that the global ecommerce market is worth over $22 trillion and it is growing. New players enter the game and launch ecommerce sites. Price comparison sites piggyback on the rising popularity of ecommerce and their value too has increased to around $ 2 billion a year. Since comparison sites rely on ecommerce sites for their business, it follows that their site development would closely mirror ecommerce website development trends.
- Artificial intelligence
More and more ecommerce sites are making use of artificial intelligence. Visitors who browse or purchase a certain product will often see recommendations for allied products listed on the page when they visit an ecommerce site that has AI in ecommerce website development. This means ecommerce sites track people and remember them. Comparison sites could take a page out of their book and incorporate a measure of AI to project a feeling of personalization.
Every other site has a chatbot that is capable of answering basic queries of visitors to the site. There may be automation in the background that transfers the caller to a live agent for specific issues. Comparison sites may feel that there is no need for such bots but they could well improve the visitor experience by offering some form of assistance instead of a bland listing of prices curated from ecommerce sites. If ecommerce website development makes use of bots then there is no reason why comparison sites should not be able to do the same.
- Seller listing
Most ecommerce sites often function as online marketplaces and have multiple sellers selling the same item but at different prices. Such ecommerce sites usually have some practice in place (such as Amazon prime) that helps a seller be listed at the top. In the normal course, the lowest price is displayed first. The practice of most comparison sites is to cull the lowest price from various ecommerce sites and display them on their pages. In practice it may be found that if a visitor to the comparison site sees that particular listing and clicks on it they will be directed to the store but it is also likely that the product is not in stock or has been sold out or is now priced higher. Comparison sites need to follow ecommerce website development trends and put in place some system of verification to ensure visitor satisfaction otherwise, as happens often, the customer distrusts the comparison site.
Ecommerce website development these days also takes advantage of AR and VR technologies to give buyers an immersive virtual experience of the product before they buy. Each product page does carry a photo and details as usual. Most comparison sites display a table with just the barest product name, price and a link to the ecommerce site. Such comparison sites would enjoy more customer loyalty were they to provide more details about a product. A flyout could pop up on mouse hover to show details. If comparison sites can curate prices they can certainly get more details of the product as well. It helps buyers make a better informed buy decision rather than simply clicking through to the site with the lowest price.
Ecommerce sites routinely show ratings of the seller on their marketplace and also rate the product. This may be based on their internal assessment as well as reader reviews. Comparison sites too feature ratings but such ratings could be based on user reviews and not on any independent review. Ratings may be arranged in a haphazard fashion making it difficult for visitors to make an immediate decision. The range of filtering options may be limited and could certainly be expanded. Comparison sites, could, for instance, include a button that will take shoppers to reviews online. This will ensure that people who visit the site will then go on to click through and actually buy a product instead of going away. It is these buys that earn a commission for comparison sites, perhaps their main source of revenue.
- Winning trust
Ecommerce sites have different mechanisms that ensure they win trust of buyers and retain the trust. They have explicit refunds and returns policies as well as loyalty programs. However, comparison sites cannot, by the very nature of their operations, put in place any such programs. What they can do is to ensure accuracy of information they present. For instance, if a product is shown in the table and if a visitor clicks through it must be available on the ecommerce site at the stated price. It has also been found that quite a few comparison sites levy charges for showing products and not all ecommerce sites may agree to pay such fees in which case their products are not listed. Then there are other factors such as terms of sale attached to a product that a comparison site usually does not display. If insurance is the product then one can be sure it carries a lot of conditions that intending buyers must be aware of before they click through and comparison sites would do well to display such conditions.
- Responsive web design
This is stating the obvious since ecommerce website development these days majorly focuses on responsive web design. Mobile shopping is on the increase and it goes without saying that comparison sites too need to have a responsive layout that displays well on the small screen of a mobile device.
- Feedbacks and reviews
If ecommerce sites have space for buyers to give feedbacks and reviews then comparison sites too could benefit by getting visitors to leave reviews after they have completed the shopping process. It will certainly help other prospective buyers to know that a buyer has found that site useful and recommends it.
Ecommerce web development is evolving as new technologies help such online retailers reach out to more buyers, keep them engaged and offer a superior shopping experience. Comparison sites too can follow suit and take advantage of technologies to offer a better comparison experience.